Order of Canada

The Order of Canada, centrepiece of the Canadian system of HONOURS, was instituted on 1 July 1967, the 100th anniversary of Confederation. Every Canadian is eligible for the order, which is conferred in recognition of exemplary merit and achievement in all major fields of endeavour. Appointments are made by the governor general, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Council of the Order, which meets twice a year under the chairmanship of the chief justice of Canada to consider nominations submitted by members of the public.

Initially a member of the Order either was made a Companion (CC, limited to 165 living persons at any given time) or was awarded the Medal of Service. Companions of the Order of Canada honours are awarded for service with the highest degree of merit to Canada and to humanity. Recipients may also be named to the rank of Companion in recognition of extraordinary achievement in their field of endeavour. In 1972 holders of the Medal of Service took the newly created rank of Officer (OC), and a third level, Member (CM), was introduced. Up to 64 appointments can be made to the rank of Officer every year compared with 136 to the rank of Member.

Investitures take place each spring and autumn at the governor general's official residence, Rideau Hall, Ottawa. The order's badge is in the form of a stylized snowflake of 6 points and is worn at the neck by Companions and Officers and on the left breast by Members. Recipients are entitled to have placed after their names the letters representing the category in which each is appointed: CC, OC or CM, and all may wear a small replica of the badge on street clothes. The motto on the awards is Desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country."