Excerpted from the Canada Career Guide
Cover Letter Guidelines and Samples
Cover letters are used when applying for jobs in Canada and are a traditional way of introduction. Cover letters highlight key points of a résumé/CV (curriculum vitae) and demonstrate an applicant’s compatibility with the targeted position, making the prospective employer want to read further expanded details within the résumé/CV itself.
The overall intent of the letter is to ‘sell’ the applicant as the best prospect for the job, and give the employer a reason to request an interview. The cover letter should highlight experience that is most relevant to the position and focus on what the jobseeker has to offer the company, rather than detailing personal strengths....(more in the guide)
Recommended Cover Letter Outline
In addition to contact information in the header, the date and a reference line indicating the purpose of the letter, including the position title and/or competition number, should be present....(more in the guide)
Resume/Cover Letter Guidelines and Samples
The words résumé, CV and curriculum vitae are used interchangeably in Canada, especially in Quebec, although technically a CV is used for academic positions and includes information such as publications and conferences. Generally these are not required for non-academic positions. Jobseekers can write an effective résumé/CV for Canadian employers in many ways, but there are a few rules of thumb. Generally, Canadian employers are more conservative than their US counterparts. Quality plain white paper is recommended over colored paper. All content must be relevant, concise and delivered in a professional tone. Except in rare cases, the overall length should not exceed two pages. If applying in a French-speaking area, résumés/CVs as well as cover letters should be in French in most cases. A résumé/CV, along with the accompanying cover letter, should always be tailored to the targeted position. Large firms may scan résumés/CVs; therefore it is advised to use keywords/buzzwords within the document. ....(more in the guide)
You'll find more advice and cover letter and resume samples in the complete Canada Guide.