5 things that make Canada a very different place to work than the US

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The United States and Canada are next-door neighbours, but there are some major differences in how the two nations conduct business.

Across the board, Canada seems to ditch many of the customs Americans hate about their work culture. For example, laws dictate how many hours employees work and how much vacation time they get every year.

Read on for five things that Canadian workers do differently than their American counterparts.


Canadians work less than Americans

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A 2014 Gallup report estimated that the average full-time American worker works 47 hours per week, reaffirming the global stereotype that Americans are addicted to their jobs.

That habit hasn’t quite crept across the border yet. In Canada, most full-time workers work between 36 and 40 hours a week, the Canadian government reported.


They get more breaks during the day, too

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American office workers have a reputation for being chained to their desks, taking few breaks even just to eat a meal or walk around.

In Canada, employees are entitled to a 30-minute break every five hours and for a 24-hour break each week, ensuring that workers aren’t on the job around the clock.


Canadian workers get more vacation time than Americans

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Every country has different requirements for employee vacation time, and it seems like across the board, almost every other country has it better than the US.

Canada is no exception – workers with less than five years at a company are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation a year, and that shoots up to three weeks after their fifth anniversary at their workplace.

The US, meanwhile, doesn’t legally require companies to offer paid vacation time. Many companies offer two weeks to their employees, although the average worker only ends up using about half of their time.


In one province, you can expect to hear a lot of French in the office

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In the francophone province of Quebec, workers are entitled to conduct their business in French, and can’t be refused a job because they don’t speak English.

A province-wide charter also mandates that every person in Quebec has the right to be served in French. That means there’s a lot more bilingualism in your average Quebecois workplace.


And new parents in Canada can expect more time off than Americans

The US also doesn’t guarantee paid leave to new mothers and fathers, instead leaving it up to individual employers. Many new parents feel pressure to return to work earlier than they’d prefer to avoid being seen as uncommitted to their jobs.

In Canada, parental leave is federally mandated: Mothers are entitled to up to 15 weeks of paid leave, and many new parents get as much as 35 combined weeks off.

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