Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour
An award is something given to a person or a group of people to recognize excellence in a certain field; a certificate of excellence. Awards are often signifiedby trophies, titles, certificates, commemorative plaques, medals, badges, pins, or ribbons...

 for merit. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, which is within the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

To coincide with the centennial
Canadian Centennial
The Canadian Centennial was a year long celebration held in 1967 when Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Celebrations occurred throughout the year but culminated on Dominion Day, July 1. 1967 coins were different from previous years' issues, with animals on each...

 of Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

, the three-tiered order was established in 1967 as a fellowship that recognizes the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians who made a major difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in every field of endeavour, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. Membership is thus accorded to those who exemplify the order's Latin motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

, desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country." The three tiers of the order are Companion, Officer, and Member.

The order is administered by the Governor General-in-Council
The Queen-in-Council is, in each of the Commonwealth realms, the technical term of constitutional law that refers to the exercise of executive authority, denoting the monarch acting by and with the advice and consent of his or her privy council or executive council The Queen-in-Council (during...

 on behalf of the Queen of Canada. The monarch, at present Elizabeth II, is Sovereign of the order and the serving governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

, currently David Lloyd Johnston
David Johnston
David Lloyd Johnston is a Canadian academic, author and statesman who is the current Governor General of Canada, the 28th since Canadian Confederation....

, is its Chancellor and Principal Companion. Appointees into the order are selected by an advisory board and formally inducted by the governor general or the sovereign; as of February 2011, 5,837 people have been appointed to the Order of Canada, including scientists, musicians, politicians, artists, athletes, business people, television and film stars, benefactors, and others; however, some have later resigned or have the honour removed, while others have been controversial. Appointees receive badges and the right to armorial bearings.


The process of founding the Order of Canada began in early 1966 and came to a conclusion on 17 April 1967, when the organisation was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 of her then Canadian prime minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

, Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

, who was assisted with the establishment of the order by John Matheson
John Matheson
John Ross Matheson, OC, CD, QC is a Canadian lawyer, judge, and politician who helped develop both the maple leaf flag and the Order of Canada.- Early life :...

. The association was then officially launched on 1 July 1967, the 100th anniversary
Canadian Centennial
The Canadian Centennial was a year long celebration held in 1967 when Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Celebrations occurred throughout the year but culminated on Dominion Day, July 1. 1967 coins were different from previous years' issues, with animals on each...

 of the formation of Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

, with Governor General Roland Michener
Roland Michener
Daniel Roland Michener , commonly known as Roland Michener, was a Canadian lawyer, politician, and diplomat who served as Governor General of Canada, the 20th since Canadian Confederation....

 being the first inductee to the order—to the level of Companion—and on 7 July of the same year, 90 more people were appointed, including Vincent Massey
Vincent Massey
Charles Vincent Massey was a Canadian lawyer and diplomat who served as Governor General of Canada, the 18th since Canadian Confederation....

, Louis St. Laurent
Louis St. Laurent
Louis Stephen St. Laurent, PC, CC, QC , was the 12th Prime Minister of Canada from 15 November 1948, to 21 June 1957....

, Hugh MacLennan
Hugh MacLennan
John Hugh MacLennan, CC, CQ was a Canadian author and professor of English at McGill University. He won five Governor General's Awards and a Royal Bank Award.-Family and childhood:...

, David Bauer, Gabrielle Roy
Gabrielle Roy
Gabrielle Roy, CC, FRSC was a French Canadian author.- Biography :Born in Saint Boniface , Manitoba, Roy was educated at Saint Joseph's Academy...

, Donald Creighton
Donald Creighton
Donald Grant Creighton, was a noted Canadian historian.-Background:Born in Toronto, the son of Methodist minister, Creighton attended Victoria College, in the University of Toronto, where he received his BA in 1925...

, Thérèse Casgrain
Thérèse Casgrain
Marie Thérèse Forget Casgrain, was a feminist, reformer, politician and senator in Quebec, Canada.Thérèse Casgrain was raised in a wealthy family, the daughter of Lady Blanche MacDonald and Sir Rodolphe Forget...

