British Columbia: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in British Columbia

Normal business courtesies should be observed in British Columbia, although businesspeople here are less formal than Europeans and tend to use first-name terms after initial introductions have been completed. Business cards are usually exchanged on meeting a colleague for the first time - and a compliment on British Columbia's beauty is sure to be well received. Both men and women generally wear suits, although short-sleeved shirts are acceptable in summer.

Appointments and punctuality for business meetings are expected. Business hours are usually Monday to Friday 0900-1700, although may start or end an hour earlier or later, depending on the company. Lunch meetings are more common than breakfast meetings, however, these are rarely alcohol-fuelled affairs. Most business entertainment takes place in bars and restaurants and it is unusual for a business visitor to be invited into someone's home. If you are, a token gift (alcohol, flowers or chocolates) would be a nice gesture. Anything more expensive may be deemed unacceptable.

Office hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1700.


There are convention centres in Penticton, Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler as well as over 200 hotels throughout the province which can offer meeting facilities.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.