Creating and changing an applied title

An applied title is the official name of a department that is used in communications with the public. It identifies:

  • a department’s function or responsibility
  • a department as an institution of the Government of Canada

An applied title is mandatory under the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity.

An applied title is different from a department’s legal title. Legal titles are:

  • established through enabling legislation or by order-in-council
  • used where required by law, for example, in the terms of a contract

The Registry of Applied Titles is the official list of applied titles, abbreviations and legal titles of departments.

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Process for creating or changing applied titles

When a new department is created or a department’s name is changed, the applied title must be approved by the minister of the department and the President of the Treasury Board. It must also be registered before it is used.

When changing a title, departments should:

  • consider the costs involved
  • determine how to minimize costs, waste and duplication

Before preparing official correspondence to obtain a minister’s approval to create or change a title, departments should consult with the Communications and Federal Identity Policy Centre. The following steps should then be completed:

  1. The department creates an English and French applied title for the departmental signature that will be used in communications with the public.
  2. The applied title:
    • must incorporate the word “Canada” or appear with the words “Government of Canada”
    • must exist in each official language
    • must use language correctly
    • must not contain an acronym, abbreviation or ampersand (&)
  3. The minister responsible sends a letter to the President of the Treasury Board for approval of the applied title (see sample letter accessible only on the Government of Canada network).
  4. The President of the Treasury Board and the minister responsible agree in writing to the proposed applied title and, if it is a change in title, refer to an implementation method that will minimize costs, waste and duplication.
  5. Once the title is approved, the Communications and Federal Identity Policy Centre:
    • adds the applied title to the Registry of Applied Titles
    • creates the digital master files of the departmental signature

What to do if a department has no registered applied title

When a department is new or is changing its name, it must use the Government of Canada signature until its new applied title is registered.

Applied titles for departmental branches or programs

Departments may propose an applied title that:

  • identifies a specific program, branch or area of government that is not a separate legal entity
  • will appear without the name of the parent department

In all cases, the process to create an applied title outlined above applies.

Service titles

Service titles are names that identify an organizational unit, program or service. A service title appears underneath the applied title of the parent department in the corporate signature. It is at departments’ discretion to create service titles.

Criteria for service titles

Service titles:

  • must describe the function and not repeat words or concepts used in the applied title of the parent organization
  • must use language correctly in both official languages
  • must not contain an acronym, abbreviation or ampersand (&)
  • must be approved by the department’s head of communications
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