Spelling

Date adopted: 
December 11, 2019
Last update: 
August 15, 2020

Use Canadian spellings, based on The Canadian Press Stylebook, The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Here are some examples, with several others below in the bullet point list.

Not: color, neighbor, favor, counselor, traveler, panelist, focussed
But: colour, neighbour, favour, counsellor, traveller, panellist, focused

Not: license (noun), defense, organise
But: licence (noun), license (verb), defence, organize

You can set your computer to Canadian spellings. If you’re not sure how to do this you can get help from your ICT support team – email service.desk@gov.yk.ca.

Words we commonly use

  • advisor (but use "adviser" when you're referring to someone who has the necessary credentials under the Securities Act to advise people on investments and buying or selling securities)
  • barrier-free
  • B&B
  • campgrounds (campgrounds have individual campsites)
  • can-can
  • CBC Yukon
  • Colourful Five Percent (use “percent” only when referring to Jim Robb's work otherwise use “per cent”)
  • communications strategy (not communication strategy)
  • cooperate (not co-operate)
  • decision making, decision makers, decision-making process, a decision-making body
  • driver’s licence
  • follow up (verb) or follow-up (adjective), (not followup)
  • gold rush (generic term), Klondike Gold Rush (specific)
  • groundwater (not ground water)
  • health care (noun) health-care (adjective), never healthcare
  • Klondike, Klondikers
  • Klondike Gold Rush
  • licence (noun), motor vehicle licence
  • license (verb), licensed to operate
  • long term care home
  • memorandum of understanding
  • metre (meter, if referring to the machine)
  • Métis
  • mould not mold
  • north (direction)
  • North (region)
  • northerner (not Northerner)
  • north of 60
  • outside not Outside (as in outside Yukon)
  • practice (noun), doctor’s practice
  • practise (verb), licensed to practice
  • request for proposal
  • roundtable
  • toll-free
  • wastewater (not waste water)
  • wellbeing (not well-being)
  • Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act
  • Yukoner

Associations and non-government organizations

  • Association franco-yukonnaise (l’AFY)
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Empowering Youth Society (BYTE), formerly Bringing Youth Towards Equality
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
  • Committee on Abuse in Residential Schools (CAIRS)
  • Dawson City Arts Society
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon (FASSY)
  • Gwaandak Theatre Society
  • Kaushee’s Place
  • KIAC School of Visual Arts now Yukon School of Visual Arts
  • Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, KIAC
  • Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) (note no apostrophe on the s)
  • Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon (LDAY)
  • Leaping Feats Creative Danceworks studio, Leaping Feats
  • Les EssentiElles
  • Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society (LAWS)
  • MacBride Museum
  • Nakai Theatre
  • Northern Lights School of Dance (NLSD)
  • Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry (SYANA)
  • Teegatha'Oh Zheh
  • TIA Yukon (Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon)
  • Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre
  • Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council
  • Yukon Arts Fund
  • Yukon Art Society (YAS), Yukon Art Society Gallery (Arts Underground)
  • Yukon Artists @ Work (YAAW)
  • Yukon International Storytelling Festival
  • Yukon Historical & Museums Association
  • Yukon Outfitters’ Association
  • Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society (an entity of Kaushee’s)
  • Yukon Writers’ Festival

Businesses

  • däna Näye Ventures (note lowercase d)
  • Gray Line Yukon
  • Greyhound Canada
  • Hougen Centre, Hougen’s Sportslodge
  • Jacob’s Industries but Paul Jacobs
  • Inkspirationz Graphix
  • Klondyke Dental Clinic
  • Klondyke Medical Clinic
  • Integra Tire (formerly Yukon Tire)
  • Integraphics Ltd.
  • Lackowicz, Shier & Hoffman
  • Mac’s Fireweed Books
  • McCrae Service
  • Northwestel (not NorthwesTel)
  • Pine Medical Center (American spelling)
  • Super A Foods
  • The Real Canadian Superstore (Just “Superstore” on subsequent references).
  • ATCO Electric Yukon
  • Triple J’s Music

Events

  • Kidz Kreate
  • Spruce Bog
  • Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous

Facilities and buildings

  • Canada Games Centre
  • Copper Ridge Place
  • Da Kų Cultural Centre
  • Dredge No. 4
  • École Émilie-Tremblay
  • École Whitehorse Elementary School
  • Guild Hall
  • Lion’s Aquatic Centre
  • Norman D. Macaulay Lodge
  • Mae Bachur Animal Shelter
  • Odd Gallery, Odd Fellows Hall
  • S.S. Klondike
  • Swan Haven Interpretation Centre
  • Takhini Hot Springs
  • The Old Fire Hall
  • Thomson Centre
  • Tombstone Interpretive Centre
  • Yukon Arts Centre
  • Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
  • Formerly Yukon College (Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse), now Yukon University, or YukonU

