You may want to copy and paste the contents of this page into a Word document, print it out, and keep it close to your computer.
That would save you from repeatedly having to return to this web page to look up abbreviations.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
3/21/07 - March 21st, 2007 (note MM/DD/YY convention; Canada has ratified the international standard, but some people still use the month-first US style. Government documents will either go YYYY-MM-DD or DD MM YYYY. When dealing with private companies, you may find the month written out in order to avoid confusion. Failing this, hope that one of them is larger than 12, which will tell you that has to be the day. If you are faced with 3/4/18 you will need additional context to know if that is 3rd April or March 4th)
AB - Alberta
AEO - Arranged Employment Offer (in connection with PR application). Note that this is sometimes used to mean Arranged Employment Opinion; meaning an Opinion from HRSDC (see below). However IRCC says the official meaning of the ancronym is for Arranged Employment Offer
AIP - Approval in Principle (of PR application, subject to favourable medical exam, etc.)
AINP - Alberta Immigration Nominee Program
AIT - Apprenticeship and Industry Training (Alberta)
AOR - Acknowledgment of Receipt (of PR application)
BC - British Columbia
BMO - Bank of Montreal
BUNAC - British Universities North America Club (organization that assists with working holiday programs for people in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
CAIPS - Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (used by IRCC to process overseas visa applications) http://wikimmi.com/index.php?title=CAIPS_Codes
CBSA - Canada Border Services Agency (customs)
CEC - Canadian Experience Class, a qualifying route to Express Entry immigration
CHC - Canadian High Commission (often in reference to London, UK)
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a major consumer bank
COPR - Confirmation of Permanent Residence, which IRCC grants when it approves your PR application - you then take this to a POE to 'activate' PR
COU - Centre of the Universe (pejorative reference to Toronto)
CPC - Case Processing Centre; CPC-M is the centre in Mississauga, Ontario; CPC-V is the centre in Vegreville, Alberta
CRA - Canada Revenue Agency (the tax collector)
CRC - Criminal Record Check
CRS - Comprehensive Ranking System (for Express Entry applications)
CSQ - Certificat de selection du Québec (the hoop you have to jump through if you want to land in Quebec upon immigrating to Canada)
DMP - Designated Medical Practitioner (authorized to perform immigration medical exam) (now replaced by the term 'Panel Physician')
DR - Driver's Licence
EI - Employment Insurance
ECA -  - Educational Credential Assessment. An assessment of your qualifications to see what they are equivalent to in Canada or for an immigration application. Mandatory for some Permanent Residency applications.
eCAS - Electronic Client Application Status - A part of the CIC website on which you can check the status of your application. Or at least you can delude yourself that you're checking on the status of your application. BE forum members often have found that the information e-CAS has given them has lagged behind the reality on the ground.
ECAS - See e-CAS, above.
EE - Express Entry. New method for skilled workers to come to Canada, opened in January 2015. Partially replaces the previous FSW program.
ETA - Electronic Travel Authorisation. Canadian 'equivalent' to the US ESTA system for visa exempt airline travel.
ESL - English as a second language
FSW - Federal Skilled Worker. Partially closed in 2014, replaced with Express Entry (EE).
FST - Federal Skilled Trades program, part of Express Entry
GST - Goods & Services Tax (Federal)
GTA - Greater Toronto Area (refers to the metropolitan area of Toronto, i.e., the City of Toronto and the surrounding municipalities that are contiguous with it and that, together, are home to about 5.6 million people)
GVA - Greater Vancouver Area (the metropolitan area of Vancouver, that is, the City of Vancouver plus the municipalities that are contiguous with it)
GVRD - Greater Vancouver Regional District
HBP - Home Buyers Plan....government scheme allowing you to take money tax free from your RRSP for a first home downpayment
HST - Harmonized Sales Tax (a blended GST / PST that exists in some provinces)
HTH - Abbreviation for 'hope that helps'. The abbreviation is used on Internet discussion forums, and is not unique to Canada.
IA - Initial Assessment (of PR application)
ICBC Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the BC agency which runs the mandatory vehicle-insurance program and vehicle registration, and administers driving licences, ID cards, and medical service cards
IEC - International Experience Canada, a program which randomly draws young (18 - early 30s) applicants for work permits of up to two years
IELTS - International English Language Testing System (required for all Express Entry applicants, regardless of where they are from, and sometimes other PR applicants who are not native English speakers)
IO - Immigration Officer
IRCC - Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada - the federal government department that handles citizenship and immigration. Formerly called CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
IRPA - Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the law governing Canadian immigration
ITA - Invitation to Apply (for Express Entry or IEC applications)
LI - Landed Immigrant (obsolete term replaced by PR)
LICO - Low Income Cut-Off (for eligibility to sponsor family members)
LMIA - Labour Market Impact Assessment. HRDSC's acknowledgement that your employer has been unable to find a qualified Canadian resident to do the job he or she would like to offer you.
