Policy Respecting the Awarding of an Order, Decoration or Medal by a Commonwealth or Foreign Government

Last update: October 13, 2015

    1. Any Commonwealth or foreign government desiring to award an order, decoration or medal to a Canadian citizen shall obtain the prior approval of the Government of Canada
    2. Commonwealth and foreign governments desiring to award orders, decorations or medals to Canadian citizens shall submit their proposals to the Government of Canada through their diplomatic missions in Canada.
    3. The Government of Canada will consider granting the approval referred to in section for the awarding of an order, decoration or medal offered in recognition of:
      1. an extraordinary service to mankind;
      2. conspicuous bravery in saving or attempting to save life;
      3. an exceptional service rendered to the country desiring to make an award; or
      4. any substantial act or acts contributing to better relations between Canada and the country desiring to make the award.
    4. The Government of Canada SHALL NOT grant the approval referred to in section 1 for an award:
      1. that is at variance with Canadian policy or the public interest;
      2. that carries with it an honorary title or confers any precedence or privilege;
      3. that is conferred otherwise than by a Head of State or a government recognized as such by Canada;
      4. that is conferred in recognition of services by an individual in the employ of Her Majesty in Right of Canada or of a province in the normal performance of official duties*; or
      5. that is in respect of events occurring more than five years before the offer of the award.
    5. The Honours Policy Committee may advise and recommend on the interpretation and application of this policy and on the disposition of cases arising therefrom.

*Point of Clarification

Paragraph 4(d) does not prohibit the award of foreign honours to Canadian parliamentarians and civil servants. However, Commonwealth and foreign governments may only present honours to these individuals on the basis of merit. In the proposals that they submit through their diplomatic missions, Commonwealth and foreign governments must demonstrate the merit criteria and the contribution being recognized in order to obtain the Government of Canada’s approval.