, Wilder Penfield
Wilder Penfield
Wilder Graves Penfield, OM, CC, CMG, FRS was an American born Canadian neurosurgeon. During his life he was called "the greatest living Canadian"...

, Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer, CC was an English-born Canadian painter and member of the Group of Seven.-Early life:At age 13 he apprenticed at a photo-engraving company. He was awarded a scholarship, and used this time to take evening classes at the Sheffield School of Arts from 1898 until 1905...

, and Maurice Richard
Maurice Richard
Joseph Henri Maurice "the Rocket" Richard, Sr., was a French-Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League from 1942 to 1960. The "Rocket" was the most prolific goal-scorer of his era, the first to achieve the feat of 50 goals in 50...

. During a visit to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, United Kingdom, later in 1967, Michener presented the Queen with her Sovereign's badge for the Order of Canada, which she first wore during a banquet in Yellowknife
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Yellowknife is the capital and largest city of the Northwest Territories , Canada. It is located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, approximately south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River...

 in July 1970.

From the Order of Canada grew a larger Canadian honours system, thereby reducing the use of British honours (i.e. those administered by the Queen in her British privy council). Among the awards of the Canadian honours system, the Order of Canada comes second
Canadian order of precedence (Decorations and Medals)
The following is the Canadian order of precedence for decorations and medals. Where applicable, post-nominal letters are indicated.-Awards of valour:-National orders:-Provincial orders:-National decorations:-National medals:...

 only to membership in the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, which is within the personal gift of Canada's monarch. By the 1980s, Canada's provinces
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 began to develop their own distinct honours and decorations.


The Canadian monarch, seen as the fount of honour
Fount of honour
The fount of honour refers to a nation's head of state, who, by virtue of his or her official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate titles of nobility and orders of chivalry to other persons.- Origin :...

, is at the apex of the Order of Canada as its Sovereign, followed by the governor general, who serves as the fellowship's Chancellor. Thereafter follow three grades, which are, in order of precedence: Companion, Officer, and Member, each having accordant post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

 that members are entitled to use; each incumbent governor general is also installed as the Principal Companion for the duration of their time in the viceregal post. Promotions in grade are possible, though this is ordinarily not done within five years of the initial appointment, and a maximum of five honorary appointments into either of the three grades may be made by the governor general each year. , there have been eighteen honorary appointments to non-Canadian citizens
Honorary appointments to the Order of Canada
The order's constitution permits the appointment of five honorary members of the Order of Canada per year. The following is a list of all honorary appointments to date; those rendered in italics were later made Canadian citizens and thus no longer regarded as honorary inductees....

There were originally, in effect, only two ranks to the Order of Canada: Companion and the Medal of Service. There was, however, also a third award, the Medal of Courage, meant to recognize acts of gallantry. This latter decoration fell in rank between the other two levels, but was anomalous within the Order of Canada, being a separate award of a different nature rather than a middle grade of the order. Without ever having been awarded, the Medal of Courage was on 1 July 1972 replaced by the autonomous Cross of Valour
Cross of Valour (Canada)
The Cross of Valour is a decoration that is, within the Canadian system of honours, the second highest award , the highest honour available for Canadian civilians, and the highest of the three Canadian Bravery Decorations...

 and, at the same time, the levels of Officer and Member were introduced, with all existing holders of the Medal of Service created as Officers. Lester Pearson's vision of a three-tiered structure to the order was thus fulfilled.

Companions of the Order of Canada (post-nominals: CC, in ) have demonstrated the highest degree of merit to Canada and humanity, on either the national or international scene. Up to 15 Companions are appointed annually, with an imposed limit of 165 living Companions at any given time, save for those appointed in an honorary capacity. The constitution of the Order of Canada also specifies that the reigning monarch, the incumbent governor general and, since 1971, his or her spouse, and former viceroys and viceregal consorts are to be included as Companions of the order, though these individuals also do not count towards the 165 person maximum. As of July 2009, there were 170 living Companions. including four honorary. Since 1994, substantive members are the only regular citizens who are empowered to administer the Canadian Oath of Citizenship
Oath of citizenship (Canada)
The Oath of Citizenship, or Citizenship Oath , is a statement recited and signed by candidates who wish to become citizens of Canada...


