Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) program?

The MSD (Civil Division) program was created to recognize individuals who have performed an exceptional deed or activity over a limited period of time that has brought honour to a community or to Canada as a whole.

This activity or deed is often innovative, sets an example or model for others to follow, or improves the quality of life in a community. It may benefit local, provincial, national or international populations.

There are two levels: a cross and a medal. The different levels reflect the scope and impact of the activity or deed. The MSD (Civil Division) is part of the Canadian Honours System and is one of the highest distinctions a Canadian civilian can receive.

What is the difference between the military and civil divisions of the Meritorious Service Decorations?

The Military Division recognizes members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), both regular and reserve, as well as visiting forces, whose deed or activity has been performed to a very high standard that brings benefit and honour to the CAF. The Civil Division is open to Canadians and non-Canadians, and recognizes deeds or activities that have brought honour or benefit to Canada.

Who is eligible to be recognized?

Any Canadian or non-Canadian whose accomplishments or activities over a limited period of time have demonstrated an outstanding level of service or set an exemplary standard of achievement and have brought honour or benefit to Canada is eligible to receive an MSD (Civil Division). However, the work of nominees who are not Canadians must have brought benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada. In addition, the accomplishments or activities must have occurred after June 11, 1984. Please read the program’s eligibility for further details.

Can the MSD (Civil Division) be awarded posthumously?

Yes, the MSD (Civil Division) may be awarded posthumously.

How does the nomination process work?

The Chancellery of Honours, as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the program and receives all nominations. Each one is carefully researched before being presented to and reviewed by an independent advisory committee, which makes recommendations to the governor general. The selection process is non-partisan and merit-based.

The Chancellery of Honours keeps nominations confidential to respect privacy and to avoid disappointment if the nominee is not selected. As part of this commitment, the Chancellery responds to inquiries about the status of a nomination only to the nominator identified on the nomination form. Nominators and others involved in the process are asked to respect this policy.

How can I nominate someone?

Anyone can nominate an exceptional individual. To nominate someone, complete the nomination form by providing the following information:

  1. Contact information for you and the candidate.
  2. An outline of the reasons for the nomination, describing the candidate’s specific deed or activity as well as the scope and impact of the nominee’s work.
  3. The names and contact information of three references that support the nomination.

What is the deadline for submitting a nomination?

Nominations may be submitted at any time throughout the year.

When is the decoration presented?

The MSD (Civil Division) may be presented by the governor general or by lieutenant governors or territorial commissioners. Presentation ceremonies are held throughout the year, in communities across Canada. The Chancellery of Honours makes every effort to arrange a presentation ceremony within two calendar years of the date of the award. Medals will be sent by mail should a recipient not wish to attend a ceremony. Recipients will be contacted by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General with details about their presentation.

What do recipients receive?

The medal is accompanied by a lapel pin for everyday wear and a certificate.

How should the decoration be worn?

The Canadian Honours System has rules regarding how and when the decoration should be worn. To learn more about the wearing of the decoration and other insignia, please refer to the Guide for the Wearing of Orders, Decorations and Medals.

Does the honour entitle the recipient to use post-nominal letters?

Yes. A recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross is entitled to use the post-nominal letters “M.S.C.” while a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal is entitled to use the letters “M.S.M.”