Home World [Analysis] Cultural difference between Nigeria and Canada

[Analysis] Cultural difference between Nigeria and Canada

by Abbey
canada and Nigeria

The 21 st century has opened up new opportunities in diverse areas. One of such areas is cultural diffusion due to immigration, digital social interactions, and the entertainment industry.

Culture according to the Cambridge English dictionary is defined as the way of life of a particular people especially as shown in their habits, and behavior towards others.

Canada has opened up its country with the launching of various immigration programs by the Canadian government. Many Nigerians have taken advantage of these opportunities presented by the Canadian government to move to a better place with a better system.

As people continue immigrating between both countries, they are faced with a shock they did not expect- the culture shock. Many things considered normal in Nigeria are abnormal or unacceptable in Canadian society, and vice versa.

Therefore, if you are planning to immigrate from Nigeria to Canada or you are just interested in knowing the cultural similarities as well as differences between the two countries, then read this post to the end. This post will also be helpful to Canadians who are planning to move into Nigeria due to jobs, marriage, or contracts.

How Canadian and Nigerian Culture differ in 8 Key points

1. Religious beliefs

Unlike in Nigeria where we see religion as an essential part of our social, and public life, the Canadian society believes in keeping religious beliefs private. Questions like ‘what is your tribe or religion?” although normal in Nigeria, will be considered offensive in Canada.

2. Time culture

Canadians keep up to time strictly. If you are the kind of person who shows up to a meeting 30 mins after the scheduled time, then you will have a big challenge to overcome in Canada. In Nigeria however, there is what is called the concept of “African time” where people are generally expected to come a bit late for an occasion. Most Nigerians however, tend to adjust and keep to time outside their country.

3. Saying Sorry

Canadians easily say sorry even if what is done does not warrant saying so. If you are a person who is too proud to pronounce the word ‘sorry’, then maybe Canadian society is not for you. In Canada, they say sorry all the time, perhaps, some would consider it too much.

Nigerians also say sorry too but there is a form of hierarchy to it. A boss or people in higher authority are not usually predisposed to saying sorry.

Check out the an analysis of the Nigerian and Canadian constitution

4. Courtesy on Public transport

In Nigeria, we believe that the people who offer services in any form to us should be the ones to say ‘thank you’ because we have paid them, in Canada, it is not so. Canadians are often cautious to a bus driver.

However, there could be another angle to this. In Canada for instance and the cold weather, bus drivers are seen as messiahs especially if you have been waiting in the freezing cold. Because Nigerians have a warm climate, they might not elevate a bus driver to the position of a saviour.

5. Dining

While it is normal to eat with hands in Nigeria, in Canada it is considered weird. Also, Canadian dining spaces are not segregated based on gender.

6. Handshakes

In Nigeria, men generally are expected to initiate handshakes, and in some parts of the country, men do not shake women. Canada on the other hand has a liberal approach towards this. Anyone regardless of gender or status can initiate a handshake.

However, before you initiate a handshake with anyone, make sure you have some forms of connection or relationship to avoid embarrassment.

7. Titles

Nigerians place much importance on titles. When addressing a Nigerian, using his complete titles is very important. You can be queried for not using the appropriate title.

Canadians however, don’t stress much importance on titles, people are mostly addressed by their first names including managers in offices except for high-profile individuals.

8. Greeting

Greeting is considered a very important value in most societies. Saying hi in most cases is a sign that you care and are interested in another person.

Greeting is an important value in Nigeria.  Canadians  just as Nigerians also consider greeting to be a  sign of care and interest. Therefore, it is normal to greet your neighbor and colleagues in the offices.


We have analyzed and compared the common norms as obtainable in both Nigeria and Canada. This post is by no way exhaustive. It is a mere description of the formal and informal life of both countries.

Although Canada may seem to be culturally refined than Nigeria, most of the Nigerian scenarios are that of the locales who may not have the exposure that the educated and wealthy Nigerians possess. To Cap it all, Culture is dynamic and changes every new day.

If you are immigrating to Canada, or you are a Canadian who is planning to move down to Nigeria due to a job or Marriage, this post has provided an insight into the typical Canadian and Nigerian life.

Make sure you make a thorough research about other issues before catching that flight!

See the size comparison of Nigeria and Canada


  • Abbey

    Abbey Johnson has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

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