Canadian citizens or corporate bodies seeking to be granted armorial bearings by lawful authority must send a letter addressed to the Chief Herald of Canada, stating the wish "to receive armorial bearings from the Canadian Crown under the powers exercised by the Governor General."
Individuals should forward:
- a completed information form (no. I-2017-A/B);
- proof of Canadian citizenship;
- a current biographical sketch that includes educational and employment background, as well as details of voluntary and community service; and
- the names of two persons who may be contacted as confidential references.
Corporate bodies should forward:
- a brief history and a copy of the document establishing their legal existence in Canada;
- a current annual report or financial statement;
- a copy of the resolution from their governing body requesting the grant.
A grant of armorial bearings, as an honour, recognizes the contributions made to the community by the petitioner. The background information is therefore an important tool for the Chief Herald of Canada to assess the eligibility of the request.
On the recommendation of the Chief Herald of Canada, the Herald Chancellor (the Secretary to the Governor General) or the deputy Herald Chancellor (the deputy Secretary, Chancellery) signs a warrant authorizing a grant of armorial bearings. An invoice for the processing fee is then sent to the petitioner.
Each petition is assigned to one of the heralds of the Authority. There are three main stages in the grant process: the creation of a written description, the preparation of a preliminary design, and the production of the official letters patent.
Once the processing fee has been paid, the herald, a specialist in the field of emblematic design, begins work with the petitioner to determine the elements of a possible design, which must follow the rules of heraldry. After the written description of the armorial bearings has been approved by the Chief Herald of Canada, it is sent to the petitioner for acceptance.
After the written description has been approved, a contract is signed between the petitioner and one of the Authority's artists, who then prepares preliminary artwork. This preliminary design is reviewed by Fraser Herald, the Authority's principal artist, approved by the Chief Herald of Canada, and sent to the petitioner for approval.
The third stage involves the preparation of the grant document. Called letters patent, this official document includes the final artistic illustration of the armorial bearings accompanied by a legal text. It is signed by the appropriate officials, and the seal of the Canadian heraldic Authority is applied to it.
The petitioner decides whether the letters patent will be a one- or two-sheet option. The letters patent are bilingual, and the petitioner indicates which official language (English or French) is to be displayed on the left side. There are separate contracts for the final artwork and for the calligraphy of the document.
The grant is entered in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, and the official notice of the grant is published in Part I of the Canada Gazette under the title "Government House."