Officers of the Order of Canada (post-nominals: OC, in ) have demonstrated an outstanding level of talent and service to Canadians, and up to 64 may be appointed each year, save for those inducted on an honorary basis, with no limit to how many may be living at one time. As of July 2009, there were 1,012 living Officers, including four honorary.

Members of the Order of Canada (post-nominals: CM, in ) have made an exceptional contribution to Canada or Canadians at a local or regional level, group, field or activity. As many as 136 Members may be appointed annually, save for those inducted on an honorary basis, and there is no limit on how many Members may be living at one time. As of July 2009, there were 2,037 living Members, including four honorary.


Ribbon bar
Companion Officer Member

Upon admission into the Order of Canada, members are gifted various insignia of the organization, all designed by Bruce W. Beatty
Bruce W. Beatty
Bruce W. Beatty, CM, CD, FRHSC is a Canadian graphic designer best known as being chiefly responsible for designing the emblems of the Canadian Honours System, starting with the badge of the Order of Canada in 1967. The emblem is the shape of a snowflake - just as every snowflake is different, so...

, who "broke new ground in the design of insignia of Orders within The Queen's realms" and was himself made a member of the order in 1990; as of 2004, Beatty has been in attendance at every investiture ceremony since 1967. The badge belonging to the Sovereign consists of a jewelled, 18-carat
Carat (purity)
The karat or carat is a unit of purity for gold alloys.- Measure :Karat purity is measured as 24 times the purity by mass:where...

 gold crown of rubies
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum . The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires...

, emerald
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the 10 point Mohs scale of mineral hardness...

s, and sapphire
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide , when it is a color other than red or dark pink; in which case the gem would instead be called a ruby, considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give...

s, from which is suspended a white, enamelled, hexagonal snowflake design, with six equal leaves and diamonds between each. At the centre is a disc bearing a maple leaf
Maple leaf
The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.-Use in Canada:At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000...

 in pavé-laid rubies on a white enamel background, surrounded at its edge by a red enamel ring (annulus) bearing the motto of the order. The Chancellor wears the badge of a Companion and is, upon installation as governor general, granted a livery collar
Livery collar
A livery collar or chain of office is a collar or heavy chain, usually of gold, worn as insignia of office or a mark of fealty or other association in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards....

 for wear at Order of Canada investiture ceremonies.

The badges for inductees are of a similar design to the sovereign's badge, though without precious stones, and slight differences for each grade. For Companions, the emblem is gilt
The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

 with a red enamel maple leaf in the central disk; for Officers, it is gilt with a gold maple leaf; and for Members, both the badge itself and the maple leaf are silver. All are topped by a St. Edward's Crown
St. Edward's Crown
St Edward's Crown was one of the English Crown Jewels and remains one of the senior British Crown Jewels, being the official coronation crown used in the coronation of first English, then British, and finally Commonwealth realms monarchs...

, symbolizing that the order is headed by the sovereign, and the reverse is plain except for the word CANADA. The ribbon is white and bordered in red stripes, similar to the Canadian national flag
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

; the chest ribbon is the same for each grade, save for a metallic maple leaf in the centre, the colour of which matches that on the badge of the grade that the wearer was appointed to. For civilian wear, a lapel pin is worn on the jacket, which is designed as a miniature of the medallion.
Wear of the insignia is according to guidelines issued by the Chancellery of Honours, which stipulate that the badges be worn before most other national orders—that is, at the end of an individual's medal bar closest to the centre of the chest or at the wearer's neck—with only the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross (Canada)
The Victoria Cross is a military decoration of Canada modelled on the original British Victoria Cross—instituted in 1856—in both intent and appearance, with several small changes...

