Heritage Structure | Section 4 – The National Flag

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  1. ChBy Order in council P.C. 1965-253, the National Flag of Canada (see Figure 4-4-1), commonly called the Canadian Flag, became the country’s official flag on 15 February 1965. Its colours, red and white, are the colours of Canada, and the maple leaf is a traditional Canadian emblem. The use of any other flag, including the Red Ensign, by the CF is not authorized.

Figure 4-4-1 The National Flag of Canada


  1. The National Flag shall:
    1. be flown or displayed within Canada in a superior position to all other flags, banners or pennants, with the exception of the Queen’s Personal Canadian Flag, the Governor General’s Flag and standards of members of the Royal Family as detailed in Chapter 14, Section 2;
    2. be flown on the main flagpole at all defence establishments inside and outside Canada; and
    3. be worn at the ensign staff by Her Majesty's Canadian ships in commission as the Ship's Ensign (see Section 3).
  2. In addition, at defence establishments:
    1. on Canadian territory jointly occupied by foreign and Canadian military forces or at foreign bases located in Canada under a long-term lease, the National Flag shall be flown with the national flag of the country concerned, with the National Flag taking precedence;
    2. on foreign territory occupied by Canadian Forces (CF), the national flag of the host country shall be flown, when appropriate, with the National Flag, with the National Flag taking precedence; and
    3. on foreign territory jointly occupied by Canadian and foreign military forces, the National Flag shall be flown in accordance with local regulations and customs.
  3. The National Flag may be displayed in:
    1. the office of:
      1. a major-general or officer of higher rank at National Defence Headquarters,
      2. the commander of a command, area, formation, base, wing, region or military college,
      3. the commanding officer of an independent overseas establishment,
      4. a CF attaché,
      5. a recruiting unit or detachment, and
      6. a CF Liaison Officer;
    2. a chapel; and
    3. a mess.
  4. A miniature National Flag is used as a distinguishing flag for the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence on vehicles and aircraft in which they may be travelling.
  5. The National Flag may be carried on ceremonial parades as noted in Section 2, paragraphs 34 to 40.
  6. During courts martial, the National Flag shall be mounted on a staff and placed behind the president.


  1. No flag, banner or pennant shall be flown or displayed above the National Flag, with the exception of those flags and standards detailed in paragraph 2a. (See also Chapter 14, Section 2.)
  2. The National Flag shall not be used as a cover for a box, table, desk, podium or other object, carried flat or horizontally - it should always be aloft and free, nor shall it be draped except on a closed casket. (See Section 2, paragraph 17 and Annex B.)


  1. When the National Flag is being hoisted or lowered at a defence establishment, all military personnel within view shall halt, face the flagstaff and pay compliments as prescribed in A-PD-201-000/PT-000, CF Manual of Drill and Ceremonial.
  2. When carried on parade in lieu of consecrated Colours, the National Flag shall be saluted as for such Colours.
  3. The National Flag shall not be dipped or lowered as a means of paying a salute or compliment. (A National Flag worn as a Ship's Ensign shall return courtesy salutes. See Section 3, paragraph 9.)

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