The Golf Canada Website describes what a Handicap is:
"Through this system, each golfer establishes an "Golf Canada Handicap Factor" which is a numerical measurement of a player's potential (not actual) scoring ability on a course of standard difficulty.
The purpose of the Golf Canada Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a means of measuring one's performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.
The Handicap Factor is calculated using the best 10 of the player's last 20 rounds and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Factor travels with the golfer from course to course and is adjusted up or down depending on the length and difficulty of the course played, resulting in a "Course Handicap". The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from a specific set of tees at the course played and represents the number of strokes he would require to play equitably against a "scratch" golfer (a golfer with a Handicap Factor of "0.0'). The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.
The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf association using the Golf Canada Course and Slope Rating System. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, water hazards, severity of rough, etc)."
Hopefully this helps straighten out any confusing on what a handicap is. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them below in the comment section.