RCMP Veterans’ Association – National Chair, Honours and Recognition


Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Dear Friends;

We’re proud to have Veterans amongst us who contribute their time, energy and talent to good works to benefit our communities, support those in need, afford strong examples of positive citizenship to our youth, and celebrate this great country that we’ve had the privilege to serve during our time with the RCMP.

Volunteerism is the hallmark of good citizenship and in 1996, then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, chose to acknowledge extraordinary volunteerism through a national honour, through the creation of the Caring Canadian Award.  In 2016, the Caring Canadian Award was replaced by the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (SMV).  Since its establishment, over 5,000 Canadians have been recognized for their efforts.

Among this dedicated group of Canadians are dozens of RCMP Veterans who have been so honoured by being awarded the SMV.

Our Association sees great merit in supporting the meritorious nomination of RCMP Veterans for the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.  Some years ago, Joan Panich, then National Chair, Honours and Recognition, worked with our Divisions to give visibility to the SMV and collaboratively developed a process to assist Divisions in their respective efforts to identify and nominate candidates who have made unpaid, sustained and significant volunteer contributions within their respective communities.   Through this initiative, dozens of RCMP Veterans within our Association were nominated, supported formally by their Division and National President.

By nominating highly meritorious candidates and adhering to high standards in the quality of the submissions to the Governor General’s Office, a very high percentage of nominations have been accepted and awards presented to our members.

The purpose of this message is to once again encourage Veterans to consider the colleagues amongst you, review the eligibility criteria for the SMV, and where merited, follow the process that has been developed and that has proved so successful these past several years.

Divisions are responsible for forwarding to the National Chair, Honours and Recognition a nomination with supporting narrative, letters of reference from organizations that have benefitted from the Veteran’s volunteer work, and endorsement of the Division President for the nomination.  The submission will be reviewed for eligibility standards, presented to the National President for attestation, and formally submitted online to the reviewing authority; the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

Confidentiality is an important element of the nomination process.  The Governor General’s office will never inform a nominee of whom their nominator was.  In addition, nominators are asked not to notify the nominee about the nomination in order to avoid disappointment if unsuccessful.

Read on for the specifics on eligibility, and the internal process created via the National Chair, Honours and Recognition, to support you in nominating deserving members for this prestigious national honour.

Click here for more background and additional information.

Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions as posted upon the Governor General’s website.

While applications are accepted online from anyone wishing to nominate a candidate, we ask that Divisions rely upon the ‘tried and true’ process that the Association has developed by way of a trusted partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. The quality of our submissions has been exceptional and this has stood us – and our nominees – well.  We stand ready to assist you with your nominations.

As your current National Chair, Honours and Recognition, I will be happy to support the Divisions in this regard and remain available to answer questions you may have about the process.  You’re welcome to write me at rcmpvahonoursandrecognition@gmail.com and I will get back to you soon as I can.

Best regards,

Ralph Mahar
National Chair, Honours and Recognition
RCMP Veterans’ Association

Award Eligibility Criteria

The award eligibility criteria is provided upon the Governor General’s website and can be reviewed here.

The main elements of eligibility are

  • Any living Canadian citizen who has made unpaid, sustained and significant volunteer contribution to their community in Canada or abroad
  • Living non-Canadians whose volunteer contributions have brought benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada
  • Sustained work is defined as approximately 10 years of service over the nominee’s lifetime
  • Nominees with less than 10 years of total volunteer service may still be eligible.  The impact of their volunteer contributions and the nominee’s age will be assessed.
  • No posthumous nominations are accepted
  • A nominee must show at least one instance of volunteer work after 2009 for the nomination to be considered.

Advocated Nomination process for RCMP Veterans

  • Identify a deserving RCMP Veteran nominee whom you personally know and whose volunteer work you can attest to
  • Document the nominee’s volunteer work in narrative submission noting the type of volunteer work accomplished, the names of the organizations involved, the dates and length of service
  • Provide letters of support from two references who can describe the nominee’s volunteer work and attest to it being significant, sustained and unpaid.
  • Present the nomination and letters of support to your Division President for the President’s signed affirmationP
  • Division Presidents submit the nomination and accompanying document to the Association President for Attestation via the national Chair, Honours and Recognition at rcmpvahonoursandrecognition@gmail.com
  • Confidentiality is key.  Please do not notify the candidate about the nomination
  • The national Chair, Honours and Recognition will submit the nomination formally to the Office of the Secretary of the Governor General (OSGG) via the online portal
  • The national Chair, Honours and Recognition will confirm receipt of the nomination by the OSGG and will keep the Division President and the Association President of the status of the nomination via liaison with OSGG.
  • Note: The timeline for nominations to be reviewed, considered and decided upon can take up to two (2) years. Covid has played a role in this extended time line but hopefully this will improve in the months ahead.  

Ian McDavid Cooper
Ottawa Division
Awarded on: February 24, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario
Ian Cooper has provided community leadership for over 40 years, whether by developing a minor hockey program in Prince Rupert or volunteering with the RCMP Veteran’s Association (Ottawa Division). Working to engage Canadians with RCMP heritage, he has endeavoured to honour RCMP veterans through various initiatives, including the annual Remembrance Day Odawa Dinner, the National Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, and the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery Committee.

Helen Cleary-Escott
Newfoundland and Labrador Division
Awarded on: September 7, 2018
Helen Cleary-Escott fosters youth development and establishes programs that benefit diverse socio-economic backgrounds through her volunteerism with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Easter Seals House and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. She also volunteers with St. Mark’s Anglican Church and the Church Lads’ Brigade.

Joseph James Healy
Ottawa Division

Awarded on: October 30, 2015
Ottawa, Ontario
Although Joseph Healy has been involved in several community organizations and activities for many years, one of his greatest achievements is the creation and administration of the National RCMP Graves Inspection and Maintenance Information Website. His dedication to this initiative continues to bring honour to the RCMP and to Canada.

Robert Kells
Calgary Division
Awarded on: March 29, 2018
Sherwood Park, Alberta
For the last three decades, RCMP veteran Robert Kells has given thousands of volunteer hours to non-profit and community organizations. He has coached hockey and baseball, served on his church council and raised funds for Uncles & Aunts at Large through the Canadian Progress Club.

Suzanne Sarault
Ottawa Division
Awarded on: March 29, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario
Suzanne Sarault has given of her time to the community for over 27 years, assisting with commemorative events for veterans and the RCMP Veterans’ Association. She also volunteers at festivals in Ottawa, local golf and fundraising events, and as a radio announcer, musical director and mentor to public servants.

Richard Reid Tait
Shuswap Division
Awarded on: December 4, 2017
Sorrento, British Columbia
Reid Tait has taken on several leadership roles within the RCMP Veterans’ Association, and has offered his skills and expertise as a retired peace officer to a number of sporting events hosted by the BC Special Olympics and the BC Summer and Winter Games Society.

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P.O. Box 8900, 1 Sandridge Road
Canadian Police College
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3J2

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