LOI - Letter of Introduction; issued to IEC participants and used at the Port of Entry to facilitate Work Permit issuance
MB - Manitoba
MPI - Manitoba Public Insurance, the Manitoba agency that administers vehicle registration, mandatory insurance, and driver licensing.
MSP Medical Services Plan, the BC Provincial healthcare system
NB - New Brunswick
NL - Newfoundland and Labrador
NOC - National Occupation Classification (classification system for jobs in the Canadian economy)
NS - Nova Scotia
NT - Northwest Territories
NU - Nunavut
NWT - Northwest Territories
OCWP - Off Campus Work Permit
OHIP - Ontario Health Insurance Plan, the Ontario Provincial healthcare system
ON - Ontario
OP - Original poster. This expression is used in a forum discussion. It refers to the person who started a discussion thread. The abbreviation is used on Internet discussion forums, and is not unique to Canada.
PE - Prince Edward Island (official post office abbreviation)
PEI - Prince Edward Island (popular abbreviation)
PER - Confirmation of Positive Final Eligibility Review. This is the name given to the email received from CIO which states that the applicant has passed the completeness check, a full eligibility review and that your application will be forwarded to the Local Visa Office. New as of June 26th 2010 Changes
PGWP - Post Graduate Work Permit
PM - private message - Once you have posted three messages on the BE forum, you are allowed to send private messages to other forum members. The easiest way to do this is to click on a member's User Name in the top left hand corner of a message that he/she has posted. This will take you to his/her Public Profile, where there is a screen that you can use to send him/her a PM.
POE - port of entry
PP - Panel Physician
PPR - Passport Request (when they're ready to issue your PR visa)
PQ - Province Quebec (popular abbreviation) or Parti Quebecois (a Provincial political party in Quebec which advocates for sovereignty, and has informal ties to the Federal Bloc Quebecois)
PR - Permanent Residence or Permanent Resident
PRN - Provincial Residence Nomination
PRTD - Permanent Resident Travel Document. If you are a permanent resident who has lost their PR Card and wants to return to Canada by airplane, boat, train or bus, you must apply for and have a PRTD. This is a 'single use' document that serves in place of the PR Card.
PST - Provincial Sales Tax
QC - Quebec (official post office abbreviation)
QST - Quebec Sales Tax
RBC - Royal Bank of Canada, a major consumer bank
ROC - Rest of Canada - The meaning depends on context, that is, whether the speaker is located in Quebec, the Greater Toronto Area, Coastal British Columbia, etc. The expression most commonly is used in reference to Canada outside of Quebec.
ROE - Record of Employment
ROLF/RORLF - Right of Landing Fees/Right of Resident Landing Fees (properly RPRF)
RPRF - Right of Permanent Residence Fee (a "landing fee" that a PR has to pay to the Government of Canada upon arrival in Canada)
RRSP - Registered Retirement Savings Plan (a retirement savings plan that is exempt from tax for the time that funds remain in the plan)
SC - Service Canada
SGI - Saskatchewan Government Insurance, the SK body that administers vehicle insurance and registration
SIN - Social Insurance Number (client account number in the reporting of taxes, the Canada Pension Plan and various (un)employment insurance programs)
SK - Saskatchewan
SOWP - spousal open work permit
SW - Skilled Worker - Someone whose occupation belongs to Skill Level 0, A or B on the National Occupational Classification Matrix and who therefore is eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa via the skilled worker route.
TEF - Test d'Evaluation de Francais (requirement for PR applicants who claim fluency in French but are not native French speakers)
TFW - Temporary Foreign Worker
TPQ - Provincial Sales Tax (What you will encounter in Quebec on sales receipts)
TPS - Federal Sales Tax (What you will encounter in Quebec on sales receipts)
TRP - Temporary Resident Permit
TRV - Temporary Resident Visa
TWP - temporary work permit
UCI - Unique Client Identifier
UI - Unemployment Insurance (obsolete term replaced by Employment Insurance)
VI - Vancouver Island
VR - Visitor Record (Super Visa holders should request one when they arrive in Canada, it's needed)
WP - Work Permit - temporary (same thing as TWP)
WHV - Working Holiday Visa (more commonly referred to as IEC)
YT - Yukon Territory
Note: Canadian cities are often referred to by their airport codes for shorthand - for example the Twitter hashtag #YYCFloods refers to flooding in the city of Calgary, not necessarily flooding at the airport. All Canadian codes begin with Y
YEG - Edmonton International Airport
YHZ - Halifax International Airport
YLW - Kelowna International Airport
YOW - Ottawa International Airport
YQR - Regina International Airport
YTZ - Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
YUL - Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Montreal) (previously Dorval Airport)
YVR - Vancouver International Airport
YWG - Winnipeg Airport
YYC - Calgary International Airport
YYJ - Victoria International Airport
YYZ - Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Toronto)