Great Seal of Canada

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Queen Elizabeth II's Great Seal of Canada
First Great Seal of Canada, embedded in sculpture, Major's Hill Park, Ottawa

The Great Seal of Canada (French: Grand Sceau du Canada) is a seal used for official purposes of state in Canada. While the seal is affixed to Acts of Parliament that have been granted Royal Assent (and thus passing them into law),[1] the seal is also used for granting commissions to representatives of Her Majesty the Queen, as well as cabinet ministers, judges and other senior officials.[2] Many other officials, such as officers in Her Majesty's Canadian Forces, receive commissions affixed with the Privy Seal and not the Great Seal.[2]

The first Great Seal of Canada was carved in the United Kingdom in 1869 and sent to Canada to replace a temporary seal which had been used since Canadian Confederation in 1867; it depicted Queen Victoria seated beneath a canopy.

Old seals are destroyed whenever a new monarch takes the throne. The current Great Seal was made at the Royal Canadian Mint when Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father in 1952 and it went into use in 1955. The seal is made of specially tempered steel, weighs 3.75 kilograms (8.27 pounds), and is 127 millimetres (5 inches) in diameter. The image depicts the Queen enthroned and robed, holding the orb and sceptre, and shows her sitting on the coronation chair with the 1957 version of the Royal Arms of Canada in front, and is inscribed REINE DU CANADA—ELIZABETH II—QUEEN OF CANADA. The inscriptions on it are in French and English. Previous Great Seals of Canada were inscribed in Latin.

While the governor general is the keeper of the Great Seal, the Queen's representative places it in the protection of the Registrar General of Canada. Each of the provinces has its own unique great seal for similar purposes, which is used by the lieutenant governor of the province, and kept by the provincial attorney general.


The Great Seal is protected under the Security of Information Act, Section 5(2)(e) stating: "Every person who, without lawful authority or excuse, manufactures or sells, or has in his possession for sale, any die, seal or stamp referred to in subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years or by summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months or to a fine of not more than $2,000."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Proclamation of the Constitution Act 1982". Image of original proclamation. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (2012). "Consolidation - Formal Documents Regulations" (PDF). 
  3. ^ Security of Information Act

External links[edit]