Polar Medal

The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Polar Medal.

Polar Medal


This honour is administered by the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall.

Eligibility and criteria

The Polar Medal is awarded to persons who render extraordinary services in the polar regions and Canada’s North, who have contributed to or endeavoured to promote a greater understanding of Canada’s Northern Communities and its people, and who make significant contributions to polar exploration, knowledge, scientific research, and the securement of Canada’s Northern Sovereignty.

Service that is recognized by other honours cannot be taken into account for the Polar Medal. This means the eligibility of CAF members for the Special Service Medal with ALERT bar and the Special Service Medal with RANGER bar remain unaffected by the new medal.


The use of a post-nominal is not authorized for this medal.

Historical notes

On 23 June 2015, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, CC, CMM, COM, CD, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced the creation of the Polar Medal by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On 8 July 2015, His Excellency presided over the inaugural presentation ceremony of the medal at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History in Whitehorse, Yukon. During the ceremony, the Governor General presented 10 medals, including one to a CAF member: Second Lieutenant Dorothy Tootoo.

The Polar Medal replaces the Governor General’s Northern Medal.

Major Carl Gauthier of the Directorate of Honours and Recognition designed the medal and the Canadian Heraldic Authority completed the final artwork. The medal is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Page details

Date modified: