Each year, hundreds of Canadians earn our applause and gratitude: from community
volunteers to astronauts, from actors to members of the military, from scholars to everyday
citizens. One of the governor general’s responsibilities is to present honours and awards on
behalf of all Canadians, thereby recognizing individuals who have demonstrated excellence,
courage or dedication in ways that bring special credit to this country. Granting honours is a
gracious, tangible and lasting way to pay tribute to exceptional achievements.
Among them, the Order of Canada recognizes sustained contributions to Canada; the
Meritorious Service Decorations recognize exceptional deeds or activities; the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements; and the Decorations for
Bravery recognize acts of courage performed in dangerous situations.
Since Confederation, Canada’s governors general have fostered a tradition of encouraging
excellence by establishing more than 60 awards and trophies in the arts, social sciences,
humanities and sports.
The Governor General is also Head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which recognizes the
contributions of Canadian individuals and corporate bodies through the granting of coats of
arms, flags and badges as part of the National honours system.