Rescinded [2016-05-11] - Federal Identity Program Policy

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1. Effective date

This policy takes effect on October 1, 1990.

2. Policy objective

The objectives of the Federal Identity Program (FIP) are:

  • to enable the public to recognize clearly federal activities by means of consistent identification;
  • to improve service to the public by facilitating access to federal programs and services;
  • to project equality of status of the two official languages consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Official Languages Act;
  • to ensure effective management of the federal identity consistent with government-wide priorities, and to achieve savings through standardization;
  • to promote good management practices in the field of corporate identity and information design.

3. Policy statement

Federal institutions, programs, services and contributions shall be identified in accordance with corporate identity standards for the Government of Canada.

The equality of status of the two official languages shall be projected when applying these corporate identity standards.

4. Application

This policy applies to all institutions named in Schedules I, II, and III to the Financial Administration Act and all branches designated as departments for purposes of the Act, unless the institution has been specifically exempted from FIP. (See Appendix B, Application schedules, for the institutions subject to FIP policy and those that are exempt. The appendix also contains exemption criteria.)

5. Policy requirements

1) Corporate management

Institutions must:

  • manage their corporate identity within the framework of the policy and in accordance with the design standards of FIP; and
  • identify their activities clearly and consistently in accordance with their communications strategy.

2) Corporate symbols

The consistent application of corporate symbols helps to project the Government of Canada as a coherent, unified administration. One of two corporate symbols must be used in the signature that identifies an individual or an institution: the Coat of Arms or the flag symbol.

The "Canada" wordmark, which is the global corporate symbol of the government, must be used in association with the appropriate signature.

The Government of Canada's identity is to have primacy over the identity of individual institutions and is not to be overshadowed by unique identifiers and symbols.

3) Corporate signatures

Corporate signatures, which consist of a symbol and a bilingual title, are established as follows:

  • The Coat of Arms must be used to identify: ministers and their offices; parliamentary secretaries; institutions whose heads report directly to Parliament; as well as institutions with quasi-judicial functions (their use of the Coat of Arms instead of the flag symbol requires authorization by the Minister responsible and the agreement of the President of the Treasury Board).
  • The flag symbol must be used to identify all departments, agencies, corporations, commissions, boards, councils, as well as any other federal body and activity (unless they are authorized to use the Coat of Arms).

The flag symbol, which replaced the bar and maple leaf symbol in 1987, is being implemented gradually. Institutions that have not yet completed the conversion must implement the flag symbol when:

  • designing or acquiring a new item;
  • current stocks of material are replenished or replaced; or
  • existing material or equipment is refurbished.

4) Adoption and use of titles

Institutions must adopt an approved title (referred to as applied title) for their corporate signature, and use this title consistently when identifying the institution, except when they are required to use the legal title. The approved titles are listed in Appendix C, Titles of federal organizations.

5) Creation of titles

Institutions must apply certain criteria when establishing a new applied title or modifying an existing one, and register the title by seeking the agreement of both the minister responsible and the President of the Treasury Board. The criteria for creating an applied title include that it must:

  • incorporate the word Canada or appear with the words Government of Canada, where appropriate;
  • have versions in each official language;
  • conform to acceptable linguistic usage in each official language; and
  • not contain an acronym, abbreviation or ampersand (&).

6) Fields of application

Institutions must ensure that an appropriate corporate signature and the "Canada" wordmark are applied wherever an activity of the federal government is to be made known in Canada and abroad. This means the identification of products, material, equipment and real property. The fields of application include: stationery, forms, motor vehicles, signage, advertising, published material, audio-visual productions, expositions and personnel identification as well as electronic services, including all Government of Canada Internet/Intranet sites, products and deliverables.

Institutions must clearly identify real property occupied by organizational units that provide services directly to the public, and ensure that the signs make it easier to find these services.

