In Canada, the altitude confirmation is mostly given by the pilot when checking in, as JD said.
If a pilot calls "Departure Air Canada 123 with you", the controller will ask in 95% of the cases "Air Canada 123 say passing altitude". If controller is too much busy, he'll try to ask the pilot as soon as possible. But most of the pilots will say "Departures American 802 out of 2.6 for 5".
When arriving, even if pilot doesn't say his altitude, most of the time the ATC won't ask the passing altitude since he supposes the altitude was confirmed after takeoff. You can hear sometimes "Air France 356 traffic 3 o'clock 4 miles, Cessna 172 at 1,500 ft unverified".
If altitude sent is not correct, controller has to issue the altimeter setting a second time and the pilot has to check the altitude again. If it still doesn't work, pilot has to turn off the transponder and leave class C airspace...
For the HOLD SHORT instructions, well if it's mandatory, controllers don't do their job correctly. I hear a lot of abbreviated expressions both on CA and US feeds and rarely the controller will obstinate on it, unless it is not clear.
To me: "left on Golf and short of 28" is clear enough. But I fully understand confusion could happen one time and that could be dangerous.