Municipalities

  • City of Whitehorse (use uppercase when you’re writing just “City” and referring to the municipality informally, for instance, “the Yukon government and the City agreed today…”)
  • City of Dawson (preferred by the City of Dawson)
  • Town of Watson Lake
  • Village of Carmacks

Place names

  • ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Arctic Circle, the Arctic, but arctic wildflowers
  • Bonnet Plume River (Tsaih Tl’ak Njik)
  • Dempster Highway
  • Dawson (official geographical name, City of Dawson for the municipality)
  • Dezadeash Lake
  • Eagle Plain (basin for oil and gas development)
  • Eagle Plains Hotel (on the Dempster Highway)
  • Ethel Lake (Takwä́ntʼye)
  • Frances Lake
  • Canyon Mountain (locally known as Grey Mountain)
  • Hot Springs Road
  • Lake Laberge
  • Macmillan River
  • M’Clintock River
  • MacRae Industrial Area (known locally as McCrae Industrial Area)
  • Mount McIntyre
  • Nałasìn River (Nisutlin River)
  • Peel watershed
  • Takhini Hot Springs
  • Tetlʼámǟn (Tatlmain Lake)
  • Wellesley Lake
  • Whistle Bend subdivision

National and territorial parks and protected areas:
(*awaiting designation)

  • Agay Mene Territorial Park*
  • Asi Keyi Territorial Park*
  • Coal River Springs Territorial Park
  • Ddhaw Ghro Habitat Protection Area*
  • Devil’s Elbow and Big Island Habitat Protection Areas
  • Herschel Island - Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park
  • Horseshoe Slough Habitat Protection Area
  • Ivvavik National Park
  • Kluane National Park and Reserve
  • Kusawa Territorial Park*
  • Lewes Marsh Habitat Protection Area
  • Łútsäw Wetland Habitat Protection Area
  • Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) Habitat Protection Area
  • Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) Territorial Park
  • Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area
  • Tsâwnjik Chu (Nordenskiold) Habitat Protection Area
  • Old Crow Flats Habitat Protection Area
  • Pickhandle Lakes Habitat Protection Area*
  • Peel Watershed Planning Region
  • Ta’Tla Mun Habitat Protection Area
  • Tagish Narrows Habitat Protection Area
  • Tombstone Territorial Park
  • Vuntut National Park
  • Whitefish Wetland Habitat Protection Area*

Department-specific spellings

Departments sometimes have their own specialist language and phrases. If this is the case in your department, see if your department has an approved list of spellings or a style sheet. If it does, email this list to ecoinfo@gov.yk.ca and we’ll add it to this guide as a resource for everyone.

Economic Development

Community Development Fund (CDF)
Film & Sound Commission (not Film and Sound Commission)

Energy, Mines and Resources

Not: EM and R, EM&R, E.M.R.
But: EMR

Not: Energy, Mines, and Resources
But: Energy, Mines and Resources

  • use "oil and gas", as in "oil and gas wells" or "oil and gas companies" ("oil and gas" is the industry standard for "oil well or company", "gas well or company", "oil or gas well" or "oil or gas company")

Environment

When you use Latin names, include both the genus and species name, such as Ursus americanus and italicize both words. Only put the first word (the genus name) in capitals.

When you write species’ names, write them in lowercase, unless a proper noun forms part of their name, such as Dall’s sheep.

For more detailed advice, email envweb@gov.yk.ca.

  • black bear, black bears (plural)
  • collared pika, collared pikas (plural)
  • Dall’s sheep
  • grizzly bear, grizzly bears (plural)
  • tundra swan, tundra swans (plural)
  • lake trout (singular and plural)
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • Leave No Trace (but no-trace practices)
  • Porcupine caribou herd but Porcupine Caribou Harvest Management Plan
  • RV dump station
  • Ursus americanus

Note that the Department of Environment may capitalize species’ names in materials intended for educating people about wildlife. These materials are published with a small note providing this explanation.

French Language Services Directorate

Not: Bureau of French Language Services
But: French Language Services Directorate

Health and Social Services

Not: Health & Social Services
But: Health and Social Services

Highways and Public Works

Not: Highways & Public Works
But: Highways and Public Works

Tourism and Culture

artists- and writers-in-residence
Cultural Industry Training Fund

Not: Department of Tourism & Culture
But: Department of Tourism and Culture

Misspelled words

Some words we sometimes spell incorrectly.

  • council (as in city, or the Executive Council Office) and counsel (as in Crown, or the Legislative Counsel Office)
  • councillor (as in city)
  • counsellor (a person who gives guidance)
  • palette as in “colour palette” (not “pallet” unless you mean a platform for moving things, or a “palate” as in the roof of your mouth)
  • practice (noun), doctor's practice
  • practise (verb), licensed to practise
  • publicly (not publically)