Order of Canada

The Order of Canada (French: Ordre du Canada) is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, after the Order of Merit.

Order of Canada
Ordre du Canada
Insignia of a Member of the Order of Canada
Awarded by the

Monarch of Canada
TypeNational order
Established17 April 1967
MottoDesiderantes meliorem patriam
EligibilityAll living Canadians, except federal and provincial politicians and judges while holding office.
CriteriaThe highest degree of merit, an outstanding level of talent and service, or an exceptional contribution to Canada and humanity.
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignElizabeth II
Chancellor and Principal CompanionGovernor General of Canada
GradesCompanion (CC)
Officer (OC)
Member (CM)
Former gradesMedal of Service
Medal of Courage
First induction1 July 1967
Total inductees7,212 (as of January 2020)[1]
Next (higher)Member of the Order of Merit
Next (lower)Commander of the Order of Military Merit
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To coincide with the centennial of Canadian Confederation, the three-tiered order was established in 1967 as a fellowship that recognizes the outstanding merit or distinguished service of Canadians who make a major difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in every field of endeavour, as well as the efforts by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. Membership is accorded to those who exemplify the order's Latin motto, desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country", a phrase taken from Hebrews 11:16.[2] The three tiers of the order are Companion, Officer, and Member; specific individuals may be given extraordinary membership and deserving non-Canadians may receive honorary appointment into each grade.

Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning Canadian monarch, is the sovereign of the order and the Governor General administers the order on her behalf as Chancellor and Principal Companion.[3] Appointees to the order are recommended by an advisory board and formally inducted by the governor general or the sovereign. As of January 2020, 7212 people have been appointed to the Order of Canada,[1] including scientists, musicians, politicians, artists, athletes, business people, film stars, benefactors, and others. Some have resigned or have been removed from the order, while other appointments have been controversial. Appointees are presented with insignia and receive the right to armorial bearings.