information for global expats

Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in Canada

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted:July 2014

No business is an island, and networking is an essential part of Canadian business culture. There are numerous networking groups, clubs and professional associations dedicated to business and individual professions. You can find out more about them in local business magazines and journals, including that of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Typically, you will have to sign up to the group to become a member and pay an annual membership fee. In return, you will gain access to the group's networking events, publications, online resources and consultation services. There is detailed information on how to become a member, along with various types of membership and the respective fees on the network’s website. Most of these groups also have regional and local branches (or ‘chapters’, as they are often somewhat religiously called in North America).

Among the major business groups and networks are:

  • Business Network International (BNI Canada) – has nearly 6,000 members in 287 branches throughout the country.
  • Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) – association of small businesses, including agriculture.
  • Junior Chamber International (JCI Canada) – non-profit association of young managers and entrepreneurs, part of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance.

There are also networks specifically dedicated to women in business. These membership-based networks offer support to businesswomen in Canada and organise regular training and networking events. Some of the most prominent networks include:

In addition to this, there are numerous professional networks and associations dedicated to individual professions, such as the Canadian Wood Council, Chemical Institute of Canada and the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association. Annual membership fees range from around C$100 to C$1,000. There is an extensive list of professional, governmental, and business associations in Canada on the Export Focus website.

As elsewhere in the world, online networking sites have also become very popular among professionals in Canada. These networks enable both companies and individuals to create online profiles and join interest groups. They can be useful tools for self-promotion, recruitment and making new contacts in your field. The most widely used networking site among professionals in Canada is the global networking site LinkedIn.

Expat business professionals might also be interested in the country-specific business groups in Canada. A good starting point is to approach the respective country's Chamber of Commerce in Canada. Most Chambers run membership clubs directed at both business professionals from the respective country who are doing business and German business professionals who are interested in doing business with that particular country. These clubs offer consultation services and organise networking events for their members. For other expat groups in Canada, see Expat Groups in Canada.




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