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July 15, 2015
Governor General Announces the Creation of the
Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers
OTTAWA—His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, is pleased to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the creation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. This new medal will recognize volunteers who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.
“Throughout the year and across Canada, I have the pleasure of recognizing individuals who care about the well-being of others and who share a desire to make our communities kinder and healthier places in which to live,” said the Governor General. “The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers will celebrate the achievements of these Canadians and emphasize our country’s commitment to giving. This new medal will build on the legacy and spirit of the Caring Canadian Award, created by my predecessor, the late Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, in honouring exceptional volunteers.”
As an official honour created by the Crown, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers will be part of the Canadian Honours System. The program will incorporate and replace the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award (CCA). It will carry the same values as the CCA, and the medal itself will bear two intertwined hearts, symbolizing generosity and the action of caring. The viceregal colours of blue and gold present in the ribbon are taken from the design of the CCA, while the deep red colour represents the Sovereign.
Over the next year, presentations of the CCA will be ongoing and nominations will continue to be received by the Chancellery of Honours. The inaugural Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers presentation ceremony will be held in 2016. At that time, new recipients will begin to receive the medal and existing CCA recipients will subsequently receive the medal to complement their award.
Fact sheets on the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers and the creation of new Canadian honours are attached. To learn more about the new medal and how to nominate deserving volunteers, please visit caring.gg.ca.
For the artistic rendering of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers,
please click here.
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FACT SHEET ON THE SOVEREIGN’S MEDAL FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers will recognize the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country and celebrate a wide range of voluntary contributions.
As an official honour created by the Crown, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers will be part of the Canadian Honours System. The program will incorporate and replace the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, created in 1995, by then-Governor General the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc.
The Chancellery of Honours, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, will administer the program.
Eligibility Criteria and Nomination Process
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers will recognize living Canadians who have made a significant, sustained and unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Non-Canadians will also be eligible if their contribution brings benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada.
Until the inaugural presentation ceremony of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is held in 2016, presentations of the Caring Canadian Award will be ongoing. Nominations for this award will continue to be accepted throughout the year by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by an advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the governor general. Existing Caring Canadian Award recipients will subsequently receive the medal to complement their award.
Canadians can nominate a friend, neighbour or member of their community who deserves this unique honour by visiting caring.gg.ca.
Description of the Medal
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension ring. The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA”, separated by two maple leaves. The reverse bears a large and a small heart interlaced, set with five maple leaves on the outer edge of the large heart which is surmounted by a coronet bearing three maple leaves. The edge of the reverse is decorated with a sunburst pattern. The medal is suspended from a ribbon that is 32 mm in width, the edges of which shall consist of 9.25 mm deep red stripes and the centre of which shall consist of five 1.5 mm gold stripes interspersed with four 1.5 mm blue stripes.
The design of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico of the Chancellery of Honours. The medal will be manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.
FACT SHEET ON THE CREATION OF A NEW CANADIAN HONOUR
The Canadian Honours System was instituted in 1967, with the creation of the Order of Canada. Canadian honours recognize significant achievement, bravery and exceptional service to Canada or to humanity at large. Their creation follows a legal approval process, which may take several months, and which concludes with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as the Sovereign of Canada.
Who is involved in the creation of a new honour?
- The Sovereign of Canada is the authority for the creation of all official honours. Honours are created by letters patent issued by the Sovereign on the advice of the prime minister of Canada.
- The Chancellery of Honours, as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, is responsible for administering the Canadian Honours System on behalf of the governor general, and provides support to the Honours Policy Committee.
- The Honours Policy Committee, chaired by the Privy Council Office, is made up of a group of senior public servants from various government departments who assist in the administration of Canadian honours.
- The prime minister is responsible for the Canadian Honours System. In 1980, the Canadian Honours Policy Committee was created in order to provide the prime minister with advice and assistance on the exercise of prerogatives with respect to honours and awards in Canada.
- Proposals for new honours can originate from different sources: officials in various federal and provincial departments, individuals in established organizations that serve the public and private citizens.
What is the process behind the creation of a new honour?
- Proposals are sent to the Chancellery of Honours for review and to ensure that the new honour is compatible with the national honours policy and that it does not duplicate any existing honours.
- The proposal is presented for discussion and approval by the Honours Policy Committee.
- The Chancellery drafts the regulations, in consultation with the interested parties, and prepares the letters patent for signature by the Sovereign.
- The Chancellery also develops the design of the new insignia.
- If approved by the committee, the creation of a new honour is recommended to the prime minister via the order-in-council process through the Privy Council Office.
- On the recommendation of the prime minister via the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, the letters patent and design paintings are sent to Buckingham Palace for approval by Her Majesty The Queen. When the letters patent are signed, the honour in considered officially created.
- The Office of the Registrar General of Canada affixes the Great Seal of Canada to the signed letters patent.
- The new honour is announced in a news release by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General and the information is published in the Canada Gazette.