Order of Canada

Canadian national order

The Order of Canada was set up in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II, to reward service to Canada.

Order of Canada
Awarded by the

King of Canada
Type National order
Motto Desiderantes meliorem patriam
Eligibility All living Canadians, except federal and provincial politicians and judges while holding office.
Awarded for The highest degree of merit, an outstanding level of talent and service, or an exceptional contribution to Canada and humanity.
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Elizabeth II
Chancellor David Lloyd Johnston
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Companion (CC)
Officer (OC)
Member (CM)
Former grades Medal of Service
Medal of Courage
Established 17 April 1967
First induction 1 July 1967
Total inductees 5,604
Next (higher) Member of the Order of Merit
Next (lower) Commander of the Order of Military Merit

It is at the top of Canada’s honours system. It has three classes or ranks to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Only Canadian citizens can have the award, but every year up to five foreigners can be given an honorary award.

The Order of Canada’s motto is Latin: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (English: They desire a better country).



Companion (CC)


Given to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.

Officer (OC)


For a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.

Member (C.M.)


A Member of the Order of Canada has a lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity

Annual appointments


Appointments to the order are usually announced twice a year, at the end of December (the New Year's Honours List) and at the end of June to mark Canada Day. This is the same system as in the United Kingdom, except the Queen's Official Birthday at the beginning of June is marked instead.

Only a certain number of appointments can be made each year:

Level Appointments per Year
Companion 15[1]
Officer 64
Member 136
Non-Canadian (Honorary) 5
Total 220


  1. but no more than 165 living Companions at any given time