Aide-Memoire - Annex G - Compliments (Including Salutes)

  1. Compliments are formal marks of respect and courtesy, i.e. salutes. Because of the rank worn, “Honoraries” will be saluted. As Honorary Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels are filling the same role, saluting between them is minimal when they are together at a gathering. However, when in public, it is correct to offer a salute to the higher rank.
  2. The military salute is a traditional demonstration of trust and respect. Although the method of saluting varies with circumstances, the paying of compliments is a fundamental requirement that is indispensable to service discipline. Salutes must be returned when in uniform (and wearing headdress), usually this will occur outdoors or in designated unit areas. To learn the appropriate method for saluting, seek the advice of unit leadership.
  3. In Canada, military compliments are only paid to the Sovereign; the Governor General; members of the Royal Family; recognized foreign royalty; foreign heads of state or government; the Prime Minister; the Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence; Lieutenant-Governors; and Commissioned Officers. Service individuals receiving a compliment shall acknowledge it.
  4. Officers shall salute all officers of higher rank and shall return all compliments paid to them. Senior officers receiving compliments from marching troops on a ceremonial parade shall hold the salute as each individual component passes directly by in review.
  5. Officers and non-commissioned members not part of a formed military group shall pay individual compliments to an approaching higher ranking officer. The senior officer receiving the salute shall return the compliment, while military persons accompanying that officer give an eyes right/left during the exchange of compliments or greetings. When in uniform and not wearing headdress, compliments shall be paid or returned by standing at attention. This said, saluting is never done without headdress – if acknowledging a superior officer or requiring to return a salute the appropriate manoeuvre is to “come to attention” with arms straight at your sides.
  6. Buildings. Salutes are not given indoors in either public or service buildings except on parades, ceremonial occasions, in areas so designated by commanders, or when entering or leaving the office of an officer who should be paid compliments by virtue of his/her rank or appointment.
  7. Cenotaphs. Officers and NCMs shall salute individually and formed military groups shall pay compliments when passing the National War Memorial and cenotaphs to military dead.
  8. Colours. Individuals and formed military groups shall pay compliments to uncased Colours, except when the Colour is part of an escort to the deceased during a funeral.
  9. Religious Services and Buildings. Conventional marks of respect and courtesy shall be observed during religious services and in places of worship, depending on the customs of the religion involved and the faith of the member (see A-AD-265-000/AG-001, CF Dress Instructions, Chapter 2, Section 3 for further explanation).
  1. Funerals. The following compliments shall be paid at state, military and civilian funerals. The remains of the deceased take seniority and alone receive compliments during a funeral:
    1. members shall wear headdress and pay respects by saluting when passing the casket at a vigil;
    2. formed military groups shall be halted and turned to face a passing funeral procession and the officer or member in charge will salute the deceased while passing. Individual compliments shall be paid in a similar fashion;
    3. individuals and formed military groups bearing arms shall salute a passing funeral procession by presenting arms;
    4. salutes, as above, shall be accorded the casket during interments; and
    5. at the end of a Service funeral, the officiating chaplain will proceed to the foot of the grave to pay his/her respects. Service members should then proceed to the foot of the grave, in order of seniority, to pay individual respects by saluting. When numbers warrant, members may approach in small informal groups.
  2. Memorial Services and Funerals. Compliments to the dead shall be paid during the sounding of the calls “Last Post” and “Rouse” when they are used in memorial services and funerals. Compliments will commence on the first note and terminate on the last of each call when sounded.
  3. Courtesy Salutes. The following applies:
    1. foreign officers shall be saluted in the same manner as Canadian officers unless the circumstances clearly dictate otherwise; and
    2. service members may express their respect for individual civilians by using a salute as a formal means of greeting or farewell.
  4. Anthems and Salutes When the Royal Anthem, Royal Salute, Vice-Regal Salute, National Anthem (see A-AD-200-000/AG-000 The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces) or the national anthem of a foreign country is played, all shall stand and:
    1. all ranks who are not part of a formed military group shall salute. The salute shall commence with the playing of the first note of music and shall be cut away at the end of the last note;
    2. formed military groups shall be called to attention and all officers or the person in charge shall salute; formed military groups bearing arms shall present arms;
    3. on defence establishments, all vehicles within hearing distance shall be stopped and the occupants shall dismount and pay compliments; and
    4. anthems are not sung when played as part of a salute, or on a parade other than a church parade (remembrance or commemorative service/ceremony). If ordered to sing on a drumhead or remembrance ceremony, the parade will be brought to attention and all will join in the singing of the National Anthem; officers do not salute.
  1. National Flag. When the National Flag is hoisted or lowered at defence establishments, all ranks in or out of uniform within view shall face the flagpole or mast, stand at attention and pay compliments as follows:
    1. all who are not part of a formed military group shall salute;
    2. unarmed military groups shall be halted facing the flagpole and the officer or non-commissioned member in charge of the group shall salute;
    3. armed parties shall present arms; and
    4. motor vehicles in view shall be stopped and the occupants shall dismount and pay compliments.
  2. Parades. Canadian Armed Forces members who are spectators at a parade shall:
    1. stand at the arrival and departure of a reviewing officer or dignitary. When troops on parade are armed, the signal to stand at the arrival shall be the parade commander’s order to SHOULDER – ARMS. At the departure, all ranks will remain standing after the last Royal/General Salute until the reviewing officer or dignitary leaves the parade area;
    2. salute when uncased Colours pass directly in front of them. Guns are the Colours of formed artillery units and will be treated as such when they roll past in review on formal ceremonial parades; and
    3. salute during the playing of National Anthems and Royal Salutes; and stand at attention during the playing of the General Salute.
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