Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a short list of frequently asked questions about the various aspects of protocol. We hope you find them helpful.


If you can't find the answer to your question, please contact us.

Honours, post-nominals

What is a post-nominal?

Post-nominals are letters placed after the name of an individual to indicate a position, office or honour.  An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters.  Honours are listed first in descending order of precedence, followed by degrees and memberships of learned societies in ascending order.

For more information on post-nominals and the order of precedence of honours, contact the Governor General of Canada.

What is the Order of Manitoba?

Established in 1999, the Order is the highest honour in the Province of Manitoba.  It recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour, benefiting in an outstanding manner the social, cultural or economic well being of Manitoba and its residents.  Any Canadian citizen who is a current citizen of the province, or was a long-time resident of Manitoba, can be nominated for membership in the Order, except Members of Parliament, Senators, Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and Judges of any court, while they are in office.  Posthumous nominations are not accepted, except where a nominee dies after being recommended by the Council.  Only individuals may be nominated, not couples, groups or organizations.

For more information on the Order of Manitoba, contact the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Nominations can be made online.

What is the Order of the Buffalo Hunt?

The Order of the Buffalo Hunt was first established in 1957 to recognize individuals who have made a distinctive contribution to the life of Manitoba.  The levels of certificate of membership and of appointment as an Officer of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt are:

The appointment of members and officers of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt is at the discretion of the President of the Executive Council (i.e., the Premier).  To nominate an individual for the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, send a brief biographical sketch setting out the accomplishments of the nominee to:

The Clerk of the Executive Council
Room 215 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 0V8

Congratulatory Messages

How do I get a congratulatory letter sent for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary?

You can request a congratulatory message be sent for someone's birthday, anniversary or other special event online.


Can we fly two or three different flags on the same pole?

The manner in which flags may be displayed in Canada is not governed by any legislation but by established practice.  However, the federal government has developed guidelines based on international and Canadian custom.  The rules applied by the federal government are in no way mandatory for individuals or organizations; they may serve as guidelines for all persons who wish to display the Canadian Flag and other flags in Canada. For additional information, please consult Canadian Heritage's flag etiquette in Canada site.

Based on these guidelines, the answer to the specific questions is "No."  Flags of two nations should not be simultaneously flown from the same pole as this normally represents domination or defeat of the lowermost by the uppermost.  This is used in wartime to indicate the capture of an enemy ship.

How do I position three flags together?

When only three flags are displayed, the National Flag should be at the centre.  To an observer facing the display, the second-ranking flag (in order of precedence) is placed to the left of centre, and the other to the right.  All flags should be of the same size and flown at the same height.

A common combination of flags is that of the National Flag of Canada with a provincial flag, and a municipal flag or an organization's banner.  In such a case, the National Flag should be in the centre with the provincial flag to the left and the municipal flag or organization's banner to the right (to an observer facing the display).

When and why are Manitoba flags lowered to half-mast?  Are there any occasions for which flags are automatically half-masted?

The federal government and the provinces have established policies regarding half-masting.  This practice is not mandatory for individuals or organizations, but it reflects long-standing customs internationally and in Canada.  It dictates that flags across the country are automatically half-masted upon the death of an immediate member of the Royal Family and a current or former Governor General or Prime Minister.

Flags in respective provinces are half-masted upon the death of a current or former Lieutenant-Governor or Premier and may also be half-masted upon the death of a person honoured by the province.

The Province of Manitoba also flies the flags at the Legislative Building at half-mast (upon notification of a death until sunset on the day of the funeral) for fallen soldiers who were born or raised in Manitoba or who were based in Manitoba prior to deployment overseas.

Other days upon which Manitoba flags are automatically half-masted are:

  • April 28, Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace
  • Last Sunday in September, Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day
  • September 30, Day for Truth and Reconciliation
  • November 11, Remembrance Day
  • December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

More information on half-masting of the flag is available from Canadian Heritage.

Visits by Dignitaries

How are visits by foreign dignitaries arranged?

A formal, written request by the foreign Embassy or High Commission in Canada is sent to the Chief of Protocol suggesting dates for the visit, names of individuals with whom the dignitary would like to meet and the purpose of the visit (i.e., the specific topics to be discussed).  Protocol then determines availability and works with the foreign diplomatic office to arrange the official itinerary.

Special Events, Ceremonies and Dinners

If both the Canadian national anthem and the national anthem of a foreign country were being played at an event (in Manitoba), which one would be played first?

Traditionally, as a courtesy, the foreign anthem is played first.

Who speaks first when a number of dignitaries are present at an event?

To determine the speaking order at an event a variety of tools can be used.  One of those is the Order of Precedence - the established order of people for official functions and events.  Although the basic order has been long established, the Order of Precedence evolves over time to incorporate the recognition of more diverse groups in our society.

Speeches are usually given in ascending order, with the most important dignitary (according to the order of precedence established) being the last to speak.  If the program for the ceremony or activity places the important moment at the very beginning, the speeches would then be given in descending order, with the most important dignitary being the first to speak.

I'd like to include a toast to The King in the official dinner I am planning.  When and how should this take place?

After dessert and coffee have been served, the host rises and asks for the audience's attention so that they may join in a toast to The King.  Once the guests have risen, the host raises his/her glass and simply says: "The King / Le Roi" without any other word or music.  The audience responds to the toast by repeating: "The King / Le Roi", drinks the toast and sits.  Members of the Royal Family do not respond to toasts.  The Loyal Toast (i.e. the toast to The King) is always the first one to be proposed.  Any beverage may be used for the toast, except cocktails; wine or water are preferred.

Manitoba Symbols

Can I use the Manitoba Government bison logo or the Coat of Arms on my dinner invitation?  How do I get copies?

You need permission to use the Manitoba Government logo or other provincial symbols and emblems.  Please contact Communications Services Manitoba, Visual Identity Office at 204-945-3765.

The Monarchy

Where can I send a letter to The King?

His Majesty The King
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
United Kingdom

How often has The Queen visited Manitoba?

Her Majesty The Queen has visited Manitoba five times.  Please see the complete list of Manitoba's Royal Visits.

Heraldry, Coat of Arms

Where can I get information on the Coat of Arms?

The Canadian Heraldic Authority in the office of the Governor General of Canada is responsible for the creation of a new coat of arms, flags and badges for Canadian citizens and corporate bodies.  Find out more about: heraldry, how armorial bearings are designed and granted, and see examples of the work of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Canadian Embassies and Consulates

How do I contact Canadian embassies and consulates overseas?

Refer to the consular services section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

How do I contact foreign embassies and consulates in Manitoba?

Refer to the honorary consulates section on our site.