Order of Military Merit

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The Order of Military Merit was established in 1972 to provide a worthy means of recognizing conspicuous merit and exceptional service by members of the Canadian Armed Forces, both regular and reserve. The Queen of Canada is the Sovereign of the Order and the Governor-General is both Chancellor and a Commander of the Order. The Chief of the Defence Staff is, by virtue of that office, is the Principal Commander of the Order.[1]

The Order comprises three degrees:

Commander (CMM);
Officer (OMM); and
Member (MMM).

The Order was amended in April 2013 to allow Extraordinary Members, such as the Royal Family and the Governor-Generals. Prince Philip was the first person invested into this category.

In any year, the Governor General may appoint a number of eligible persons to the Order that does not exceed one-tenth of one percent (0.001) of the average number of persons who were members of the CF during the immediately preceding year. In 2008, the distribution was changed back to the original 1972 percentages of, up to 5% Commanders,20% Officers, and 75% Members annually(it had been 6%, 30% and 64%).

There is no overall maximum membership in any degree. Only members of the Canadian Forces (regular or reserve) are eligible for appointment to the order although there has been one Honorary Commander, General Richard Myers, USAF. Names are gazetted in the Canada Gazette. Awards are made only once per year and announced in January of that year.The Order was intended as a mid-career award but has ended up being an end of career award with as many as 25% of recipients earning the honour after they retired and 50% of those receiving the award being within the last two years of service. The Canadian Forces began trying to get it back to a mid-career award in 2009. It is also the intention to not limit the levels to Flag Officers/Generals for the CMM, Majors to Captains (with the occasional CWO elevated) for the OMM, and the MMM for Junior Officers and Non-Commissioned members. The level of responsibility should be the determining criteria. However, the effect of this is that Brigadier-Generals now receive the OMM on a regular basis and the CMM is now almost always reserved for Rear Admirals / Major-Generals and above.


  1. Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals, 6th Edition. Surgeon Captain John Blatherwick CM, CStJ, OBC, CD