Order of Nova Scotia

The Order of Nova Scotia was established in 2001 to "encourage excellence by recognizing Nova Scotians for outstanding contributions or achievements." Any Canadian citizen who is a present or former long-term resident of Nova Scotia is eligible for nomination to the Order. The only exceptions are public officials (such as members of the Senate, MPs, MLAs, municipal councillors, or judges), who may not be nominated while they are in office. The Order may be awarded posthumously if the person is nominated within one year of death. Only individuals may be nominated, not couples, groups, or organizations.

Nominators for membership must include letters of support from three other individuals. An independent group called the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council recommends the appointment of members to the Order each year after considering all nominations received. There are no fixed quotas or categories, but a maximum number of five appointments will be made each year, although ten members were selected in the first year.

The advisory council is composed of a Chair, appointed by the premier; the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, or a judge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, designated by the Chief Justice; the clerk of the executive council; three members appointed by the premier, including the president of a university in the province and a member of the order; a member appointed by the Leader of the Opposition; and a member appointed by each leader of a recognized party in the House of Assembly.

At a formal ceremony, the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, in the name of the Crown, presents each recipient with a medal. The medal is in the form of a stylized mayflower, the provincial floral emblem, bearing the shield-of-arms of Nova Scotia surmounted by the crown. The medal is worn with a blue, white, red and gold ribbon - the colours of the provincial flag. There is also a semi-formal medal and ribbon and a lapel pin. Members of the order are entitled to use the initials ONS after their names.