About National Flag of Canada etiquette

Flags are thought to have first been used as a method of designating a rallying point for troops in battle. Today, they are used as a symbolic identification for countries, groups and organizations, both nationally and internationally.

The National Flag of Canada and the flags of the provinces and territories are symbols of honour and pride for all Canadians. They should be treated with respect.

The manner in which flags may be displayed in Canada is not governed by legislation but rather by established practice. The etiquette outlined in this section is an adaptation of international usage and of customs that the federal government has been observing for many years.

The rules applied by the federal government are in no way mandatory for individuals or organizations; they may serve as guidelines for all persons who wish to display the National Flag of Canada and other flags in Canada.

Various authorities regulate the use of flags at the federal level in Canada. The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for establishing the protocol and guidelines for the use of the National Flag of Canada across all federal buildings, properties and institutions, both in Canada and abroad. The Directorate of History and Heritage of the Canadian Armed Forces regulates the use of military flags and emblems.

The creation and registration of official heraldic emblems, including flags, for Canadian individuals, municipalities and institutions falls under the purview of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which is part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

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