This is a big word that simply means the time over which equal payments and an unchanged interest rate would bring the balance of the mortgage or loan to a zero. When you apply for a mortgage your amortization period is set at that time. The most common amortization is 25 years but currently the maximum period is 30 years. In previous years there were options as long as 40 years but lending institutes eliminated these long term mortgages as it allowed people to over extend themselves very easily. If interest rates increased these individuals would be in serious problem as the long term interest and costs to carry the mortgage would increase substaintially. This is one of the many issues that happend in the United States. Canada has implemented safe guards in our real estate lending market to avoid this issues to Canadians.