Chapter 8 – Canadian Forces Commission Scripts and Scrolls
- The Commission Script is a formal and unique document that provides all commissioned officers with tangible evidence of a commission in the Canadian Forces (CF) granted by the Sovereign and the GC. Chief Warrant Officers/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class receive a (warrant) scroll recognizing them for their accomplishments and acknowledging them for achieving the highest level of rank for a non-commissioned member.
- The more specific terms commissioning parchment or commissioning scroll are often used to avoid ambiguity, due to "commission" being a homonym which directs the individual in carrying out their duty regardless of what authority or responsibility they may have at any time. However the document is not usually in the form of a scroll and is more often printed on paper instead of parchment. In Canada, there is a differentiation in terminology according to rank; officers and chaplains are accorded commissioning scripts whereas Chief Warrant Officers, general officers, flag officers, and honorary appointments are accorded scrolls.
- The script includes the signature of the GG on behalf of Her Majesty, as well as her privy seal, and the signature of the Minister of National Defence on behalf of the government. In the absence of a GG, the serving Administrator - the Chief Justice of Canada - will sign.
- Chief Warrant Officer/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Scrolls only require the signature of the Minister of National Defence and seal of the DND.
- The issuing of a Commission Script or Chief Warrant Officer/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Scroll is part of the history and traditions of the CF and forms an important thread within the fabric of the military.
Control and handling
- In order to control handling and distribution, DH&R 4-5-1 is the administrative cell within DH&R which records, processes, and regulates all CF Scripts and Scrolls through the use of archiving, inspecting, and record keeping. There are seven types of scripts/scrolls which are currently produced, they are:
- Commissioning Scripts (Second Lieutenant/ Acting Sub-Lieutenant);
- Chaplain Commissioning Scripts;
- General Officer / Flag Officer Scrolls;
- Chief Warrant Officer/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Scrolls;
- Chaplain General Scrolls;
- Honorary Appointments to the Queen Scrolls;
- Honorary Appointment Scrolls.
- Commissioning Scripts. Any individual who is granted a commission into the CF, with the exception of chaplains, will receive the commission script. It is signed by the GG and the Minister of National Defence. The only ranks to appear on this script are that of Second Lieutenant or Acting Sub-Lieutenant. The document is imprinted with the GG’s Privy Seal.
- Chaplain Scroll. Issued to all chaplains upon completion of their training. It is signed by the GG and the Minister of National Defence with the imprint of the GG’s Privy Seal.
- General Officer / Flag Officer Scrolls. Issued to officers who achieve the rank of Brigadier General or Commodore. It is signed by the GG and the Minister of National Defence with the imprint of the GG’s Privy Seal.
- Chief Warrant Officer/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Scrolls. Issued to Chief Warrant Officers/Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (only). It is signed by the Minister of National Defence with the seal of the DND affixed over the signature.
- Chaplain General Scrolls. Issued to the General of Chaplains. It is signed by the GG and the Minister of National Defence with the imprint of the GG’s Privy Seal.
- Honorary Appointments to the Queen Scrolls. This is an honorary military position conferred on serving or retired officers of the CF or on certain distinguished civilians. The appointments are held for a specified period and include the Honorary Physician to the Queen (QHP) (vacant), the Honorary Surgeon to the Queen (QHS) (Surgeon General), Honorary Nursing Officer to the Queen (QHNO) (Chief of Nursing Services), Honorary Dental Surgeon to the Queen (QHDS) (Director of Dental Services), and Honorary Chaplain to the Queen (QHC) (Chaplain General). It is signed by the GG and the Minister of National Defence with the imprint of the GG’s Privy Seal.
- Honorary Appointment Scrolls. Issued to retired members of the military or civilians who have been chosen through a rigorous selection process administered by the Directorate of Senior Appointments to hold an honorary appointment in the CF. It is signed by the GG's and Minister of National Defence with the imprint of the GG’s Privy Seal.
