Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award?
When the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc became Governor General of Canada, he was determined to thank the thousands of caring people who give so much to their fellow citizens — the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. In 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was created.
The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.
If you know a friend, neighbour or member of your community who deserves this unique honour, please share their stories with us by completing a nomination form.
Who is responsible for the administration of the Caring Canadian Award program?
The Chancellery of Honours, as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the Caring Canadian Award program.
Is the Caring Canadian Award a national honour?
The Caring Canadian Award is not a national honour. It is one of many governor general’s awards, which also include the Governor General’s Academic Medal and the Governor General’s Literary Awards.
While the Caring Canadian Award is administered by the Chancellery of Honours and is awarded by the governor general, it is not listed within the the Canadian order of precedence for orders, decorations and medals, and it does not confer post-nominals upon its recipients. More information about the order of precedence is available here.
Since it is not a national honour, there is no protocol governing the wearing of the Caring Canadian Award lapel pin. Recipients are invited to wear it without restriction.
What makes the Caring Canadian Award different from other volunteer awards?
The Caring Canadian Award is the only award for volunteerism given by the governor general of Canada. Since it was created in 1995, thousands of deserving Canadians have been honoured through this unique program, reaching the full diversity of volunteerism in our country. These unsung heroes strengthen their communities and have made an impact through sustained, unpaid, voluntary contributions.
Other awards exist in Canada recognizing volunteerism in various ways. Volunteers lie at the heart of our communities, and it is appropriate that their extraordinary contributions be fully recognized.
Who can be recognized by the award?
The award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.
How does the nomination process work?
Nominations can be made directly through the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. They will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by the advisory committee which will make recommendations to the governor general.
All nominations are kept confidential to respect privacy and to avoid disappointment if the nominee is not selected. Nominators and others involved are asked to respect this policy.
For more information, please consult the nomination and award process.
What is the role of the Advisory Committee?
The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award Advisory Committee reviews and assesses nominations and recommends worthy candidates to receive the award. It is made up of representatives from across the country who have significant experience in the community and volunteerism sectors. Members of the Advisory Committee are appointed by the Governor General.
What information is required to submit a nomination?
To submit a nomination, complete the nomination form by sending us the following information:
The name and address of the individual being nominated, as well as your own name and address, for correspondence purposes.
A short description of the nominee’s contribution to the community, including the type of volunteer work done, the names of any organizations involved the length of service and any other relevant biographical information.
Three letters from organizations or individuals who also support the nomination and who can describe the unpaid, volunteer work done by the candidate.
The letters should answer the following questions:
- How do you know the nominee?
- What has the nominee done as a volunteer?
- What is it about his/her efforts that sets him/her apart from others doing similar work?
- How has their contribution improved the community?
More information is available in the Nominate a Volunteer section.
Is there a deadline to submit nominations?
There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted throughout the year.
When is the award presented?
Ceremonies are held throughout the year, in communities across Canada. The award will be sent by mail when a ceremony cannot be held within a calendar year. The Chancellery of Honours makes every effort to arrange a presentation ceremony within one calendar year of the date of the award.
How will recipients receive their award?
The award, consisting of a certificate and a lapel pin, is presented by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors or partner organizations. Where this is impossible or if a recipient requests an early presentation for personal reasons, the award will be sent by mail.
Recipients will be contacted by the Chancellery of Honours with details about the presentation of their award.
What does the emblem symbolize?
The Caring Canadian Award emblem represents Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others. The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit; the heart depicts the open-heartedness of volunteers; and the outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity. The helping hand and heart support the maple leaf. The blue and gold colours, which appear on the viceregal flag, indicate the award’s connection with the governor general.
Who designed the emblem?
The emblem was the result of a national, public design competition, held when the Caring Canadian Award was first launched in 1995. The winning submission was then further developed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority at the Chancellery of Honours.