Canada’s cultural mosaic is a great advantage in a global economy.   It also provides some challenges: for example, employers may need to make accommodation for employees based on a religious observance by modifying a work schedule, or changing a dress code. *  These are small challenges in relation to the benefit of hiring qualified employees.

The first challenge in hiring someone from a different culture may be in the interview.  For example, in western culture, a candidate who doesn’t make eye contact may be seen as untrustworthy.  It is important for recruiters to understand that in some cultures, direct eye contact is considered rude, or inappropriate. 

In my experience, while people from different cultures have different customs and practices, there is no cultural difference in overall work ethic and commitment.  The challenge is in helping people to understand each other, and to learn to get along.  The more culturally diverse your workforce, the easier this will be.

USEFUL LINKS (for information only: I do not endorse these organizations)

World Business Culture: (explains business culture in various countries)

Dealing with cultural differences in the workplace (Sheppel-FGI):


* Under federal and provincial Human Rights legislation, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodation when work rules come into conflict with an individual’s religious beliefs.  The onus is on the employee to request the accommodation, and explain the reason for it, in writing.   The employer is expected to make every effort to accommodate the employee, unless the request conflicts with a bona fide occupational requirement, or creates undue hardship on the employer.

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