how do spouses claim capital gain from selling a cottage ( wife doesn't work )?

Answer

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Complete and submit schedule 3 of the personal income tax return.  You will need to know the amount of the "Proceeds of Disposition" (the selling price), the ACB (the cost of the cottage, including any significant additions or alterations that might have increased the value), and the "Outlays and Expenses of Dispostions" (i.e. Real-estate commissions, legal fees, etc...).

If the Cottage was jointly owned by the two spouses, then claim 50% of all of these amounts on schedule 3 (Schedule 3-details allows you to put %'ge reported by taxpayer and %'ge reported by spouse)
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