Information on the standard practice of half-masting and the rules for displaying flags at Ontario government events and ceremonies.
The National Flag of Canada and the flags of provinces, territories and local governments are symbols of honour and pride for Canadians.
The way flags are displayed in Canada is governed by internationally established practice. Read the complete guidelines on the display of flags in Canada.
Ontario’s flag protocol determines the position of the flags at provincial events or ceremonies.
Positioning of two flags
If you stand facing the flags, the position of honour is to the left. Canada’s flag is on the left, and the other — whether it is a national or sub-national flag — is on the right, as follows:
Positioning of three flags — with a foreign country
If you stand facing the flags, the position of honour is in the centre. Canada’s flag is in the centre, the flag of the foreign country is to the left and Ontario’s flag is to the right, as follows:
Positioning of three flags — with a municipality
If you stand facing the flags, Canada’s flag is in the centre, Ontario’s flag is to the left and the municipal flag is to the right, as follows:
When more than three flags are flown, the position of honour is furthest to the left, followed by other flags in order of precedence.
There is a standard practice for half-masting flags, established by the federal government and followed by all provinces and territories with some discretionary allowance. The practice is not mandatory for individuals or organizations but is an adaptation of international usage and reflects a long-standing custom in Canada.
Flags at all provincial government buildings will be flown at half-mast on commemorative anniversary dates legislated by the provincial government and upon the death of:
- the sovereign
- the sovereign’s spouse, the heir to the throne or the heir of the heir to the throne
- the governor general of Canada, a former governor general
- the lieutenant governor of Ontario, a former lieutenant governor of Ontario
- the premier of Ontario, a former premier of Ontario
- the prime minister, a former prime minister
- any other person whom it is desired to honour
Flags at all Ontario government buildings within ridings or community of residence will be flown at half-mast upon the death of:
- a current member of the provincial parliament of Ontario
- a current privy councillor, senator or a member of the House of Commons from the Province of Ontario
Flags are not normally half-masted for foreign or Commonwealth heads of state or government, as these fall under federal jurisdiction; nor for federal ministers, senators or members of Parliament who are not from Ontario.
Flags at individual ministry or regional facilities may be half-masted in cases of lives lost while at work, or other tragic events. Flags at the Legislative Assembly are flown at half-mast at the discretion of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, not the government.
Flags may be half-masted from sunrise to sunset on the day of the funeral in the region of the funeral for soldiers killed in the line of duty, who were originally from Ontario or recently posted to Ontario.
Annual half-masting days
Ontario annually half-masts flags from sunrise to sunset on:
- April 28: National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace
- June 23: National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism
- The second Sunday in September: Firefighters’ National Memorial Day
- The last Sunday in September: National Peace and Police Officers Memorial Day
- November 11: Remembrance Day
- December 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Find out when flags at Ontario government buildings and establishments are flown at half-mast.