The Governor General's Academic Medal Directives


1. The Governor General’s Academic Medal was first awarded in 1873 by the Earl of Dufferin, and has since become one of the most prestigious awards that a student in a Canadian educational institution can receive. The governor general of Canada continues this tradition of encouraging scholarship across the nation and recognizing outstanding students.

2. The medals are known as the “Governor General’s Academic Medals” and are awarded only for academic excellence at four levels:

  • Bronze at the secondary school level;
  • Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary diploma level;
  • Silver at the undergraduate level;
  • Gold at the graduate level.

3. To maintain a spirit of universality across the country, the Directives were designed to ensure that the medals are awarded on academic marks only, regardless of the more intangible qualities of students’ life, such as good citizenship, moral behaviour or popularity.

4. It is the responsibility of the educational institution to determine a clear winner every year based on these directives. Students cannot jointly be awarded one medal.

5. Canadian citizenship is not a prerequisite for the awarding of the medal.

6. Institutions participating in the Governor General’s Academic Medals program agree to abide by these directives.


7. Eligible institutions must apply to the Chancellery of Honours to participate in the program. Once accepted into the program, participating institutions automatically receive their medals annually. The Chancellery must be advised of any change in status affecting the participant’s eligibility.


8. To be eligible, a school must follow the provincial/territorial syllabus and award the secondary school diploma. Currently, the final year of secondary school is secondary V in Quebec; completion of 30 credits resulting in an OSSD in Ontario; completion of 28 credits in Manitoba resulting in a secondary school diploma; and grade 12 in all other provinces and territories.

8.1 A BRONZE medal is awarded to the student who achieves the highest average upon graduation from a secondary school.

8.2 The average includes all grade 11 and grade 12 courses (secondary IV and V in Quebec) as listed on the student’s official Transcript of Grades issued by the ministry of education. The average cannot be anticipated; it must be calculated based on final results after provincial/territorial examinations, where the ministry of education requires final exams.

8.3 Equitable access for the entire student population is an important aspect of the medal’s value. Regardless of the stream or the subjects chosen, all students are eligible for consideration upon graduation.

8.4 Courses taken after graduation to upgrade marks are not to be included.


9. A college is a post-secondary institution recognized by the province/territory, which follows an approved syllabus and offers a minimum two-year program leading to the granting of a diploma.

9.1 For the purposes of these directives, “college” includes institutions such as Quebec’s CEGEPs, Ontario’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT), technical institutes and other establishments providing training in the technologies, in specialized fields such as agriculture, arts, music and forestry and/or university transfer programs, and schools classified as “hospital schools” offering postsecondary programs in nursing, various health sciences technologies and health administration.

9.2 The COLLEGIATE BRONZE medal is awarded to the student who achieves the highest overall average upon graduation from a diploma-level, post-secondary program (minimum two-year, full-time duration).

9.3 The Collegiate Bronze medal is engraved with the word “COLLEGE” on the edge.


10. A university must be empowered to grant degrees by its province and must belong to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

10.1 Federated universities may only award the medal in the discipline(s) for which they have the right to grant degrees.

10.2 The SILVER medal is awarded to the undergraduate who achieves the highest academic standing upon graduation from a bachelor degree program. The number of silver medals awarded by each university shall be determined by its full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate enrolment:

  • 1 medal – under 15,000 students
  • 2 medals – 15,000 to 25,000
  • 3 medals – more than 25,000.

10.3 The GOLD medal is awarded to the student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level. The number of gold medals awarded by each university shall be determined by its full-time equivalent (FTE) graduate enrolment:

  • 1 medal – under 2,500 students
  • 2 medals – 2,500 to 5,000
  • 3 medals – more than 5,000.

10.4 Universities awarding more than one silver and/or gold medal may use any method of determining winners that satisfies the basic criteria of academic excellence and equitability of access for the student population (e.g. one in Arts, one in Science).

10.5 Since the number of gold and silver medals is determined based on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolment, all students (full-time and part-time) are eligible.


11. It is the responsibility of each educational institution to ensure that medals are presented to recipients at an appropriate ceremony.

12. Medals should be presented on behalf of, and in the name of, the governor general. They are not to be associated with any monetary award.

13. The presenting academic institution is responsible for inscribing the winner’s name on the certificate.

14. Participating institutions are responsible for providing the names of winners to the Chancellery immediately after presentation.

15. In the event of non-award by an institution in a given year, the medal and certificate are to be returned to the Chancellery with an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the non-award.


16. The Chancellery maintains the Official Register of recipients.

17. A lost medal may be replaced at cost if the recipient’s name appears in the Official Register. Application for replacement must be made to the Chancellery, in writing, explaining the circumstances of the loss.

18. For more information on the Governor General’s Academic Medals program, please contact:

The Chancellery of Honours
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1
Phone : 1-800-465-6890
E-mail :

Revised: March 2006