Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) program?

The MSD (Civil Division) program recognizes individuals who have performed an exceptional deed or activity over a limited period of time. These individuals are being recognized for bringing honour to their community or to Canada.

This activity or deed is often innovative, sets an example or model for others to follow, or improves the quality of life in a community. It may benefit local, provincial, national, or international populations.

There are two levels of decorations: a cross and a medal. The different levels reflect the scope and impact of the activity or deed. The MSD (Civil Division) is one of the highest distinctions an individual can receive.

Who is eligible to be recognized?

Any person whose accomplishments or activities have, over a limited period of time, demonstrated an outstanding level of service or set an example through their achievements can be recognized.

Who are some of the past recipients? What did they accomplish?

Meritorious Service Decorations are given to recognize contributions in any field, from advocacy initiatives and health care services to research and humanitarian efforts.

Past recipients have tackled poverty in their community, improved education opportunities for children in Canada and abroad, or raised awareness of important causes and issues. Recent recipients include Colonel Chris Hadfield (Ret’d), Clara Hughes, Colette Roy Laroche, Sarah Burke and Thérèse Tanguay Dion.

Please visit Find a Recipient to search the full list of past recipients.

How does the nomination process work?

Nominations can be made here. They will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by the MSD (Civil Division) Advisory Committee, which will then make recommendations to the Governor General.

All nominations are kept confidential to respect privacy and to avoid disappointment if the nominee is not selected. Nominators and others involved in the process are asked to respect this policy.

What is the deadline for submitting a nomination?

Nominations may be submitted at any time throughout the year.

What information is required to submit a nomination?

To submit a nomination, please provide the following information via the online nomination form:

  1. The name and address of the individual being nominated, as well as your own contact information, for correspondence purposes.
  2. An outline of the reasons for the nomination, describing the candidate’s specific deed or activity as well as the scope and impact of the nominee’s work.
  3. The names and contact information of three (3) references that could support the nomination and maintain confidentiality.

Can the MSD (Civil Division) be awarded posthumously?

Yes, the MSD (Civil Division) may be awarded posthumously.

When were the decorations created?

The civilian decorations were created in 1991 as the counterpart to the Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division), which were established in 1984.

Does the honour entitle the recipient to use post-nominal letters?

A recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross is entitled to use the post-nominal letters "M.S.C." while a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal is entitled to use the letters "M.S.M.".

What is the difference between the military and civil divisions of the Meritorious Service Decorations?

The Military Division recognizes members of the Canadian Armed Forces, both regular and reserve, as well as visiting forces, for a military deed or activity. The Civil Division is open to all Canadians and non-Canadians, and recognizes deeds or activities that occur beyond the military sphere.

Do you have a question about MSD?

Contact us at or call toll-free 1-800-465-6890.