Script text history
- The wording found on the CF Commissioning script has a very long and almost unaltered history; it first appeared in granted commissions dating back to 1649 under the English Parliament of the Commonwealth. Before Confederation in 1867, Canadians joining the military would be commissioned within the British Empire.
- The script's main header changed after Canada became a sovereign nation. On 1 February 1968, the CF unified the ranks to a common system and naval ranks ceased to appear on commission scripts until a reversal routine order was signed on 30 August 1983 by the CDS according to the recommendations from the "Review group on the report of the task force on unification of the CF".
- The next change occurred on 17 November 1988 when the National Defence Act (NDA) came in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The word "men" within the text was removed and replaced with "non-commissioned members" to reflect the growing number of women in the CF.
- All types of scripts and scrolls shall bear the CF member’s full legal given names, last name, and post- nominals at the time the award is fixed, in accordance with Chapter 1, paragraph 70. The rank being granted shall appear within the text of the script or scroll.
- Scrolls for honorary appointments shall not include the former rank of a retired CF member.
- Any changes to the text, for all scripts and scrolls, must be approved by the Judge Advocate General (JAG) to legitimize its legality as an official document and seek approval of The Sovereign.
- Once an individual becomes eligible for a script or scroll, an application (Form DND 2378 or 2379) is submitted by the administering unit. It is imperative that the unit verify information entered onto the application, using source documents in the member’s Personnel File. DND 2379 CWO/CPO1 Scroll application forms are sent to NDHQ / CMP / DSA CWO Coord as they are the OPI for eligibility. They verify the information and in turn, forward the request to DH&R.
- The application is received by DH&R via mail, e-mail or fax in accordance with Chapter 1, paragraph 64. Applications are then vetted for errors or discrepancies. Once verification is complete, the individual’s application is processed through the Script/Scroll Database, where it is logged-in and printed. After printing, each Script/ Scroll is inspected for flaws or discrepancies. Appointments are then made with the administrative staffs of the Minister of National Defence, the Office of the Secretary to the GG (OSGG), the Chancellery of Honours, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to collect signatures and add the related seal. Once complete, the script/scroll is ready to be mailed out along with DND 728 and Commission Script Receipt forms. It takes approximately 25 working days to produce and mail out a completed script / scroll.
- Size and quality of the paper in use has changed often over the past decades from a linen back parchment to regular paper. The current configuration has the following characteristics: All types of scripts and scrolls are of the same size which was chosen because of its availability in the marketplace; it is a standard A3 Imperial Service Order (ISO) measuring 16-1/2 x 11-3/4 inches. Thickness is 24 lbs paper with an off-white antique bond colour to make it look more official and aged. The inking is currently created by laser printer five-colour system for clarity and print quality.
- The Commission Script is limited to a one-time issue and therefore, a second script cannot be issued under any circumstances. The written commission, when signed by the GG, becomes a legal document vesting in the individual all the powers of a commissioned officer prescribed in regulations (refer to CFAO 18-30 - Officer's Commission Scripts and Chief Warrant Officers’ Scrolls).
- In the case of an administrative error such as an incorrect spelling of a name or order of names, a corrected (Reprint) script or scroll will be issued. The request must be made to DH&R 4-5-1 within one year of the original issue. If a change of GG or MND has occurred during that year it will not be possible to issue a corrected script bearing the original signatures. A "Replacement" script could then be provided attesting to the previous issue of an original script or scroll, including the names of the GG and MND in office at the time of original issue. Such a replacement script is signed and dated by the Director - Honours and Recognition.
- In situations where a member loses his/her original script or scroll due to fire, flood or theft, a "duplicate" can be created. The applicant must complete and submit a Form DND 2378/2379 along with a Statutory Declaration Form for further review by DH&R. Regardless of when the original was created and whom it was signed by, and whether or not they are still in office, all Duplicate copies will only attest to the previous issue of an original script or scroll, including the names of the GG and MND in office at the time of original issue. Duplicate copies are signed and dated by the Director - Honours and Recognition.
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