For programs that the Government of Canada undertakes with another level of government or a private institution, corporate identity requirements are as follows:

  • Government of Canada identity requirements are to be part of collaborative arrangements with the private sector and other governments or jurisdictions to ensure strong presence and visibility for the Government of Canada and its programs and services to Canadians.

7) Design standards

Key applications of FIP are subject to design standards. Institutions must conform to these technical standards when implementing this policy. They are set out in the Federal Identity Program Manual issued by Treasury Board.

8) Using other symbols

Only the corporate symbols of FIP may be applied on the following standard applications: letterheads, notepaper, calling cards, complimentary cards, primary identification signs, directory boards and operational signs. Any other symbol intended to be used government-wide is subject to prior approval by the Treasury Board. Upon approval, it may be used as appropriate except for the standard applications referred to above.

9) Official languages

Institutions must:

  • present the two official languages with equal prominence, i.e. in exactly the same colours and with identical style, size, and weight of type;
  • present the official languages in all corporate signatures in a side by side bilingual format, with the order of the languages in accordance with the standards in Appendix A; and
  • use the mandatory bilingual formats in accordance with the standards in Appendix A.

6. Monitoring

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) will monitor compliance with this policy through reports available from central information systems, internal audits and liaison with institutions. Upon request, institutions will provide implementation plans or progress reports to the TBS. Internal audit groups should include in their audit of corporate identity applications an assessment of the extent of compliance with this policy and FIP design standards.

7. References

8. Enquiries

All enquiries should be directed to institution headquarters (i.e. the head of communications or the official languages director and senior managers responsible for the administration of the official languages program of the institution concerned).

For questions on this policy instrument, please contact:

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Telephone: 613-957-2400
Toll free: 1-877-636-0656
TTY: 613-957-9090

Appendix A - Official Languages

Note: This appendix will be subject to detailed review after Regulations pursuant to the 1988 Official Languages Act are issued.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides for the equality of status of English and French as Canada's official languages, and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all the institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada. The Official Languages Act extends the legal framework to ensure respect for their equality. To implement these statutory requirements, the following policy has been adopted.

1. Visual equality

It is the policy of the government to project itself as an institution in which English and French enjoy equal status in all respects. Therefore, the two official languages shall be presented with equal prominence, i.e. in exactly the same colours and with identical style, size and weight of type.

To project visual equality, the official languages shall appear in a side by side bilingual format in all signatures.

2. Order of the official languages

The order of the official languages in the signature is determined by the type of application and by certain factors, such as location, language of the medium, or distribution. These are set out in articles 2.1 to 2.4.

2.1 Items for which the location determines the order of the official languages in the signature

Within Canada, the order of the official languages in the signature on stationery is determined by the official language of the majority of the population of the province or territory in which the issuing federal office is located. Thus, French appears to the left in Quebec, and English to the left in the other provinces and the territories. However, each Minister may decide whether English should be placed to the left of French or vice versa in the signature on ministerial stationery. The term "stationery" includes items such as letterheads, envelopes, notepaper, complimentary slips and cards, and calling cards (see also article 2.3).

Within Canada, when the item is physically located or based in a province or territory (e.g. a sign or a vehicle) or is intended for use solely in, or pertains principally to, that province or territory, the official language of the majority of the population in the province or territory shall be placed to the left of the other official language.

Canadian offices located abroad shall use both English and French in their signature. Of these, the language placed to the left shall correspond to the one used by the Secretariat of the United Nations in communicating with the country concerned.

2.2 Items for which the language of the medium determines the order of the official languages in the signature

When a signature is used in a unilingual English or French medium (e.g. a newspaper or separate but equal unilingual versions of government publications printed in both official languages), the official language of the medium determines the order of precedence of the official languages in the signature. Thus, French will appear to the left of English in the signature in unilingual French media and English to the left of French in unilingual English media.

