The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette

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Registrations of Arms

Who may apply for a Registration of Arms at the Canadian Heraldic Authority?

Canadian individuals and corporate bodies in possession of armorial bearings granted by recognized heraldic authorities of other sovereign countries may apply to register them in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada. If research, new artwork or changes to the armorial bearings are required, then the request will be handled as a petition for a grant (see Granting Armorial Bearings in Canada).

What is the meaning of a Registration of Arms?

The meaning of a registration of arms in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada is that a coat of arms borne by a corporation or person which has been granted by an authority recognized by the Chief Herald of Canada is recorded in the Register. Such registrations are each assigned a page in the Register and indicate that the particular arms continue to be borne in Canada by the corporation or person. In the case of individuals, these registrations do not have any effect on the inheritance of these arms in Canada. If individuals wish to provide for the inheritance of their arms, they must apply for a separate Canadian grant for their children, which will include the registration of their own arms.

How does one apply for Registration of Arms?

A Canadian citizen or corporate body must send to the Chief Herald of Canada a letter indicating the wish to "register armorial bearings with the Canadian Heraldic Authority under powers exercised by the Governor General."

What background information should one forward?

The petitioner must provide: (1) a legible photograph (or photocopy) in colour of the official granting document, including the armorial bearings to be registered and the entire text; (2) in the case of inherited arms, proof of descent from the original grantee; (3) the same background information that is required for a grant (see Granting Armorial Bearings in Canada).

What are the steps in the Registration procedure?

The Chief Herald of Canada examines the claim and may accept it, require further proof, demand the addition of differences to individualize the arms, or rule the claim invalid for lack of proof. On the recommendation of the Chief Herald of Canada, the Herald Chancellor (the Secretary to the Governor General) or the Deputy Herald Chancellor (the Deputy Secretary, Chancellery) signs a warrant authorizing the registration. The registration is recorded in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, and the official notice of the registration is published in Part I of the Canada Gazette under the title ‘Government House.’

What is the format of the Registration document?

The resulting document, called letters patent, consists of a printed bilingual text produced by computer. It is signed by the appropriate officials, and the seal of the Canadian Heraldic Authority is applied to it.

How long does it take?

The average time required to complete a registration is three months after the warrant has been signed. The process can last longer if there are protracted discussions or if the volume of petitions received exceeds available staff resources.

How much does it cost?

There is no cost for registering armorial bearings as long as the petitioner provides full documentation of the original grant.

Are there any other considerations to note?

The laws, customs, and heraldic rules of one country might not always be recognized by another country. Thus, the Chief Herald of Canada might accept a petition, but with limitations on what will be registered. It is important to note that certificates issued by private companies do not constitute entitlement to a registration of a coat of arms, flag, or badge.

Date modified: October 25, 2013