Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

September 08, 2010 12:13 ET

Governor General Announces the Creation of the Operational Service Medal

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2010) - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, is pleased to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the creation of the Operational Service Medal. The Medal will be awarded to Canadian military personnel, civilians under the authority of the Canadian Forces, members of allied forces integrated within the Canadian Forces, as well as to Canadian police officers who have taken part in important missions overseas.

"Our dedicated soldiers and police personnel deserve our recognition and gratitude," said the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. "This medal recognizes the valued contributions of those women and men who, while serving Canada, work tirelessly, often under difficult conditions, to help those in need overseas."

The Medal is issued with a ribbon specific to a theatre of operations or type of service as follows: South-West Asia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Sudan, Humanitas and Expedition.

An inaugural presentation ceremony, presided over by the Governor General, will take place at a later date.

For the artistic rendering of the Medal created by the Chancellery of Honours, please click on the following link for a small format: or on this link for a large format. For more information on this military honour and on the eligibility criteria, please visit the Department of National Defence's Web site for Canadian Forces Honours and Awards, at

Fact sheets on the Operational Service Medal and on the creation of new Canadian honours are attached.


The Operational Service Medal was created on July 5, 2010, to recognize members of the Canadian Forces, Canadian police officers, members of an allied force, or Canadian civilians working at the request of the Canadian government and under the authority of the Canadian Forces, who served in a theatre of operations, provided direct support on a full-time basis to operations conducted in such a theatre or served under dangerous circumstances outside Canada.


Commanding officers will submit applications through the usual military or police chain of command for eligible members of their unit.


The Medal shall be worn following the General Service Medal and before the Special Service Medal, in the order of precedence of the Canadian Honours System. If several OSMs are earned, they shall be worn in the proper sequence, according to the Order of Precedence, available on our Web site at

Description of the medal

The Medal, which is silver in colour, consists of a circular medallion that is 36 mm across, with a straight suspension bar.

The obverse of the Medal shows a contemporary effigy of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada with the inscriptions "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA" and "CANADA," separated by small maple leaves.

The reverse of the Medal shows, from top to bottom, the Royal Crown—on either side of which are three maple leaves joined on one stem—a representation of the globe, and crossed branches of laurel and oak leaves.

The ribbons are all 32 mm wide with a central stripe representative of the theatre or task (sand for South-West Asia, light green for Sierra Leone, royal blue for Haiti, dark green for Sudan, white for Humanitas and light grey for Expedition), on either side of which are stripes of white and red.


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.

  • 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 Prime Minister of Canada created the Canadian Honours Policy Committee 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 Queen.

  • 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 of Canada 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 Queen signs the letters patent, 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 press release by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General and the information is published in the Canada Gazette.

Contact Information

  • For media information on Canadian Honours:
    Rideau Hall Press Office
    Marie-Pierre Belanger
    For information on the Operational
    Service Medal eligibility criteria:
    Department of National Defence
    Media Liaison Office
    1-866-377-0811 / 613-996-2353