OUR ADVICE – With a diversified economy focused on sectors with high growth potential, Québec offers a prime place on the Canadian stage and a gateway to the North American market.
This article is from Special Figaro “From East to West – Living in Canada why not you?” This number offers you the opportunity to answer the questions you ask yourself as simply as possible. This with the help of practical texts, maps and testimonials from French people living in Canada.
Within Canada, 70% of the head offices of French subsidiaries are located in Quebec. Nearly 500 companies from France are located in the province of La Belle and generate around 30,000 jobs there. More than half chose to settle in the Montreal area.
While many large groups arrived a long time ago, some more than a century ago, such as Air Liquide in 1911, more and more innovative SMEs are trying to take on the adventure. They have found an area in Quebec that offers them privileged access to the North American market. The language, quality of life and ease of steps to set up a business are all assets that attract future entrepreneurs. Notable French subsidiaries include Ubisoft, one of the largest digital game publishers in the world, as well as Sanofi, L’Oréal, Transdev, Veolia, Danone and Bonduelle.
Quebec is still growing with a 6.3% increase in real GDP in 2021 and an expectation of around 2.7% for 2022 (source Quebec Ministry of Finance). However, some sectors stand out, both historically and in new territory. The aerospace industry, with long-time players such as Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney or Rolls-Royce, and more recent ones such as Bell Textron, Safran, Thales or even Airbus, remains an important growth engine.
Quebec is one of the few places in the world where such generous tax breaks are offered to the multimedia industry
The ICT sector is also experiencing a real boom with artificial intelligence and the specialty of deep learning. Companies in the food industry (fruits and vegetables, pork, milk and the famous maple syrup), life sciences (pharmaceuticals, biotechnology), land transportation equipment (recreational vehicles, buses, trains) are among Quebec’s flagships. . Not to mention the mining sector and the wide variety of metals and minerals. Quebec is also one of the few places in the world to offer such generous tax credits to the multimedia industry, which can account for up to 37.5% of labor costs.
Callings are encouraged
One thing is certain, starting a business in Quebec is much easier than in France. The market and government stimulate vocations. However, being successful in business, as they say here, is a whole different challenge. Many new companies do not reach the 5-year limit. So you have to prepare well. If you have capital, you can easily enter one of the three categories of business people offered by the MIFI (entrepreneur, investor or self-employed).
It is also possible and easy, once established in Quebec with your permanent residence, to become self-employed and start an entrepreneurial activity. However, such an adventure cannot be improvised, as the French who entered the business world prove. Cultural and linguistic proximity should not obscure the many differences between French and North American practices.
Beware of appearances
While it is true that it is a great advantage to express yourself in French in Quebec, we must not forget that an ocean separates the two continents. The phrase attributed to George Bernard Shaw, who described England and the United States as two countries “separated by the same language,” applies perfectly to France and Quebec. People who want to invest or do business arrive in virgin territory and have everything or almost everything to learn. It is also better to avoid any often misleading comparison with the French way of doing things.
It is therefore recommended that you make several explorations upon its establishment to immerse yourself in the North American culture and meet new people. Quebecers have a reputation for being open to business proposals and it is much easier to connect with decision makers than in France. This “networking” helps to establish an initial circle of trust. Agencies such as CCI France Canada, Montreal and Quebec International or Classe Affaires Canada France can also advise and help you set up your project. Doing business in Quebec is within everyone’s reach, but you have to be well prepared.
And why not the franchise?
3 questions to… Xavier Chambon, President of the Conseil Québécois de la franchise.
Le Figaro. –How important is the franchise in Quebec?
Xavier CHAMBON. – Of the 100 companies, 35 are tax-free. There are 1,300 franchise networks in Canada compared to about 2,000 in France. Reduced to population, this makes Canada a world champion in franchising. Note, however, that Quebec is below the other Canadian provinces. A phenomenon largely due to mandatory adjustments due to its French-language specificity. For example, North American brands avoid this small French-speaking market of only 8.6 million inhabitants.
What are the specificities of Quebec?
A first difference is that there is no specific franchise law like in France, the United States or even Ontario. In Quebec, franchise agreements are governed by the Civil Code. The other great peculiarity of Quebec is the defense of the language. You may only submit brand names written in French and written according to Quebec conventions. For example, when the French brand Decathlon wanted to establish itself, it had to put an acute accent on the é, because in Quebec capital letters are accented.
What are your tips for setting up a franchise in Quebec?
You shouldn’t come to Quebec just for Quebec. It is best to strategically think of this establishment as a gateway to the North American market. My second piece of advice would be not to skip the three phases of franchising, namely the exploration journey (market research), the creation (business plan, financing, launch) and the development (franchise contracts, training, locations, etc).
“East to West – you live in Canada, why not you?”€8.90, available at newsstands and such the Figaro shop.