Royal Canadian Navy adopts new Naval Ensign

Navy News / May 2, 2013

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced the adoption of a new Canadian Naval Ensign to be worn by Her Majesty's Canadian Ships, naval vessels, Naval Reserve Divisions, and other designated units starting on Sunday, May 5.

"Canadian warships have unique roles, responsibilities, and powers compared to other Canadian flagged vessels," said Minister MacKay. "The adoption of a new Canadian Naval Ensign demonstrates our deep attachment to a widespread tradition among navies of the world. The new Canadian Naval Ensign will become the flag under which our Navy will defend Canada's interests at home and abroad."

"The men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy can be proud to serve their country under this new Canadian Naval Ensign," said Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. "We are restoring the use of a standard Commonwealth practice, and an important symbol recognizing our rich naval heritage and the historical roots of the modern Royal Canadian Navy."

This is an historic moment for the Royal Canadian Navy, which flew the White Ensign from 1911 until the adoption of the National Flag in 1965. From that point onward, the National Flag was adopted as both the Ensign and the Jack. In 1968, as part of efforts to emphasize the importance of military ensigns and flags, while also reflecting the new National Flag, a distinctive Naval Jack was adopted by the Canadian Armed Forces. The Naval Jack incorporated the Maple Leaf in the canton with a badge in the fly of the flag.

Today, the flag previously known as the Naval Jack is adopted as the new Canadian Naval Ensign, and the National Flag becomes the new Naval Jack, which mirrors a standard practice amongst Commonwealth nations. The change will most importantly distinguish Canadian warships from other Canadian flagged vessels. It will also promote and strengthen the Canadian naval identity, while underscoring the unique commitment of our men and women at sea who serve as members of the Canadian Armed Forces in Royal Canadian Navy ships and vessels. The new Canadian Naval Ensign will now take rightful prominence as a significant national symbol for years to come.

Additional information regarding the new Canadian Naval Ensign is available online at:

A Canadian Naval Ensign fact sheet is available online at: