You have cleaned out the closet, watched everything on Netflix, called all your old friends multiple times and are now looking to do something useful that contributes to the greater good during COVID-19 but do not think you can get involved in mass producing face masks, hand sanitizer or another community minded project?

Well how about nominating a volunteer?

We all know people that are doing good in our community every day. Generally, people give them a thumbs up and say good job, and that is payment enough for anyone who goes above and beyond for the volunteer work that they do. But what if you could do more to recognize that special someone? There are likely dozens of people in your community that you can name just off the top of your head that go above and beyond all the time. Sometimes we can’t imagine that person not doing whatever they are volunteering with. We see some of these people out and about just chipping in for the common good and we are never surprised to see them. But handshakes and back slaps aside, there is a better way. There are plenty of good people who should have their names submitted for all sorts of reasons. But the easiest one to submit for is for the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

What is the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers? It is a medal that recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, created in 1995, by then-Governor General the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc. The Medal builds on the legacy and spirit of the Caring Canadian Award by honouring the dedication and commitment of volunteers.

Who is eligible to be recognized? Any living person who is a Canadian citizen and who has made significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community in Canada or abroad is eligible. Candidates must have demonstrated an exemplary commitment through their dedicated volunteerism. The Medal for Volunteers is awarded to individuals only, not to groups or couples. There are no posthumous awards.

Is the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers a national honour? It is an official Canadian honour created by the Crown and as such, is part of the Canadian Honours System. It is listed within the Canadian order of precedence for orders, decorations and medals, but does not confer post-nominals upon its recipients.

What makes the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers different from other volunteer awards? It is an official Canadian honour and the only one for volunteerism given by the Governor General of Canada. Thousands of deserving Canadians have been honoured through these programs, reaching the full diversity of volunteerism in our country.

Other awards exist in Canada recognizing volunteerism in various ways. Volunteers lie at the heart of our communities, and it is appropriate that their extraordinary contributions be fully recognized. So how does the nomination process work?

Anyone can nominate a caring volunteer by submitting an online nomination in a few simple steps. The Chancellery of Honours, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the program and receives all nominations. Each one is carefully researched and then reviewed by an independent advisory committee, which makes recommendations to the governor general. The selection process, which may take up to one year, is non-partisan and merit based. Nominators are asked not to notify the candidate about the nomination or initiate a letter-writing campaign. This avoids disappointment if the nomination is not successful. The Chancellery of Honours will keep nominations confidential. As part of this commitment, the Chancellery will respond to inquiries about the status of a nomination only to the nominator identified on the nomination form. Please also note that the information provided online is secure and will not be shared with third parties.

How can I nominate someone? To nominate, complete the online nomination form with the following information:

1) Contact information for you and your candidate. Includes phone and /or email address (if applicable) and year of birth (to avoid duplication)

2) A short description of your candidate’s voluntary contributions. The description should provide details about the type of volunteer work accomplished, the names of any organizations involved, the dates and length of service, the candidate’s paid occupation and the impact their work has had on the community. Supporting documents help a lot.

3) The contact information for two references who support the nomination and can describe the significant, sustained and unpaid volunteer work accomplished by the candidate.

4) If you represent an organization, can you also submit a nomination? Organizations are welcome to nominate exceptional volunteers as candidates for this honour.

5) If you would like to submit the names of multiple volunteers from your organization, please contact the program manager at You may qualify to become a trusted
partner of the program.

Is there a deadline to submit nominations? There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted throughout the year on an on-going basis. When is the Medal presented? Presentation ceremonies are held throughout the year, in communities across Canada. The Chancellery of Honours makes every effort to arrange a presentation ceremony within two calendar years of the date of the award. Medals will be sent by mail on occasions when a ceremony cannot be held, or the recipient is not able to attend (or does not wish to attend) a ceremony.

What do recipients receive? The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers may be presented by the Governor General or by Lieutenant Governors, territorial commissioners, mayors, members of the Order of Canada, other prominent Canadians or partner organizations. The Medal is accompanied by a lapel pin for everyday wear and a certificate. Recipients will be contacted by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General with details about their presentation.

What is the role of the Advisory Committee? The independent Medal for Volunteers Advisory Committee reviews and assesses nominations and recommends worthy candidates to receive the medal. It is made up of representatives from across the country who have significant experience in the community and volunteerism sectors. Members of the Advisory Committee are appointed by the Governor General.

Let’s start recognizing some of the great people in our community! Instead of just a thumbs up, back slap or a thank you, let’s make it official! If you are not computer savvy and don’t want deal with the paperwork, either email me at: or call me at 204-617-0369 and I’ll do the paperwork for you. Just remember that I will require the contact information, details of the person and reason listed above to submit.


Ralph McLean, Candidate for The Pas-Kameesak