, the Cross of Valour
Cross of Valour (Canada)
The Cross of Valour is a decoration that is, within the Canadian system of honours, the second highest award , the highest honour available for Canadian civilians, and the highest of the three Canadian Bravery Decorations...

, and the badge of the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 permitted to be worn before the badges of the Order of Canada. Those in the grades of Companion or Officer may wear their badges on a neck ribbon, while those in the Member group display their insignia suspended by a ribbon from a medal bar on the left chest. Protocol originally followed the British tradition, wherein female appointees wore their Order of Canada emblem on a ribbon bow positioned on the left shoulder. These regulations were altered in 1997, and, with the exception of certain special occasions, women may wear their insignia in either the traditional manner or in the same fashion as the men.

With the patriation in 1988 of oversight of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 to Canada through the Canadian Heraldic Authority
Canadian Heraldic Authority
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is part of the Canadian honours system under the Queen of Canada, whose authority is exercised by the Governor General. The Authority is responsible for the creation and granting of new coats of arms , flags and badges for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and...

, the constitution of the Order of Canada was amended to include the entitlement of all inductees to petition the Chief Herald of Canada
Chief Herald of Canada
Chief Herald of Canada is the title held by the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The Chief Herald of Canada directs the operations of the Canadian Heraldic Authority and makes the grants of arms. There are exceptions to this, such as certain grants made directly by the Governor General. The...

 for personal armorial bearings, should they not already possess any. Companions may receive supporters, and all members may have the escutcheon (shield) of their arms encircled with a red ribbon bearing the order's motto in gold, and from which is suspended a rendition of the holder's Order of Canada badge. As the Queen is Sovereign of the Order of Canada, she in 1987 approved the augmentation of her royal arms for Canada with the order's ribbon.

Possession and sale

The constitution of the Order of Canada states that the insignia remain property of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

, and requires any member of the order to return to the Chancellery their original emblem should they be upgraded within the order to a higher rank. Thus, while badges may be passed down as family heirlooms, or loaned or donated for display in museums, they cannot be sold by any individual other than the monarch with the proper advice and consent of her ministers. Over the decades, however, a number of Order of Canada insignia have been put up for sale, the first being the Companion's badge of Major Coldwell, who was appointed in 1967; his badge was sold at auction in 1981, an act that received criticism from government officials.

In 2007, it was revealed that one of the first ever issued insignia of the Order of Canada, a Medal of Service awarded originally to Quebec historian Gustave Lanctot
Gustave Lanctot
Gustave Lanctot, OC, FRSC, also spelled Gustave Lanctôt, was a Canadian historian and archivist.Born in Saint-Constant, Quebec, he studied law at Université de Montréal and was called to the Quebec Bar in 1907. A Rhodes Scholar, he studied political science and history from 1909 to 1911 while at...

, was put up for sale via e-mail. Originally, the anonymous auctioneer, who had purchased the decoration for C$45 at an estate sale in Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, attempted to sell the insignia on eBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

; however, after the bidding reached $15,000, eBay removed the item, citing its policy against the sale of government property, including "any die, seal or stamp provided by, belonging to, or used by a government department, diplomatic or military authority appointed by or acting under the authority of Her Majesty." Rideau Hall stated that selling medals was "highly discouraged," however the owner continued efforts to sell the insignia via the internet.

Eligibility and appointment

Any of the three levels of the Order of Canada are open to all living Canadian citizens, except all federal and provincial politicians and judges while they hold office. The Order recognizes the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians who made a major difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in every field of endeavour, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. Membership is thus accorded to those who exemplify the order's Latin motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

, taken from of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country." Each of the six to eight hundred nominations submitted each year, by any person or organization, is received by the order's Advisory Council, which, along with the governor general, makes the final choice of new inductees, typically by consensus rather than a vote; a process that, when conceived, was the first of its kind in the world. Appointees are then accepted into the organization at an investiture ceremony typically conducted by the governor general at Rideau Hall, though the Queen or another viceroy may perform the task and the ceremony may take place in other locations. Since the 1991 investiture of Ted Rogers
Edward Samuel Rogers
Edward Samuel "Ted" Rogers, Jr., OC was the President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc., and the fifth richest person in Canada in terms of net worth. His father Edward S. Rogers, Sr...

, Order of Canada instalment ceremonies have been broadcast on various television channels and the Internet; recipients are given a complimentary copy of their investiture ceremony from Rogers Cable
Rogers Cable
Rogers Cable Inc., a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc., is Canada's largest cable television service provider with about 2.25 million television customers, and over 930,000 Internet subscribers, in Manitoba, Southern & Eastern Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.The...


Advisory Council

The task of the Advisory Council is to evaluate the nominations of potential inductees, decide if the candidates are worthy enough to be accepted into the order, and make recommendations to the governor general, who appoints the new members. The council is chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada
Chief Justice of Canada
The Chief Justice of Canada, like the eight puisne Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, is appointed by the Governor-in-Council . All nine are chosen from either sitting judges or barristers who have at least ten years' standing at the bar of a province or territory...

, and includes the Clerk of the Queen's Privy Council
Clerk of the Privy Council (Canada)
The Clerk of the Privy Council is the senior civil servant in the Canadian government. The Title and Office is in fact "Clerk of the Privy Council and the Secretary to the Cabinet"...

, the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage
Department of Canadian Heritage
The Department of Canadian Heritage, or simply Canadian Heritage |department]] of the Government of Canada with responsibility for policies and programs regarding the arts, culture, media, communications networks, official languages , status of women, sports , and multiculturalism...

, the Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, the President of the Royal Society of Canada
Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

, the Chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
- See also :* G13 * Association of Commonwealth Universities...

, and five members of the order who sit on the council for a three year period. If a nomination involves a non-Canadian citizen, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs is invited by the Advisory Council to offer evaluation. Decisions of the council and/or new appointments to and/or dismissals from the Order of Canada are announced to the Canada Gazette
Canada Gazette
The Canada Gazette is an official publication by the government of Canada that publishes all laws and Orders in Council issued by the government. It also contains other information on things such as hearing and tribunals, proposed changes and any thing else the government feels should be told to...


The current (as of October 2011) members of the Advisory Council are:
  • Beverley McLachlin
    Beverley McLachlin
    Beverley McLachlin, PC is the Chief Justice of Canada, the first woman to hold this position. She also serves as a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada.-Early life:...

     , Chief Justice of Canada (Chair)
  • Michel Belley, Chair, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
  • Roberta L. Jamieson , Ontario representative (President and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation)
  • Aldéa Landry
    Aldéa Landry
    Marie-Marthe Aldéa Landry, PC, CM, QC is a Canadian politician, lawyer and public servant....

     , Atlantic representative
  • Daniel Jean, Deputy Minister, Canadian Heritage
  • Roderick A. Macdonald, President-Elect, Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada
  • Lalita Malhotra , Prairies representative
  • Martha Piper
    Martha Piper
    Martha C. Piper, OC, OBC was the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia. She held the position from 1997 until 2006, and was the 11th person and the first woman to do so...

     , Western representative
  • Joseph L. Rotman , President, Canada Council for the Arts
  • Joseph A. Rouleau
    Joseph Rouleau
    Joseph A. Rouleau, is a French-Canadian bass opera singer, particularly associated with the Italian and French repertories....

     , Quebec representative
  • Wayne G. Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet


While few have declined entry into the Order of Canada, it is not unheard of: as of 1997, 1.5 percent of offered appointments to the order have been refused. The identities of those individuals who have declined induction since the 1970s are kept confidential, so the full list is not publicly known. Some, however, have spoken openly about their decisions, including Robert Weaver
Robert Weaver (editor)
Robert Weaver was an influential Canadian editor and broadcaster.Born in Niagara Falls and educated at the University of Toronto, Weaver served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II...

, who stated that he was critical of the "three-tier" nature of the order; Claude Ryan
Claude Ryan
Claude Ryan, was a Canadian politician and leader of the Parti libéral du Québec from 1978 to 1982. He was also the National Assembly of Quebec member for Argenteuil from 1979 to 1994.-Early life and career:...

 and Morley Callaghan
Morley Callaghan
Morley Callaghan, was a Canadian novelist, short story writer, playwright, TV and radio personality.-Biography:...

, who both declined the honour in 1967; Mordecai Richler
Mordecai Richler
Mordecai Richler, CC was a Canadian Jewish author, screenwriter and essayist. A leading critic called him "the great shining star of his Canadian literary generation" and a pivotal figure in the country's history. His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Barney's Version,...

, who twice declined; and Marcel Dubé
Marcel Dubé
Marcel Dubé, OC is a Canadian playwright. He has produced over 300 works for radio, television and the stage...

, Roger Lemelin
Roger Lemelin
Roger Lemelin, was a Quebec novelist, television writer and essayist.-Biography:Lemelin was born in Quebec City. From 1944 to 1952, he was a Canadian correspondent for the American magazines Time and Life and, from 1972 to 1981, chief executive officer and editor of La Presse.In 1980 he was made...

, and Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould
Glenn Herbert Gould was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach...

, who all declined in 1970. However, all the above individuals, save for Gould and Weaver, later did accept appointment into the order. Others have rejected appointment on the basis of being supporters of the Quebec sovereignty movement
Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement refers to both the political movement and the ideology of values, concepts and ideas that promote the secession of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada...

—such as Luc-André Godbout, Rina Lasnier
Rina Lasnier
Rina Lasnier, was a Canadian, Québécoise poet. Born in St-Grégoire d'Iberville=Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, she attended Collège Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Université de Montréal...

, and Geneviève Bujold
Geneviève Bujold
Geneviève Bujold is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for best actress and was nominated for an Academy Award....

—while Alice Parizeau
Alice Parizeau
Alice Parizeau, OC was a Polish-Canadian writer, essayist, journalist and criminologist.-Early life:...

, another supporter of Quebec sovereignty, was criticized for accepting entry into the order, in spite of her beliefs.
Others decline out of modesty, such as Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 recipient Cecil Meritt
Charles Merritt
Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt VC, ED was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross and Member of Parliament.-Early life:...

, who cited the fact that he already held Canada's highest decoration as a reason not to be admitted to the Order of Canada. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

, was in 1982 offered appointment to the order as an honorary Companion; however, he refused on the grounds that, as the consort of the Queen, he was a Canadian and thus entitled to a substantive appointment. In 1993, the Advisory Council proposed an amendment to the constitution of the Order of Canada, making the sovereign's spouse automatically a Companion, but Prince Philip again refused, stating that if he was to be appointed, it should be on his merits. Congruent with these arguments, he in 1988 accepted without issue a substantive induction as a Companion of the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

. Former Premier of Newfoundland Joey Smallwood
Joey Smallwood
Joseph Roberts "Joey" Smallwood, PC, CC was the main force that brought Newfoundland into the Canadian confederation, and became the first Premier of Newfoundland . As premier, he vigorously promoted economic development, championed the welfare state, and emphasized modernization of education and...

 declined appointment as a Companion because he felt that, as a Father of Confederation
Fathers of Confederation
The Fathers of Confederation are the people who attended the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences in 1864 and the London Conference of 1866 in England, preceding Canadian Confederation. The following lists the participants in the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London Conferences and their attendance at...

, he deserved a knighthood. Smallwood was never knighted and later accepted induction as a Companion.

