Military Wiki
Canada Medal
Canada General Service Medal BAR.svg
Ribbon of the medal
Country  Canada
Eligibility Canadians
Status Abolished 1966
Post-nominals CM (English)
M du C (French)
Established 27 August 1943
Total awarded Never awarded
Order of Wear
Next (higher) British Empire Medal[1]
Next (lower) Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service[1]

The Canada Medal was an honour created in 1943 as part of an attempt to establish an indigenous honours system in Canada. It was meant to serve as the top award that could be awarded to civilians and military personnel. The increase in demand for civilian honours during the Second World War led to the creation of a committee to examine honours in Canada. While the committee mostly dealt with regulations regarding British honours, the committee did manage to have the Canada Medal created. Though established by Royal Warrant and added to the order of wear as early as 1947,[2] the medal was never awarded. The medal was abolished in 1966, just prior to the creation of the Order of Canada. Despite the fact that it was never awarded, it continues to appear in the official order of wear published in the London Gazette.[1]


In the aftermath of the First World War there was a sense of dissatisfaction in how honours were distributed. The effect was the passage of the Nickel Resolution. The resolution created a policy of Canadians not being appointed to peerages or titular honours, and the government of Canada only making recommendation for a handful of non-titular honours. In 1931, the Statute of Westminster reaffirmed the equality of the self-governing dominions of the British Empire, however there was no mechanism to establish honours specific to the dominions. In 1935, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Long Service Medal was established as the first award specifically for service in Canada. The Canadian government managed the creation of this medal by passing the recommendation for creating the honour on to the Dominions Office, who had experience with drafting Royal Warrants. In 1934, King George V signed the Royal Warrant creating the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Long Service Medal. Prime Minister R.B. Bennett countersigned the Royal Warrant 15 December 1934 signifying that the King was acting on the advice of his Canadian Ministry.[3]

During the Second World War, a group of senior government civil servants was put together in the Awards Co-ordination Committe (ACC). The ACC primarily dealt with questions in regards to British awards being presented to Canadians. Working in the same period of time was a Parliamentary committee, the Special Committee on Honours and Awards, who came up with a recommendation to create a Canadian order. Though ultimately rejected, the name Order of Canada was brought up and subsequently stuck, until its establishment later.[4]


Despite the failure of proposals for a Canadian order, the ACC managed to have the Canada Medal created. The process used to establish the RCMP Long Service Medal was followed for the creation of the Canada Medal,[5] resulting in a Royal Warrant by George VI establishing the medal on 27 August 1943. The Canada Medal was to be the preeminent distinguished service award for Canadians, both civilians and military personnel.[6] The medal was to be awarded to Canadian and non-Canadian persons who provided, "specially valuable and meritorious service of a high standard...special service of a high degree of merit, such as discharge of special duties superior to the person's ordinary work...highly meritorious performance of ordinary duties where these have entailed work of a specifically trying character."[7]


The first honours list with awards of the Canada Medal was to be released on 11 November 1943. The list contained the King and other world leaders, as well as Canadian military personnel. However, the awards were never made.[8] Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was not in favor of awarding the medal, so the medal was not awarded.[6] Between it's creation and 1966, the Canada Medal was an official decoration of Canada, the first award of merit created for Canadians by the Canadian government but in its history, was never awarded. When the Order of Canada was established, the warrant creating the Canada Medal was revoked.[8]


The Canada Medal was a round silver medal. The obverse of the medal bore the effigy of King George VI, surrounded by his titles. The reverse of the medal bore the Royal Arms of Canada above a scroll with the word CANADA, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves. The medal was suspended from a bar with the word MERIT or MERITE. All medals were stamped with the word specimen on the rim. The ribbon consisted of three equal stripes of red, white, and red.[8] The same as the Canada General Service Medal.[9]



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