Heritage Structure | Chapter 11– Military forms of address

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Chapter 11 [PDF, 119 KB]

GENERAL POLICY

  1. This chapter:
    1. amplifies the National Defence Act, Section 21 (current to January 30, 2018), and Queen's Regulations and Orders (QR&O), Article 3.01;
    2. prescribes the correct forms of address for members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and establishes the standard for use by CAF members, but
    3. does not preclude the local use of terms or titles based on traditional establishment appointments, e.g., gunner, sergeant-major.
  2. In general, CAF members may be addressed by either:
    1. Rank and surname;
    2. Rank;
    3. Appointment (including parade appointments); or
    4. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, or Sir/ Ma'am as applicable.

ROYAL AND VICE-REGAL PERSONAGES

  1. Official correspondence for The Queen's attention shall be forwarded to the office of the Chief of the Defence Staff for appropriate staffing, except branch or regimental correspondence to Her Majesty as Captain-General or Colonel-in-Chief. (See CFAO 3-4). Customarily, letters are not addressed directly to The Queen. They are to be addressed to Her Private Secretary asking that the subject of the letter be placed before Her Majesty.
  2. Correspondence to other members of the Royal Family follows a similar protocol.
  3. In conversation, royal personages are to be initially addressed as "Your Majesty" or "Your Royal Highness", as the case may be, and thereafter as Ma'am or Sir.
  4. Governors General bear the title "Right Honourable" for life. In formal correspondence, the Governor General is addressed as His/Her Excellency the Right Honourable (full name) and postnominals and his/her spouse is addressed as "His/Her Excellency (full name) and postnominals", in the mailing address, as the case may be, while in office. In written salutation, the Governor General is addressed as Excellency and his/her spouse is addressed as Excellency or Dear Mr./Mrs. (name). In conversation, the Governor General and his/her spouse are initially addressed as "Your Excellency or Excellency" and thereafter as Madam or Sir.
  5. Lieutenant Governors bear the title "Honourable" for life. In formal correspondence, the Lieutenant Governors are addressed as His/Her Honour the Honourable (full name) Lieutenant Governor of (Province) and their spouses are addressed as "His/Her Honour (full name), in the mailing address, as the case may be, while in office. In written salutation, the Lieutenant Governors are addressed as Your Honour or My dear Lieutenant Governor and their spouses are addressed as Your Honour or Dear Mr./Mrs. (name). In conversation, the Lieutenant Governors and their spouses are initially addressed as "Your Honour" and thereafter as Madam or Sir or Mrs./Mr. (name).
  6. Where a Royal or vice-regal personage holds a military appointment, formal correspondence from the organization concerned may include that appointment. See also paragraph 17.

FORMAL ADDRESS

  1. In formal address, either written or spoken, the correct form of address shall be as follows:
    1. Officers shall be addressed:
      1. by officers of higher or equal rank, by rank and surname, or by appointment;
      2. on parade, or when in keeping with authorized environmental or branch usage:
        1. by officers of higher rank or higher parade appointment, by rank and surname, or by appointment; and
        2. by officers of equal rank but lower parade appointment by Sir or Ma’am as applicable; and
      3. by all other officers and non-commissioned members, by rank and surname, or by Sir or Ma’am as applicable.
    2. Chief Petty Officers 1st Class and Chief Warrant Officers shall be addressed by all ranks:
      1. by rank, rank and surname, or by appointment; or
      2. for army and air force chief warrant officers:
        1. by officers and ranking peers, as Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms, as appropriate, followed by surname; and
        2. by lower ranks, as Sir or Ma’am as appropriate.
      3. Other non-commissioned members shall be addressed – by all ranks, by rank, rank and surname, or by appointment.

INFORMAL ADDRESS

  1. Normally, short forms of address (see Annex A) are limited to informal speech and in the salutation of informal correspondence.
  2. Nothing in this order prohibits the continued use of given names in a social setting within the bounds of normal etiquette and traditional military discipline.

FORMAL PERSONAL ADDRESS (Not applicable in English)

  1. The formal “vous” in French, just like forms of address, is an integral part of military etiquette. Use of the formal “vous” and all of its forms is required in the following contexts:
    1. military correspondence;
    2. when a service member verbally addresses a higher-ranking service member;
    3. when a service member verbally addresses a lower-ranking service member.

USE OF NAVAL RANK

  1. When the naval rank of captain and lieutenant is used in a signature, a typed signature or address block, or in any formal usage, it shall be followed by the letter (N) to indicate that it is a naval rank.

RETIRED MEMBERS

  1. A member, including one who holds honorary rank, who was honorably released after having served in the CAF for not less than 10 years, may be addressed orally by the rank held at the time of release. In correspondence, the word "Retired" or its abbreviated "Ret'd" will always be used after the name and post-nominals (if used) as stipulated in QR&O, Article 15.09.

MEMBERS OF FOREIGN FORCES

  1. Foreign rank and appointment titles may be used in either their original form or translated into Canadian English or French depending on their circumstances and the need for clarity. Foreign titles in these two languages are not further transliterated, but remain unchanged – e.g., Brigadier, Squadron Leader, or Master Sergeant in English; capitaine de frégate, commandant or sergent-chef in French.

MILITARY TITLES

  1. Military titles take precedence over civil ones.
  2. In spoken address, the military title is used alone, except for formal introductions and announcements, i.e.:
    1. normally – Colonel Dundas,
    2. in formal introduction – Colonel The Honourable Barbara Dundas.
  3. CAF members working in a foreign country should familiarize themselves with local social customs.

POST-NOMINALS AND CIVIL ACADEMICS

  1. Post-nominals are sets of letters that are displayed after one’s name to denote certain honours, appointments, qualifications, or fellowships. Post-nominals are listed according to a specific order. In the case of foreign honours awarded to CAF members, only appointments to Commonwealth orders carry the right to use post-nominals. Foreigners who use post-nominals should have the use of their titles respected.
  2. DND’s policy is to omit periods in post-nominals; therefore, all outgoing correspondence, official documents and business cards should display the post-nominals without periods. There is no provision in the regulations to denote multiple awards of decorations and therefore having one or several bars does not affect the post-nominal.
  3. DND’s practice is to include only post-nominals related to honours from the Crown and royal appointments; others (such as civil, academic, religious distinctions, and fellowships) are omitted except when the post-nominal denotes a qualification directly pertinent to the correspondence (e.g. medical degree in medical advice documents).
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