Meritorious Service Medal (MSM)

The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM).

Meritorious Service Medal (MSM)


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. For more information on the Civil Division of the Meritorious Service Decorations.

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 6 June 1991, the Meritorious Service Medal (military division) recognizes a military deed or activity that has been performed in a highly professional manner or of a very high standard that brings benefit or honour to the Canadian Forces.


The medal is a circular silver medal, 36mm in diameter, ensigned with the royal crown..

  • on the obverse: a representation of the Meritorious Service Cross.
  • on the reverse: The Royal Cypher is in the centre, within a double circle are the words "MERITORIOUS SERVICE MERITORIE" with a maple leaf at the bottom separating the words "MERITORIOUS" and "MERITOIRE".

A ring suspension is attached to the top of the Crown.

The ribbon for the military division is 32mm in width with two white stripes 6 mm wide, having a 1mm stripe of blue in its center, centred on the outer third of each side of the ribbon.

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

Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) Silver Bar


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


The Medal 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 Medal of Bravery and before the Royal Victorian Medal.

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 Medal is denoted by the wearing of a small silver maple leaf device on the undress ribbon.


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

Historical notes

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

The recipients details are engraved on the rim of the Medal and the date appears in the top part of the reverse.

As of 1 June 2012, there have been 1,092 awards (801 military and 291 civilians) of the Medal 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 Medal, please consult the The Meritorious Service Medal 1991-2016 [PDF, 5 MB] publication that was published to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the creation of this distinction by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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