2.3 Items for which the individual determines the order of the official languages in the signature

Such items include calling cards, complimentary slips and cards. The person whose name is to be printed on these items may decide on the order in which the official languages will appear in the signature and hence in the text.

2.4 Order of the official languages on items for national use, when the languages are presented side by side

As a general rule, the order of the official languages in the signature and text shall be English to the left of French on material intended for national use and distribution. Notwithstanding this general rule, material for national use and distribution may also be produced in two versions (i.e. English/French and French/English) when the volume or range of distribution would warrant the printing of two versions.

Material for national use and distribution may also be produced with French to the left of English when the nature of the material or the specific public for which it is intended would make the use of this format more appropriate.

3. Formats and applications

Set out here are the conditions under which the two official languages shall be used, either together or separately, in the various applications of the FIP. In general, one of two methods is used:

  • side by side (or recto-verso) bilingual format; or
  • separate versions in each language.

The rules on the use of these formats, which apply regardless of location in Canada, are set out below.

3.1 Side by side format mandatory

Items listed below shall be produced by presenting both official languages in a side by side format (except where noted):

  • stationery;
  • calling cards (individuals have the option of using a side by side or recto-verso format);
  • primary identification signs;
  • directory boards;
  • common-use and operational signs (an over and under format is permitted in cases where horizontal space is inadequate);
  • project signs;
  • commemorative plaques (the side by side format applies to all plaques produced after March 1982);
  • markings that identify motor vehicles, aircraft and watercraft;
  • personnel identification (an over and under format is permitted in cases where horizontal space is inadequate).

Note: When presenting the two official languages in an over and under format, the language that would appear to the left in the side by side format shall appear above the other language. The order of precedence for the side by side format is set out in articles 2.1 to 2.4.

3.2 Bilingual format mandatory

Outdoor and transit advertisements shall be produced by presenting both official languages in a bilingual format. With respect to the presentation of the two official languages, it is optional to use the side by side format or another format. (N.B. See the note under article 3.1.)

Any departure from the bilingual format requires the approval of the appropriate Minister, following consultation with the President of the Treasury Board.

3.3 Use of bilingual or separate, unilingual versions

Items referred to below shall be produced in both English and French wherever the Official Languages Act requires federal institutions to provide communications and services to the public in both official languages. However, a federal institution has a choice between a bilingual version or separate but equal versions in each language when producing items such as forms, brochures, publications, posters, exhibits, and audio-visual productions.

With the exception of outdoor and transit advertisements (see article 3.2), the use of separate versions in each language would normally apply to all other forms of advertising, i.e. print advertising, paid announcements, and television and radio advertising.

The need to communicate effectively with the public, as well as certain requirements under the Official Languages Act for the use of the media in either language, will have a bearing on which media are selected for a given purpose.

Where printed material (e.g. brochures, forms and publications) is produced in separate but equal unilingual versions or in a bilingual, recto-verso format, the material presenting one official language shall state that the same material is available in the other official language. Therefore, words such as version française disponible or français au verso should be displayed, as applicable.

4. Style and usage

Aside from respecting the visual equality of English and French, it is also essential to ensure equal linguistic quality in the usage of the two languages. When implementing FIP policy, it is important to use either language according to its own style and usage and not to confuse the conventions of each. Inaccuracies can be most conspicuous because the two languages are presented side by side in many applications of the FIP.

Section 1.2 "Message", of the FIP Manual sets out certain rules on style and usage as well as other requirements with respect to the use of building, street and geographical names. These shall be observed when developing an appropriate version of a message in either official language.

5. Other languages

There are cases where a language other than English and French may be required for certain government communications. Any use of a third language should be consonant with the communication policy of the federal institution concerned.

In the corporate signature, no language other than English and French may be used. When a message needs to be communicated in another language, the requirements of government policy with respect to the use of the official languages shall nevertheless be met.

Appendix B - Application Schedules

1. Introduction

Listed here are the institutions subject to the Federal Identity Program (FIP) and those that are exempt or excluded from it. The lists were compiled from the schedules to the Financial Administration Act.

For purposes of the FIP, the term "institution" includes certain organizational entities or programs which have adopted a corporate signature without the title of the parent department.

The following schedules are organized according to the corporate symbol used in the signature of the institution.

2. Institutions identified by the Coat of Arms

  • Appeal Board, Hazardous Materials Information Review Act
  • Canadian International Trade Tribunal
  • Civil Aviation Tribunal of Canada
  • Competition Tribunal
  • Copyright Board Canada
  • External Affairs and International Trade Canada (note 1)
  • Human Rights Tribunal
  • National Energy Board
  • National Transportation Agency of Canada
  • Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
  • Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs
  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Office of the Umpire, Unemployment Insurance Act
  • Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioners
  • Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada
  • Procurement Review Board of Canada
  • RCMP External Review Committee
  • RCMP Public Complaints Commission
  • Security Intelligence Review Committee
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Note 1: Generally identified by the flag symbol, the department applies the Coat of Arms to stationery for formal correspondence with other governments and to identify official premises abroad.

3. Institutions identified by the flag symbol

  • Agricultural Stabilization Board
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Atlantic Development Council Canada
  • Atlantic Pilotage Authority Canada
  • Atomic Energy Control Board
  • Bureau of Pensions Advocates Canada
  • Canada Centre for Inland Waters
  • Canada Communication Group
  • Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Canada Employment and Immigration Advisory Council
  • Canada Harbour Place Corporation
  • Canada Museums Construction Corporation Inc.
  • Canada Oil and Gas Lands Administration
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • Canadian Dairy Commission
  • Canadian Grain Commission
  • Canadian Multiculturalism Council
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Pension Commission
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Canadian War Museum
  • Cape Breton Development Corporation (Government of Canada)
  • Communications Canada
  • Consulting and Audit Canada
  • Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada
  • Contracts Settlement Board (Supply and Services Canada)
  • Correctional Investigator Canada, The
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Defence Construction Canada
  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Department of Justice Canada
  • Department of the Secretary of State of Canada
  • Emergency Preparedness Canada
  • Energy Supplies Allocation Board
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Farm Credit Corporation Canada
  • Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office
  • Federal-Provincial Relations Office (Government of Canada)
  • Fire Commissioner of Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans (Government of Canada)
  • Fisheries and Oceans Research Advisory Council (Government of Canada)
  • Fisheries Prices Support Board Canada
  • Fitness and Amateur Sport (Government of Canada)
  • Foreign Claims Commission (Government of Canada)
  • Goods and Services Tax, Consumer Information Office (Government of Canada)
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Grain Transportation Agency
  • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority Canada
  • Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
  • Immigration and Refugee Board
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Investment Canada
  • Labour Canada
  • Laurentian Pilotage Authority Canada
  • Law Reform Commission of Canada
  • Livestock Feed Board of Canada
  • Medical Research Council of Canada
  • Merchant Seamen Compensation Board Canada
  • National Advisory Council on Aging (Government of Canada)
  • National Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sport
  • National Archives of Canada
  • National Aviation Museum
  • National Battlefields Commission (Government of Canada), The
  • National Council of Welfare (Government of Canada)
  • National Defence
  • National Farm Products Marketing Council
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • National Library of Canada
  • National Museum of Science and Technology
  • National Parole Board (Government of Canada)
  • National Research Council Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Northern Pipeline Agency Canada
  • Office of Privatization and Regulatory Affairs of Canada
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada
  • Pacific Pilotage Authority Canada
  • Passport Office
  • Patent Appeal Board Canada
  • Petroleum Monitoring Agency Canada
  • Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (Agriculture Canada)
  • Privy Council Office (Government of Canada)
  • Public Service Commission of Canada
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Queen Elizabeth II Canadian Research Fund (Government of Canada)
  • Reference Canada
  • Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise
  • Revenue Canada, Taxation
  • Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (Government of Canada)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Solicitor General Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Status of Women Canada
  • Statute Revision Commission Canada
  • Supply and Services Canada
  • Tourism Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat
  • Treasury Board of Canada, Comptroller General
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Veterans Appeal Board Canada
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada

4. Institutions not subject to the Federal Identity Program

Except where noted, the following institutions are exempt from FIP policy because of Cabinet approval or are excluded because of their legal status.

