Military honours

Canadian military honours contain 3 elements: a guard of honour, a musical salute and a gun salute. Honours and salutes vary according to the dignitaries being honoured, more specifically as to the strength of a guard of honour, the musical tune being played, and the number of rounds fired.

Gun salutes have been fired for many centuries, as a gesture of friendship and to honour certain dignitaries. Firing a gun salute is also a way to mark festive occasions such as inaugurations, coronations, national anniversaries, and jubilees.

Dignitaries such as heads of state, The Sovereign’s representatives in Canada, members of reigning royal families, heads of government, ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Canada, and ministers of National Defence are entitled to honours and salutes. While there are standard practices in place for certain roles entitled to military salutes, these honours are ultimately given at the discretion of the Canadian Armed Forces.

For additional information on Canadian military salutes, as well as the current Canadian practice of honours and salutes and when they are accorded, please refer to the Heritage Structure of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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