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What Are the PR Challenges Faced in Canada?

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Summary: Many American experts are used in news conferences, especially in the health care field, but more often than not journalists will quote the Canadian spokesperson first, no matter how eminent the visiting American may be. The reverse would also be true at an American news conference.

What kinds of challenges do PR practitioners face in Canada?

All of the big U.S. counseling firms have set up offices in Canada, and there are also large Canadian independent firms. The actual day-to-day workings of the profession are very similar to the typical practitioner's U.S. experience. Because print media still occupy a larger share of public consciousness and literacy is more highly valued, Canadians still tend to read more than their American cousins. However, national television networks—Much Music and News world are clones of MTV and CNN—have added national specialized news to more regional offerings.
 


Canada also considers itself multicultural rather than a melting pot or even a multiracial society like that of the United States. There is an effort to preserve not only Native culture but also the languages and values of the many European, Slavic, and Asian cultures that have flocked to Canada. There are special opportunities for communicators who understand Asian cultures, as Canada has allowed many people from Hong Kong to emigrate in anticipation of how more countries can only grow closer. Even so, it is a mistake to think that one can cover adequately by communicating only through the U.S. national media. Some penetration does occur that way, but Canadian media overwhelmingly try to find the Canadian angle or the Canadian expert in any news coverage. Many American experts are used in news conferences, especially in the healthcare field, but more often than not journalists will quote the Canadian spokesperson first, no matter how eminent the visiting American may be. The reverse would also be true at an American news conference.
 
French is a special demand of working in Canadian public relations. National announcements usually require two news conferences—one in English-speaking Toronto, the country's communications center, and one in French-speaking Montreal. That means that translation of news materials and spokespeople in Montreal who can handle French and English are required. Very few English-speaking Canadians are in fact bilingual. People of French origin comprise the majority of those who can handle both languages skillfully. Bilingualism adds to the expense both of government and of the communications professions.
 
Many Chinese emigrants reside in Toronto and Vancouver, and they have added to Canada’s overall diversity, thereby creating similar linguistic and cultural communications needs that they also address with predominantly French-speaking groups.
 
Working in Canada will broaden your sense of the United States and its self-proclaimed global leadership, not to mention the differences inherent in a bilingual society with a parliamentary government (which still proclaims Elizabeth II as the Queen of Canada).
 
See the following articles for more information:
 
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