I’m studying Canadian English, to better write for Canadian clients. It’s quite mystifying. Microsoft Word has a Canadian English setting, but it is very liberal and it permits major errors, such as writing defense instead of defence. It’s really quite hard to know what to look for. Travelling instead of traveling. Fulfilment instead of fulfillment. Anaemia instead of anemia, and so on. I’ve ordered two Canadian English dictionaries (external link) and that should help. Best to get right in and wallow in the subject. In the meantime, I’ve found a good resource.
The Canadian government has a language portal (external link) that delves into the many facets of Canadian usage. Grammar, punctuation, typography, vocabulary, and translation are all introduced. Spelling, though, for me, remains the biggest mystery. The site gives a small list of words that differ from American spellings, however, it properly reminds me that a true list would run into the hundreds and still be incomplete. As they put it:
“The recommended spelling authority is a reliable Canadian dictionary such as the Canadian Oxford or Gage Canadian Dictionary. It is important to choose one and use it consistently. Both publications are based on research into Canadian usage, contain specifically Canadian terms and reflect the usage of most federal government departments and agencies more closely than do American or British dictionaries. When they list two spellings for a word in the same entry, choose the one entered first. When two spellings are given separate entries, choose the primary spelling, which is the one followed by the definition (the variant simply refers the reader to the primary entry). For scientific and technical words not in Gage or the Canadian Oxford, check Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.”