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Clockwise: the insignia of the Order of Prince Edward Island, the Order of New Brunswick, the Order of Manitoba, the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Order of Nova Scotia


Clockwise: the insignia of a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec and members of the Order of Ontario, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the Alberta Order of Excellence, and the Order of British Columbia

The orders, decorations, and medals of the Canadian provinces, in which each province of Canada has devised a system of orders and awards to honour residents for actions or deeds that benefit their local community or province, are in turn subsumed within the Canadian honours system. Each province sets their own rules and criteria on eligibility and also how each medal is awarded and presented. Most of the orders allow for the recipient to wear their orders in public, and most grant the recipients the use of post-nominal letters in their names.


British Columbia was the first to establish an honour that was distinct to the province: the Order of the Dogwood Medallion, created for the province's centennial in 1957, and reformed into the Order of the Dogwood in 1966.[1] After the establishment of the Canadian honours system in 1967, the rest of the provinces, recognizing the Crown's distinct operation within each provincial jurisdiction, moved to establish their own honours after Ottawa declined to do so on their behalf. Ontario was the first, creating the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 1973, and the Police and Firefighter's Bravery Medals in 1975 and 1976, respectively. Alberta followed with the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1979. Quebec was the first province to establish a true order: l'Ordre national du Quebec in 1984. The Saskatchewan Order of Merit was established in 1985. The Order of Ontario came in 1986, the Order of British Columbia in 1989 (which replaced the Order of the Dogwood), the Order of Prince Edward Island in 1997, the Order of Manitoba in 1999, and the Order of Nova Scotia, of New Brunswick, and of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001. However, the federal government did not recognize these honours and decorations, fearing duplications and citing the fact that, aside from the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador,[2] the Queen had not authorized them. The provinces responded by stating that since provincial ministers did not constitutionally have the right to advise the sovereign directly, they would do so via legislation under the prerogative of the provincial Crown. The federal government finally came to recognize provincial orders after a compromise was reached between Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn and Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Sylvia Fedoruk, wherein provincial honours established by legislation or order in council would be ranked below all national honours, but above national decorations.[3]

Provincial orders

Name Ribbon bar Post-nominal letters Number of inductees
Alberta Order of Excellence Alberta Order Excellence ribbon bar.svg A.O.E. 59[4]
Order of British Columbia Order British Columbia ribbon bar.svg O.B.C. 218[5]
Order of Manitoba Order Manitoba ribbon bar.svg O.M. 85[6][7]
Order of New Brunswick Order New Brunswick ribbon bar.svg O.N.B. 37[8]
Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Order Newfoundland Labrador ribbon bar.svg O.N.L. 35[9]
Order of Nova Scotia Order Nova Scotia ribbon bar.png O.N.S. 20[10]
Order of Ontario Order Ontario ribbon bar.svg O.Ont. 209
Order of Prince Edward Island Order Prince Edward Island ribbon bar.svg O.P.E.I. 32
National Order of Quebec (French language: Ordre national du Québec)

Presented in three grades:

  • Grand Officer (grand officier - shown right)
  • Officer (officier)
  • Knight (chevalier)
National Order Quebec ribbon bar.svg G.O.Q.
69 (G.O.Q.)[11]
195 (O.Q.)[12]
324 (C.Q.)[13]
Saskatchewan Order of Merit Saskatchewan Order Merit ribbon bar.svg S.O.M. 122[14]

In all provinces except Quebec the provincial honours are presented by the relevant Lieutenant Governor.[3]

Most provincial orders only have one grade, or level, which is membership. The only province that has a multi-level order system is Quebec: the National Order of Quebec has three grades (in descending order of grade): Grand Officer (GOQ), Officer (OQ), and Knight (CQ).

The Canadian Forces has listed the following orders to be worn in the following manner: National Order of Quebec, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Order of Ontario, Order of British Columbia, Alberta Order of Excellence, Order of Prince Edward Island, Order of Manitoba, Order of New Brunswick, Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, the CF has stated that while this is the order of sequence on a ribbon bar, it is unlikely or even impossible that a member will receive a medal or an order from all Canadian provinces.[15]

Various people who have been awarded provincial orders have been presented with national decorations and orders, such as the Order of Canada. An example of this would be Gordon Lightfoot being awarded the Order of Ontario. Lightfoot is also a Companion of the Order of Canada.[16] Each province has a limit on how many can be awarded with their order per year. Ontario places no limit on the number that can be distributed (although it is usually around 25). Alberta and Saskatchewan are limited to 10 inductees each year. An order for the Yukon Territory, the Yukon Territory Order of Polaris, has been rumored to be created.[17] Other than a ribbon bar present on a few medal related websites, no announcement has been made concerning this order. It is not listed on the medals and orders chart for members of the Canadian Forces.[15]

Provincial medals



British Columbia

  • British Columbia Fire Services Long Service and Bravery Medals


Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Newfoundland and Labrador Bravery Award
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Service Medal

See also


  • McCreery, Christopher (2008). “The Beginner’s Guide to Canadian Honours” Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1-55002-748-8
  • McCreery, Christopher (2005). “The Canadian Honours System” Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1-55002-554-5


  1. Royal British Columbia Museum: Media Images
  2. Roberts, Edward (2004). "Message from the Lieutenant Governor". In Executive Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's: Queen's Printer for Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jackson, Michael; Canadian Monarchist News: Golden Jubilee and Provincial Crown; Winter/Spring, 2003
  4. Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. "Members of the Alberta Order of Excellence". Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  5. Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat of British Columbia. "Recipients of the Order of British Columbia" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  6. Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. "Official Register of the Order of Manitoba". Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  7. Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. "Twelve People to Receive Order of Manitoba". Archived from the original on November 24, 2005. Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  8. Government of New Brunswick. "What is the Order of New Brunswick?". Archived from the original on February 6, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  9. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. "Order of Newfoundland and Labrador recipients". Retrieved March 3, 2008. 
  10. Government of Nova Scotia. "Order of Nova Scotia". Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  11. Government of Quebec. "Ordre national du Québec". Retrieved 5 March 2007. 
  12. Government of Quebec. "Ordre national du Québec". Retrieved 5 March 2007. 
  13. Government of Quebec. "Ordre national du Québec". Retrieved 5 March 2007. 
  14. Saskatchewan Government Relations. "Saskatchewan Order of Merit - Members". Retrieved May 15, 2006. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 National Defence: Canadian Forces Honours and Awards Chart
  16. Governor General of Canada: Gordon Lightfoot receives the Order of Canada; December 13, 2003
  17. Medals of the World: Orders, Decorations and Medals of Canada: Ribbon Chart

External links

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