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
  • Bank of Canada
  • Canada Council
  • Canada Development Investment Corporation (note 1)
  • Canada Labour Relations Board
  • Canada Lands Company Limited (note 1)
  • Canada Lands Company (Le Vieux-Port de Montréal) Limited (note 1)
  • Canada Lands Company (Vieux-Port de Québec) Inc. (note 1)
  • Canada Lands Company (Mirabel) Limited
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Canada Ports Corporation
  • Canada Post Corporation
  • Canadian Forces
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Canadian Centre for Management Development
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • Canadian Commercial Corporation
  • Canadian General Standards Board
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat
  • Canadian National Railway Company
  • Canadian Patents and Development Limited
  • Canadian Saltfish Corporation
  • Canadian Wheat Board, The
  • CORCAN (industrial work program of Correctional Service Canada)
  • Economic Council of Canada (note 1)
  • Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation
  • Export Development Corporation
  • Federal Business Development Bank
  • Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation
  • Halifax Port Corporation
  • Harbourfront Corporation (note 1)
  • House of Commons
  • International Centre for Ocean Development
  • Judiciary, The (all courts established by an Act of Parliament)
  • Language Training Canada (component of the Public Service Commission of Canada)
  • Marine Atlantic Inc. (note 1)
  • Montreal Port Corporation
  • National Arts Centre Corporation
  • National Capital Commission
  • National Film Board
  • National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
  • Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
  • Petro-Canada
  • Port of Quebec Corporation
  • Prince Rupert Port Corporation
  • Public Service Staff Relations Board
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Saint John Port Corporation
  • Science Council of Canada
  • Senate, The
  • Standards Council of Canada
  • St. John's Port Corporation
  • St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, The
  • Vancouver Port Corporation
  • VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Note 1: The status with respect to FIP has not been clarified.

5. Exemption criteria

The Cabinet has directed that institutions that meet one or more of the following criteria may be exempted from FIP policy:

  1. institutions which are engaged in commercial activity or are in competition with private enterprise;
  2. international institutions in which the nature of international collaboration is such that a Canadian national symbol would be inappropriate;
  3. institutions in which another government provides substantial executive participation (i.e. where there is joint financing and shared authority);
  4. institutions in which voluntary organizations or citizens provide substantial participation and financial contribution (i.e. a cooperative or a private company in which the federal government has a financial interest).

A minister may request from the President of the Treasury Board exemption for an institution that meets these criteria. If the two ministers are unable to reach agreement, the minister requesting the exemption may refer the matter to the Cabinet.

Federal institutions exempted from using FIP corporate symbols are nevertheless obliged to conform to those elements of the FIP policy that derive from federal official languages policies or law.

Appendix C - Registry of Applied Titles

Registry of Applied Titles


1. Roles and responsibilities

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) provides functional leadership for the government's corporate identity, and is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Federal Identity Program (FIP). Each institution manages its own corporate identity within the framework of the government-wide policy and standards. Federal institutions are identified as organizations of the Government of Canada rather than as separate, independent entities.

The Government Communications Policy (see Chapter 1) establishes corporate identity management as an integral part of the communications function. That policy sets out the deputy head's responsibilities, which include corporate identity. The senior official designated by the deputy head and referred to as head of communications assumes responsibility to manage the institution's corporate identity in accordance with FIP policy and standards.

2. Corporate management

Corporate identity is linked to corporate strategy. Managing it requires a clear understanding of an institution's corporate structure, its goals, and communications objectives. Although corporate identity focuses on communications with the public and delivering government services, it applies within each institution as well. Its scope depends on the institution's mandate, the nature of its publics, the operating requirements, and the degree of decentralization.

Managing involves selecting a name, adopting a signature, and implementing the corporate identity. The responsibilities of the corporate identity manager are as follows:

  • to ensure clear and consistent identification of the institution's activities;
  • to ensure corporate identity is applied as an integral part of the institution's communications strategy;
  • to assist in achieving clear and effective visual communications when applying corporate identity;
  • to maintain the quality and integrity of the corporate identity.

3. Corporate symbols

The government's corporate symbols help to distinguish the executive arm from the legislature and the judiciary. The application of these symbols under the FIP is as follows.

3.1 Coat of Arms

Also referred to as the Arms of Canada, the Coat of Arms is the identifying symbol of the Parliament of Canada and all courts established by an act of Parliament.

Regarding FIP policy, the Coat of Arms is used:

  • in signatures that identify ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and their offices;
  • in signatures that identify institutions whose heads report directly to Parliament;
  • in signatures that identify institutions which have a quasi-judicial function;
  • by the Department of External Affairs on stationery for formal correspondence with other governments and to identify official premises abroad; and
  • by all commissions established under the Inquiries Act.

Government institutions may use the Coat of Arms for purposes other than identification, e.g. as a design element on items such as certificates.

3.2 Flag symbol

The flag of Canada, modified slightly for purposes of the FIP, is referred to as the "flag symbol". When applied under this policy, the flag symbol appears with a bilingual title identifying a federal department, agency, corporation, commission, board, council, other federal body or activity (unless the organization is authorized to use the Coat of Arms).

3.2.1 Status of the bar and maple leaf symbol. Introduced in 1970, this symbol, also referred to as the "federal emblem", was replaced in 1987 by the flag symbol. During conversion, both symbols will be in use.

3.3 "Canada" wordmark

The wordmark serves as the global identifier of the government and is the dominant corporate symbol of FIP. The wordmark appears always in association with the corporate signature of a federal institution.

3.3.1 Other uses. Although the use of the "Canada" wordmark is controlled and generally restricted to applications under this policy, other uses can include the following:

  • by federal institutions exempted from FIP;
  • on special items that leave the control of the government (e.g. give-aways), provided that such use is selective and does not seem to alter the wordmark's meaning and status;
  • by a company or organization that is not part of the federal government, provided the federal institution concerned first consults the TBS before authorizing (in writing) the use of the wordmark outside the government.

Whether used within or outside government, the "Canada" wordmark should be used only in a manner that conforms to good taste and where the standards for its application are carefully controlled.

3.4 Legal protection

The government's corporate symbols are protected under the Trade Marks Act. Details regarding their adoption and use are set out below.

3.4.1 Coat of Arms. Public notice of the adoption and use of the Arms of Canada as an official mark used by the Government of Canada for wares and services, was given under Section 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Trade Marks Act in the Trade Marks Journal, April 13, 1955. Enquiries should be directed to the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada.

3.4.2 Flag of Canada. Public notice about the national flag of Canada was given under Section 9(1)(e) of the Trade Marks Act in the Trade Marks Journal, April 14, 1965. Enquiries should be directed to the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada.

Public notice of the adoption and use of the flag of Canada with the title "Government of Canada" or the title of a government institution was given under Section 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Trade Marks Act in the Trade Marks Journal, September 30, 1987 and December 23, 1987. Enquiries should be directed to the TBS.

3.4.3 Federal emblem. Public notice of the adoption and use of the federal emblem as an official mark used by the Government of Canada for wares and services, was given under Section 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Trade Marks Act in the Trade Marks Journal, April 7, 1976. Enquiries should be directed to TBS.

