Rules for Flying Historical Flags in Canada

These rules outline the circumstances and order of precedence for flying historical flags in Canada and in Canadian environments abroad.

Definition

Historical flags are those that were used in the past by the Government of Canada or its colonial predecessors in New France and British North America to indicate jurisdiction, authority or ownership of property, or for use by armed forces on land, sea and air including those originating with metropolitan powers governing the colonies which eventually became Canada.

Application

The National Flag will always be flown on its own pole and may never be replaced by a historical flag. When historical flags are flown, the National Flag will also be flown.

Historical flags will be flown lower than and away from the National Flag. The top edge of the historical flags should never be flown higher than the lower edge of the National Flag. The distance separating the two poles will vary depending on the site but must, as with the height, emphasize the primacy of the National Flag.

For details on how to fly historical flags along with the National Flag of Canada, see the Historical Flag Policy.

Circumstances for flying historical flags

Today, there are many occasions or circumstances where historical flags could be displayed. Historical flags could be flown at a location where an historic event is commemorated or they could appear during a reenactment. They can be permanent or temporary installations; they can be carried, if appropriate.

Order of the flags – within a year, era or period of time

If more than one historical flag is to be flown, the flags should be grouped according to the year, era or period of time they were active.  For the specified year, era or period of time, the order of precedence is:

  1. The flag that represented the Government of Canada or its colonial predecessors in New France and British North America;
  2. The flags of other sovereign nations in alphabetical order (if applicable) from the period;
  3. The flags of the provinces of Canada (in the order in which they joined Confederation) from the period, if applicable;
  4. The flags of the territories of Canada (in the order in which they joined Confederation), from the period, if applicable;
  5. The flags of municipalities/cities from the period;
  6. The flags of military units from the period;
  7. The flags of organizations from the period.