12-03 – Civic Recognition

Cadet Administrative and Training Orders (CATOs)

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1. This order describes the policy with respect to presentation of various Civic Recognitions (CR) to units of the Canadian Cadet Organizations (CCO) and is effective on receipt.


2. The Director Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers (D Cdts & JCR) is responsible for setting the policy on CR ceremonies for the CCO.


3. CR is a highly prestigious honour bestowed around the world to esteemed citizens or organizations for their superior involvement in community service or to recognize significant achievements. It is known under different names, including Freedom of the City, Key to the City, Honour Roll, Merit List, etc.

4. For the purpose of this document, the expression “the unit” will be used to identify the cadet corps, the cadet squadron or the CSTC.


5. The decision to grant this symbolic honour rests entirely with the municipal authorities. Since it is a municipal honour, cadet units shall not request that it be granted. The initiative shall always originate from the municipality.

6. Over the years, this honour has been bestowed on many individuals and groups from all walks of life in Canada, including military units, universities, politicians, athletes and artists, scientists and authors. Among them, many cadet units and CSTCs.

7. The ceremony surrounding the granting of CR varies whether the honour is bestowed upon a civilian or military recipient. Ceremonies for private citizens or civilian organizations are usually performed inside City Hall and do not necessarily include a parade. On the other hand, the Freedom of the City granted to a military unit traditionally includes the authority to march in the municipality with “drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed” and it includes a parade.

8. Cadet units are civilian organisations and they do not possess colours. However, and because of its historical affiliation with the Canadian Forces and its traditions, a parade may be included in the ceremony.


9.  Being granted CR means to be accepted into a very select group of community members. This is a privilege not to be taken lightly. It carries the obligation to continue acting as outstanding members of the community.

10. Normally, a scroll will be presented to the recipient, formalizing the decision to award CR. The municipality may decide to replace the scroll with a plaque or with the reading of a municipal declaration. For the purpose of this document, the expression “Scroll” will be used to identify the document that will be read by the Mayor.

11. Municipal authorities can not grant permission for cadet units to parade with weapons. Only the RCSU can provide this authority. For that reason, the wording on the scroll presented by the municipality, during the ceremony, will read as follows: “with drums beating, flags flying and pride in their steps”. This needs to be clarified during the planning process with city officials.

12. Some municipalities may also add other privileges to the honour, such as awarding free parking, free use of facilities, invitation to community events, etc. These privileges are optional and at the discretion of the municipality.

13. The municipality can also take advantage of this opportunity to officially present its flag to the cadet unit thus granting explicit permission to parade the official city flag. Unless officially authorized to do so, cadet units should not be parading the city flag.

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Use of Weapons

14. Given the very specific nature of this civilian ceremony, cadet units must request approval from their RCSU to include weapons and bayonets in the parade. If the RCSU approves, the unit should then approach the municipal authorities and verify that they are interested in having cadets parade with weapons. It should not be taken for granted that municipal authorities will automatically approve the public use of weapons by teenagers.

The Ceremony 

15. The ceremony has to be coordinated with city officials to define specific preparative and ceremonial actions.

16. The ceremony does not need to include a parade in city streets. It can take place entirely inside City Hall or another venue chosen by the municipality. The practice of parading in the streets to City Hall is still highly encouraged as it provides cadets with an opportunity to take an active part in a rarely seen public display of pride and unity. It also allows citizens to recognize their own cadets within their own community.

17. See Annex A for guidelines pertaining to the ceremonial aspect. It is understood that these guidelines might be modified to fit the specifics of a city, the availability of resources, etc.

Canadian Forces Units

18. Cadets are not authorized to parade in Freedom of the City ceremonies bestowed upon units of the Canadian Forces (CF). Cadets are not members of their affiliated unit or other units of the CF and there must be no doubt to that effect in the mind of those witnessing the ceremony either as spectators along the parade route, or at City Hall. All the attention must be left to the unit being honoured.

19. Privileges awarded to units of the CF are not awarded automatically to their affiliated units.

Exercising civic recognition

20. A cadet unit may exercise its CR as arranged with municipal authorities.

21. For example, it may be exercised for special occasions such as significant cadet unit anniversaries, significant city anniversary, retirement of long-serving mayor, to honour city officials for their exceptional support of the cadet unit over a long period of time, etc.

22. The cadet unit CO must communicate with City Hall to express the desire to exercise its CR. Arrangements must be made with municipal officials to secure a date, the participation of a police escort, the presence of city officials, etc.

23. The procedure is the same as that for granting the CR. The difference lies in that the cadet unit will march to the city hall carrying its flag or in the absence of the latter, the elemental flag/banner. It would also be appropriate to parade the city flag if the cadet unit is authorized to do it.


24. As soon as they have been informed that they are to receive the honour, the cadet units shall forward the following information to the RCSU:

  1. the name of the unit;
  2. the name of the city; and
  3. the date of the ceremony (if known).

25. The RCSU shall forward the information by email to D Cdts & JCR. The RCSU will also inform the Provincial Branch of the appropriate League who will inform its national office.

26. Once the cadet unit has received the honour, it shall forward a copy of the scroll to its RCSU. The Corps CO will input that distinction in the unit's Fortress file.


Annex A

Civic Recognition Ceremony

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