3.4.4 "Canada" wordmark. Public notice of the adoption and use of the "Canada" wordmark as an official mark used by the Government of Canada, was given under Section 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Trade Marks Act in the Trade Marks Journal, August 25, 1982. Enquiries should be directed to TBS.

4. Corporate signatures

Government activities are identified by signatures which consist of an approved bilingual title and incorporate (as appropriate) the Coat of Arms or the flag symbol. All corporate signatures are subject to the design standards set out in the FIP manual.

4.1 "Government of Canada" signature

This universal signature is used to identify items intended for use throughout the government; activities involving two or more federal institutions; and facilities occupied by two or more federal institutions.

4.2 Variants of the corporate signature

If required, the signature of an institution may include the title of an individual (i.e. deputy minister, assistant deputy minister, or positions of equivalent status) or a service title (i.e. the name of an organizational unit, program or service).

5. Adoption and use of titles

This policy requires institutions subject to FIP to adopt an approved title for use in their corporate signature. Referred to as applied titles, these names have a dual purpose: to express the function or nature of the institution to the public, and to identify it as an institution of the Government of Canada.

Institutions may also adopt an applied title to identify an organization, program or service without the name of the parent institution, e.g. Correctional Service Canada (which comes within the responsibility of the Solicitor General of Canada but is not identified with the department). In all cases, the applied title is subject to the criteria and approvals set out in the policy.

5.1 Titles for new institutions

The criteria for creating an applied title should be considered when establishing any new government institution. Legislation or Orders in Council establishing an institution should therefore refer to a title that meets the criteria of FIP policy, thereby eliminating the need to distinguish between legal and applied titles. Advice on creating titles and using them in corporate signatures is available from the Administrative Policy Branch, TBS.

5.2 Criteria for an applied title

The mandatory aspects are set out in policy requirement 6. In addition, an applied title should:

  • be as brief as possible to assist effective communication;
  • begin with a key word that describes, or is associated with, the institution's function;
  • be unambiguous and capable of legal protection; and
  • incorporate the preposition of before the word Canada if this provides euphony.
5.3 Approval process

The adoption of an applied title requires the agreement of the minister responsible and the President of the Treasury Board. If the ministers do not agree, the minister responsible for the institution concerned refers the matter to the Cabinet.

Upon approval, the applied title and its abbreviation are registered in the policy. The TBS maintains, and issues periodically, an updated version of Appendix C, Titles of federal organizations.

5.4 Use of applied titles

Besides its use in the corporate signature, the applied title should be used consistently to identify an institution in all communications, except when the legal title has to be used.

Applied titles will not replace the legal titles which may be required for contracts or federal-provincial agreements. However, even on such documents, it may be appropriate for the signature to appear on the document as the principal identifying element. In these cases, the legal title is normally referred to in the text, while the applied title appears in the signature.

Applied titles will not replace the legal titles required on documents for legal proceedings (e.g. affidavits).

When preparing lists of organizations (e.g. telephone or building directories), the applied titles should be used.

5.5 Abbreviation of the applied title

If required, the proposal for a new title should also include an appropriate abbreviation in each official language. The criteria for establishing an abbreviation include that it:

  • should be based on the applied title, where feasible;
  • may not duplicate an abbreviation (pertaining to the same language) which had already been registered by the TBS;
  • should be based on the initial letters of the title, whenever possible, or on a syllable of the keyword (in the latter case, the use of upper and lower case letters is preferred, e.g. Agr, Fin, or Jus);
  • should not consist of more than six letters; and
  • should be acceptable to the institution concerned, subject to the above criteria.
5.6 Use of abbreviations

To ensure consistent communications, the authorized abbreviations should be used whenever possible. Exceptions are applications where different abbreviations or codes are in use and where a changeover to the authorized abbreviations would not be feasible (e.g. government data systems, applications requiring an abbreviation consistent with the legal title).

6. Fields of application

This policy requires the use of a corporate signature and the "Canada" wordmark whenever an activity of the federal government is to be made known in Canada and abroad. The fields of application depend on an institution's mandate, its operating requirements, and the nature of its programs and services. Although primarily concerned with external communications, the corporate identity applies also to communications with employees. The fields of application are:

  • stationery (letterheads, envelopes, notepaper, calling cards, complimentary cards);
  • forms;
  • markings for motor vehicles, aircraft, and vessels;
  • signage (advance signs, primary identification signs, directory boards, common-use and operational signs, project signs);
  • advertising (print advertising, television and radio advertising, outdoor and transit advertising, paid announcements);
  • published material (news releases, bulletins, brochures, periodicals, books, booklets, leaflets, invitations, posters, public notices, display cards, kit folders, loose-leaf binders, electronic data, microfilms, microfiches);
  • audio-visual productions and expositions (motion picture films, videotapes, videodiscs, sound-slide presentations, displays and exhibits);
  • personnel identification (insignia, badges, name tags, identification cards, hard hats);
  • certificates, awards, commemorative plaques;
  • packaging and labelling; and
  • identification of equipment such as all-terrain vehicles, small watercraft, construction and maintenance equipment, and railway hopper cars.

7. Design standards

Certain key applications of FIP are subject to design standards that prescribe elements such as size, layout, colour and typography. These technical standards are set out in the Federal Identity Program Manual and apply to:

  • stationery items (letterheads and envelopes, notepaper, calling cards and complimentary cards);
  • the FIP signage system (primary identification signs, directory boards, common-use and operational signs, and project signs); and
  • markings for motor vehicles.

All other fields of application of the FIP are subject to the general rules on the use of symbols, signatures and colours, but the design is at the discretion of the institution concerned. The FIP manual provides guidance.

8. Using other symbols

As stated in this policy, symbols other than the government's corporate symbols are not permitted on standard applications of FIP. Nevertheless, a minister may propose, for government-wide use, a symbol that promotes a major program or event sponsored or supported by the Government of Canada. When approved by the President of the Treasury Board, such a symbol may be applied to items such as envelopes, published material, or advertisements. (A typical example would be a symbol emanating from the United Nations and dedicating a year to a particular cause.)

A government institution that considers using a symbol to promote a special event, anniversary, or program, should ensure that the institution's corporate identity management function controls its application and that the symbol does not conflict with the corporate symbols. This principle applies whether or not the symbol originates within or outside the government.

9. Definitions

the act of applying FIP design standards or general rules to an object (e.g. a sign, a vehicle).
Applied title:
the approved name used in the signature to identify an institution, program or activity. (See also legal title, service title.)
Common-use sign:
any sign with a message related to the facility itself. This type of sign remains valid regardless of changes in the facility's occupants, e.g. a directory board, a sign relating to fire safety, signs identifying rooms. (See also operational sign.)
Design standard:
the approved rules on the use of design elements outlined in the FIP policy. They prescribe elements such as shape, size, layout, colour, typography, and use of symbols.
Field of application:
the gamut of items that bear the identifying elements of FIP, e.g. stationery, vehicles, signs.
FIP signage:
primary identification signs; common-use signs; operational signs; and project signs. (Excluded are signs subject to a regulation which specifies their design.)
Legal title:
the name that appears in the enabling legislation (act), proclamation, order in council, or other instrument used to create a branch of government. (See also applied title.)
Operational sign:
any sign with a message related solely to the operational needs and hence the responsibility, of the occupant institution. This type of sign is normally located within the space the institution occupies. (See also common-use sign.)
Primary identification sign:
the first sign that identifies a federal facility and bears the signature and the wordmark.
Project sign:
a sign that provides information about federal programs or projects, e.g. public works, employment programs, housing.
Service title:
the name that identifies an organizational unit, program, service, or activity, and, for purposes of a signature, appears with the applied title of the parent institution.
the combination of a symbol and a title. (Also referred to as the corporate signature.)