Resignation and removal

Resignations from the order can take place only through the prescribed channels, which include the member submitting to the Secretary General of the Order of Canada a letter notifying the chancellery of his or her desire to terminate their membership, and only with the governor general's approval can the resignation take effect. On 1 June 2009, the governor general accepted the resignations of astronomer and inventor René Racine, pianist Jacqueline Richard, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte; on 11 January 2010, did the same for Renato Giuseppe Bosisio, an engineering professor, and Father Lucien Larré
Lucien Larré
Lucien Larré is a Canadian Roman Catholic priest. He is the founder of Bosco Homes, a Saskatchewan-based organization operating homes for troubled youth, for which he was honoured by induction into the Order of Canada in 1983.In July 2008, he indicated his intention to resign his membership in...

; and on 19 April 2010 for Frank Chauvin. It was also reported that other constituents of the Order of Canada had, in reaction to Henry Morgentaler
Henry Morgentaler
Henry Morgentaler, CM is a Canadian physician and prominent pro-choice advocate who has fought numerous legal battles for that cause.-Early life:...

's induction into their ranks, indicated that they would return or had returned their emblems in protest, including organizations such as the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is a missionary religious congregation in the Catholic Church. It was founded on January 25, 1816 by Saint Eugene de Mazenod, a French priest born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782. The congregation was given recognition by Pope...

 and Madonna House Apostolate
Madonna House Apostolate
The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

 doing so on behalf of deceased former members.

Members may be removed from the order if the Advisory Council feels their actions have brought the society into disrepute. In order for this to be done, the council must agree to take action and then send a letter to the person both telling of the group's decision and requesting a response. Anyone removed from the order is required to return their insignia. As of 2010, four people have been removed from the Order of Canada: Alan Eagleson
Alan Eagleson
Robert Alan Eagleson is a disbarred Canadian lawyer, convicted felon in two countries, former politician, hockey agent and promoter...

, who was dismissed after being jailed for fraud in 1998; David Ahenakew
David Ahenakew
David Ahenakew was a Canadian First Nations politician, and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.Ahenakew was born at the Sandy Lake Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan...

, who faced calls for his removal due to anti-Semitic comments he made in 2002; T. Sher Singh, after the Law Society of Upper Canada
Law Society of Upper Canada
The Law Society of Upper Canada is responsible for the self-regulation of lawyers and paralegals in the Canadian province of Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1797, it is known in French as "Le Barreau du Haut-Canada"...

 found him guilty of professional misconduct and revoked his licence to practise law; and Steve Fonyo
Steve Fonyo
Stephen Charles Fonyo, Jr., is a Canadian man who lost his left leg to cancer at age 12. He later embarked on a cross-Canada marathon entitled the "Journey for Lives" to raise funds for cancer research...

, due to "his multiple criminal convictions, for which there are no outstanding appeals."

Controversial appointments

The advisory board attempts to remain apolitical and pragmatic in its approach to selecting new members of the Order of Canada, generally operating without input from ministers of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

; political interference has occurred only once, when in 1978 Paul Desmarais
Paul Desmarais
Paul Desmarais, Sr., is a Canadian financier in Montreal. With an estimated net worth of $US 4.5 billion , Desmarais was ranked by Forbes as the 4th wealthiest person in Canada and 235th in the world.Desmarais also owns homes in Palm Beach, Florida and New York.He is CEO of the Power Corporation...

's investiture was delayed for six months by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

. However, some of the committee's selections have caused controversy. For instance, the admission in 2001 of sex educator Sue Johanson
Sue Johanson
Sue Johanson, CM is a Canadian writer, public speaker, registered nurse, sex educator, and media personality.-Early life:...

, host of the long-running Sunday Night Sex Show
Sunday Night Sex Show
The Sunday Night Sex Show was a live call-in Canadian television show which ran from 1996 to 2005. It aired on the W Network and was one of their most popular programs...

