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Frequently Asked Questions

A few suggestions to commonly asked questions:


1. What is the protocol regarding flying flags? Can we fly two or three different flags on the same pole?

No, each flag requires its own pole. 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.

http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/etiqtt/101-eng.cfm#

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2. How do I position two flags together if one is Canada's?

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag is on the left and the other, whether it is a national or sub-national flag, is on the right.

example:

Canada
Other




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3. How do I position three flags together?


When three flags are flown together, the National Flag will occupy the central position with the next ranking flag to the left and the third ranking flag to the right as viewed by the spectator.



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4. How do I position three flags together if one is Canada's, one British Columbia's, and one is from a foreign country?

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag should be in the centre, the flag of the foreign country is to the left, and British Columbia's flag is to the right, as follows:

example:

Other
Canada
BC




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5. How do I position three flags together if one is Canada's, one British Columbia's, and one is a municipality?

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag should be in the centre, British Columbia's flag is to the left, and the municipal flag is to the right, as follows:

example:

BC
Canada
Municipal





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6. When and why are the British Columbia 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 is an adaptation of international usage and reflects long-standing custom 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.

Other days upon which British Columbia flags are automatically half-masted are:
· April 28 - Workers' Mourning Day
· Last Sunday in September - Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day
· November 11 - Remembrance Day
· December 6 - National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Flags at individual ministry or regional facilities may be half-masted in cases of lives lost while at work, or other tragic events, at the discretion of the minister responsible.

The Government of British Columbia's Half-Masting Policy can be viewed here.

For more information please refer to: http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/etiqtt/101-eng.cfm#a4


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7. How do I address a provincial Cabinet minister or the Premier?

In writing, Cabinet ministers should be addressed as:
The Honourable (first and last name, e.g. Peter Smith), M.L.A.,
Minister of (name of ministry here, e.g. Energy and Mines).
The salutation would be: Dear Minister.

The Premier would be addressed as follows:
The Honourable (first and last name, e.g. Peter Smith), M.L.A.
Premier of British Columbia
The salutation would be: Dear Premier.

For more detailed information regarding styles of address, please refer to the following: http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/prtcl/address3-eng.cfm

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8. Does the Premier retain the title "Honourable" after leaving office? Do ministers?

The title "Honourable" is used only while in office, unless he/she is a member of the Privy Council.



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9. How does one address a retired Federal Cabinet minister?

Federal Cabinet ministers retain the title "Honourable" for life if they are also Privy Councillors.

For more information on styles of address, please refer to the following: http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/prtcl/address3-eng.cfm


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10. Where can I send a letter to the Queen?

Her Majesty the Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
United Kingdom


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11. How do I contact Canadian Embassies and Consulates overseas?

Refer to the Consular Affairs section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade at
http://www.international.gc.ca/ciw-cdm/embassies-ambassades.aspx?lang=eng&menu_id=57&menu=L

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12. Who speaks first when a number of dignitaries are present at a ceremony?

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


Normally speeches are given in ascending order, with the most important dignitary (according to the order of precedence established) being the last to speak. The ribbon cutting, unveiling of a plaque or model, opening of a building or inauguration of a factory normally comes at the end of the series of speeches and momentum is created by the speeches by the representatives of various participants, in order of their relative importance. 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.

For an event hosted by the Government of British Columbia, speaking order is determinded by B.C.'s Order of Precedence, with some variation depending upon the specific speakers. For assistance in determining order of speakers, please contact us.


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13. What is the provincial flower?

The Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) was adopted in 1956 as British Columbia's floral emblem. The Pacific dogwood is a tree that grows six to eight metres high and flowers in April and May. In the autumn it is conspicuous for its cluster of bright red berries and brilliant foliage. Access the following link for information on provincial symbols: http://www.protocol.gov.bc.ca/protocol/prgs/symbols/symbols.htm


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14. Can anyone use the British Columbia Coat of Arms? How can I get a copy?

The coat of arms requires permission, but the British Columbia flower and flag are public domain.
You must obtain permission from the Protocol office by e-mail at protocol@gov.bc.ca.


For more information on British Columbia's Coat of Arms, access the following link:
http://www.protocol.gov.bc.ca/protocol/prgs/symbols/coat_of_arms.htm


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15. How do I apply to use the initials B.C. in my company name?

Once you receive your name request authorization from the Registrar of Companies (Name Approval Request Instructions), (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to open) you must complete the application form.

The use of the initials "B.C." or the words "British Columbia" in a name is restricted by the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act. The Act ensures that individuals or organizations do not provide the impression of exercising a function of the Government, when in fact there is no authority to do so.


 

 
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