The evolution of Canada’s federal identity, from 1900s to 2000s
Arms of Canada is proclaimed
The Canadian Coat of Arms is adopted by royal proclamation and introduced on government stationery. The colours red and white were declared to be Canada’s official colours.
Arms of Canada is updated
To assist with reproduction, the arms of Canada was redrawn in 1957 by Alan Beddoe. The new rendering of the arms included red leaves and, at the Queen’s request, the Tudor crown replaced the St. Edward’s crown.
Deliberating national symbols with provinces
Letter sent to provinces inviting the premiers of all provinces to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the choice of national symbols.
Canadian Flag Committee
On September 10, 1964, the Canadian Flag Committee, consisting of 15 Members of Parliament, announced the final Canadian flag design. The initial rendering of the flag, designed by George Stanley, consisted of a 13-point maple leaf. The final version, refined by Jacques Saint-Cyr, is the 11-point maple leaf flag we see today.
Canadian flag is proclaimed
On January 28, 1965, Queen Elizabeth II approved the new Canadian flag by royal proclamation. The signing of the proclamation took place in London, with both Prime Minister Pearson and Leader of the Opposition Diefenbaker in attendance.
Canada wordmark, 1st appearance
While the Canada wordmark is often referenced as being created in 1965, however, its first appearance in modified Baskerville with the Canadian flag appearing over the final letter “a” was in 1967.
Official Languages Act
The Official Languages Act is proclaimed, establishing the principle of equality between English and French.
Government Task Force
The Task Force on Government Information reported that the government was failing to make its presence known and that important federal programs were being carried out without the public being aware of their sponsorship.
In its report “To know and be known”, the Task Force observed that federal organizations did not project a uniform, clearly identifiable image as functional parts of the same government. Many organizational titles failed to distinguish clearly public from private, or federal from provincial. Furthermore, through the use of different and uncoordinated symbols – many of very poor design – each organization identified itself as a separate entity.
Federal Identity Program is created
The creation of the Federal Identity Program (FIP) is announced in the House of Commons on October 23, 1970. Standardization and clear identification of federal activities were cited as main objectives. Information Canada, a new agency, is made responsible to develop and implement the program.
The search for a unique symbol for the Government of Canada involves consultations with members of the opposition, market testing, design research and legal review.
The federal symbol begins to be implemented
Staff responsible for the Federal Identity Program at Information Canada begin to work with departments to implement the new federal symbol on corporate identity products.
Federal Identity Program, 1st policy guidelines
Treasury Board approved the first policy guidelines that included the use of the two official languages and a management system for the development and implementation of the program.
Federal Identity Program moves to TBS
Information Canada is disbanded after 6 years of operation. Responsibility for the Federal Identity Program is transferred to the Administrative Policy Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Federal Identity Program, 1st design standards
Treasury Board issued a comprehensive policy and design standards.
Use of the Canada wordmark is expanded
A news release by the President of the Treasury Board announced plans for the expanded use of the Canada wordmark for all federal identity applications, noting that: “The Canada wordmark is intended to provide a clear and attractive expression of the federal presence”.
Switch to full flag symbol
After an extensive design review, the use of the bar and maple leaf symbol is replaced by the full Canadian flag. Rational for the switch is based on improved effectiveness.
Use of the new symbol is phased in over time, applied to new stocks when existing material or equipment is refurbished.
From 1987 to 1997, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat publishes a comprehensive manual of design standards in 16 volumes.
New Federal Identity Program policy
Treasury Board issues a new Federal Identity Program policy and guidelines superseding all previous versions, and issues the Management Guide to corporate identity.
The first electronic versions of the federal identity symbols and the list of designated contacts becomes available in December 1990.
Arms of Canada is updated
Primary sign redesign
A new standard of Federal Identity Program primary signs is approved (i.e., the main exterior federal sign). The new design includes light grey bars at the top and bottom and a dark grey middle, which is used for messaging. The new design is to be phased in over time.
Canada wordmark signs added
The National Canada Wordmark Program is initiated, with the objective to install wordmark signs on the exterior of select high profile federally owned and leased buildings across Canada.
Tactile signs added
A tactile signage system is issued by Treasury Board as part of the Federal Identity Program Manual. Included is information on the universal signage requirements for washrooms, stairs and exits, fabricated with braille and raised lettering and pictograms.
Adding tactile signs to the Federal Identity Program is a response the Treasury Board Real Property Policy on Accessibility for federal buildings. The signs reflect universal design principles, a benefit for the whole public.
Strengthening of the Federal Identity Program Policy
Treasury Board amends the Federal Identity Program Policy, to strengthen federal presence, by issuing new policy decisions:
- the identity of the Government of Canada is to have primacy over the identity of individual institutions;
- the Canada wordmark is to be applied to all federal corporate identity applications;
- creating a common look and feel for all federal websites;
- the Canada wordmark is to be displayed on selected high profile buildings across Canada;
- federal uniformed employees are to be clearly identified with Federal Identity Program identifiers;
- all federal custodians are to ensure that leases incorporate Federal Identity Program signage, Canada wordmark signs and displaying the flag;
- Government of Canada identity requirements are to be part of collaborative arrangements with the private sector and other governments or jurisdictions; and
- institutional symbols not complying with the Federal Identity Program will require the authorization of the Treasury Board.
Common Look and Feel Internet Working Group is established
In response to Treasury Board Ministers decisions on strengthening federal presence and visibility in electronic media, Treasury Board Secretariat established the Common Look & Feel (CLF) 77 member Working Group, representing some 50 departments.
The working group’s mandate was to establish mandatory standards and procedures for visually presenting, accessing, organizing and navigating through the information displayed on Government of Canada Internet and Intranet sites.
Inventory of non-FIP logos
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat conducts an inventory of non-FIP logos across the federal government. A government-wide reduction of non-FIP logos follows.
Final report on Common Look and Feel for the Internet
The Federal Identity Program’s report to Treasury Board ministers contained 45 recommendations for technical standards and emphasized: a citizen-centred approach; visibility and recognition through consistent identification; common sense navigation connections; and information design standards.