, as a Member stirred controversy among Canada's Christian organizations, as Johanson had taught teenagers methods of safe sex
Safe sex
Safe sex is sexual activity engaged in by people who have taken precautions to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. It is also referred to as safer sex or protected sex, while unsafe or unprotected sex is sexual activity engaged in without precautions...

 alongside abstinence. Similarly, the acceptance of birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

 advocate Elizabeth Bagshaw
Elizabeth Bagshaw
Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw, CM was one of Canada's first female doctors and the medical director of the first birth control clinic in Canada.-History:...

 and gay rights campaigner Brent Hawkes
Brent Hawkes
Brent Hawkes, is a Canadian clergyman. Since 1977, he has served as senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for LGBT parishioners, and is one of Canada's leading gay rights activists....

 also incited debate.
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 activist Henry Morgentaler's appointment to the order on 1 July 2008 not only marked the first time the Advisory Council had not been unanimous on its decision, but also proved to be one of the most controversial appointments in the order's history, drawing both praise from abortion rights groups and the ire of Members of Parliament, anti-abortion groups, and religious leaders. The latter organized protests outside of Rideau Hall on 9 July, while compatriots did the same in front of Government House
Government House (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Government House is the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Government House was a by-product of the wave of administrative initiatives that took place during the 1820s. The royal charter of 1825 bestowed official colonial status for Newfoundland.The first...

 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

, the official residence of that province's lieutenant governor
Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador is the viceregal representative in Newfoundland and Labrador of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who operates distinctly within the province but is also shared equally with the ten other jurisdictions of Canada and resides predominantly...

. One former police detective, Frank Chauvin, along with a Catholic anti-abortion activist, filed suit against the Order of Canada Advisory Council, demanding that the minutes of the meeting relating to Morgentaler be made public. The appointment of Morgentaler prompted former Liberal
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 Clifford Lincoln
Clifford Lincoln
Clifford Albert Lincoln is a retired Canadian politician who served as a Quebec cabinet minister prior to serving in the Canadian House of Commons....

 to write that the workings of the Advisory Council were "mysterious", citing what he theorised to be inbuilt partiality and conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

 as reason why Margaret Somerville
Margaret Somerville
Margaret Anne Ganley Somerville, AM, FRSC is a conservative Australian/Canadian ethicist and academic. She is the Samuel Gale Professor of Law, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the Founding Director of the Faculty of Law's Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill...

, whom Lincoln had twice nominated to the Advisory Council, was turned down for appointment, yet Morgentaler was accepted. Journalist Henry Aubin in the Montreal Gazette opined that the council's rejection of Somerville, her personal opposition to same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, and the acceptance of Brent Hawkes, Jane Vance Rule, and Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

, all regarded as supporting same-sex unions, as well as the appointment of a controversial figure such as Morgentaler, were all signs that the Advisory Council operated with partisan bias. Aubin also pointed to the presence on the council of members of the Royal Society of Canada
Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

, an organization into which Somerville was received.

Proposed amendments

At a 2006 conference on Commonwealth honours, Christopher McCreery
Christopher McCreery
Christopher McCreery, MVO is a Canadian author and historian.Best known for his six books on the Canadian honours system. A native of Kingston Ontario McCreery holds a Doctorate in Canadian history from Queen’s University...

, an expert on Canada's honours, raised the concern that the three grades of the Order of Canada were insufficient to recognize the nation's very best; one suggestion was to add two more levels to the order, equivalent to knighthoods in British orders. The order of precedence also came under scrutiny, particularly the anomaly that all three grades of the Order of Canada supersede the top levels of each of the other orders (except the Order of Merit), contrary to international practice.

In June 2010, McCreery suggested reforms to the Order of Canada that would avert the awkwardness around appointing those in Canada's royal family as full members of the order: He theorised that the Queen, as the order's Sovereign, could simply appoint, on ministerial advice, anyone as an extra member, or the monarch could issue an ordinance allowing for her relations to be made regular members when approved. Similarly, McCreery proposed that a new division of the order could be established specifically for governors general, their spouses, and members of the Royal Family.

Additional honours

At certain periods, holders of the order were presented with other awards, usually commemorative medals. Thus far, one commemorative medal has been given automatically to every living member of the Order of Canada: the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
The Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal was a commemorative medal created in 1977 to mark the 25th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II...

in 1977.

External links

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