Meritorious Service Cross (MSC)

The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Meritorious Service Cross (MSC).

Meritorious Service Cross (MSC)


This Honour is administered by the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. The nomination process for the military division, however, is administered by the Department of National Defence.

Military nominations shall be processed through the chain of command in accordance with A-AD-200-000/AG-000 - Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces.

Eligibility and criteria

Created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 11 June 1984, the Meritorious Service Cross (military division) recognizes a military deed or activity that has been performed in an outstandingly professional manner, according to a rare high standard that brings considerable benefit or great honour to the Canadian Forces.


The insignia is a silver Greek cross, 38mm across, with the ends of the convex arms splayed. It is ensigned with the Royal Crown which forms part of the ribbon mounting. Between the arms of the cross is a laurel wreath.

On the obverse: In the centre of the obverse is a maple leaf.

On the reverse: The arms of the cross extend beyond two concentric circles which form the middle of the of the cross. The Royal Cypher appears in the innermost circle, with the words “MERITORIOUS SERVICE MERITOIRE” between the inner and outer circles. The words “MERITORIOUS” and “MERITOIRE” are separated by a maple leaf at the bottom.

A straight (slotted) silver bar, through which the ribbon passes, is attached to the top point of the crown.

The ribbon for the military division is 32 mm wide, blue with two white stripes (6 mm wide), centred on the outer third of each side of the ribbon.

The bar is a silver bar with a maple leaf in the centre.


A bar is awarded for further activities that would have warranted award of the Cross.


The Cross shall be worn in sequence prescribed in the Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals Directive, and in the following manner:

  • on the left breast, suspended from the ribbon described above, after the Star of Courage and before the Medal of Military Valour.
  • the bar is worn centred on the ribbon; if multiple bars have been awarded, they shall be evenly spaced on the ribbon

The award of a bar to the Cross is denoted by the wearing of a small silver maple leaf device on the undress ribbon.


A recipient is entitled to use the letters "MSC".

Historical notes

The names of the recipients are published in the Canada Gazette.

The recipients details are engraved on the reverse of the suspension bar and the date is on the reverse of the top arm of the Cross.

As of 1 June 2012, there have been 282 awards (250 military and 32 civilians) of the Cross since its institution in 1984 (note that the civilian division was only created in 1991).

The insignia was designed by Captain Bruce Wilbur Beatty, CM, SOM, CD (Retired).


For more information on the history of the Meritorious Service Cross, please consult The Meritorious Service Cross 1984-2014 [PDF - 7.1MB] publication that was published to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the creation of this decoration by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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