Setting up in the UK from Canada

The UK is Canada’s largest European trading partner, while the UK is the second-largest foreign investor in Canada, after the US. Click here to download our full guide to setting up a business in the UK.

Advantages of setting up your Canadian business in the UK

Cultural common ground makes business interaction between the UK and Canada a relatively straightforward proposition. And with the UK’s excellent transport system, low tax rates and flexible workforce, it’s little surprise that an increasing number of Canadian companies want to set up a base here. Indeed, in 2014 the number of businesses setting up in the UK from Canada went up by 41%.

Legal differences between the UK and Canada

While there’s a lot of common ground between us, there are still pitfalls aplenty to navigate when setting up a business in a foreign country. Things are never as simple as on home turf, and sharing a common language and similar business overlook can mask some remarkably different ways of doing things.

Canada has a single legal system, whilst the UK has two distinct legal systems with further variations across its four constituent nations. In other words, you have to know where you are before you can be certain whether or not you’re operating legally.

Legislative Differences in the UK

The UK has a history with differing legislation all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Knowing which organisation deals with which part of UK legislation within each particular judiciary is something that still eludes many in the London government, so it can lead to added difficulty for a small Canadian businesses.

Cultural differences between Canada and the UK

While elements of the legal system can be confusing, doing business in the UK could be a very rewarding move for your company. The country is generally open for business and welcoming of those who wish to make money here. It has relatively low tax rates and a stable government.

The people are great too, though it pays to understand a little about British business culture – we’re masters at indirect statements, so it pays to be alert and take care when interpreting what we say. We also have an aversion to open conflict so we’ll go to great lengths to remain polite, which again can lead to indirect or vague statements.

But, with more than 15 years' experience in helping businesses set up in the UK, we can help with the majority of your to do list.

Local knowledge for your Canadian business

Whenever you choose to do business in a foreign country, it pays to get local expertise on your side. Here at Clark Howes we’ll help you get a handle on local laws and customs while you’re setting up your company in the UK.

Once you’re up and running, our International Outsourcing team can help you with day-to-day financial needs such as payroll, bookkeeping and audit obligations. We can also show you through the requirements of employment contracts and UK Labour regulations to ensure that your company is working within the law. For guidance and information relating to doing business in the UK for Canadian companies, look at our accountancy services.

Clarke Howes are here to help you do business in the UK, wherever in the world you come from. Contact our expert team to find out how we can help your Canadian business.

Download our free guide to setting up a business in the UK

Our free guide to setting up a business in the UK aims to provide you with a framework to start your international expansion plans. Focussing on the practicalities of setting up a business in the UK, this guides offers an outline of the fundamentals such as how to set up a UK company, taxation structures and what your obligations as a UK employer might be.

Click here to download our full guide to setting up a business in the UK.

Jon Shepheard

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Jon Shepheard Head of Outsourcing

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