Honorary ranks in the Canadian Forces have been modeled on the purest British traditions. The first honorary appointment was in 1895.
Today major Militia units (i.e. those whose establishments are commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel) may have both an Honorary Colonel, and an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel. Prior to the mid 1970s, honorary rank in the Reserves was confined to former officers. Since then honorary status may also be conferred on distinguished Canadian citizens.
The handbook covering honorary appointments lists the following as the principal responsibilities for Militia Honoraries: act as an advisor to the Commanding Officer on all matters pertaining to regimental dress and traditions; provide advice on regimental charities and associations; help to maintain close liaison with allied regiments; encourage the Regiment's Cadet Corps; attend formal parades and social functions in which the unit is involved; occasionally attend unit training including field training exercises; take an active part in efforts to improve the Militia, and indeed the Canadian Armed Forces; attend the Honorary Colonels' and Lieutenant-Colonels' conferences, and generally keep abreast of policy developments affecting the Militia.
Once a nominee for an honorary appointment is approved by the Regimental Senate, their request is passed to the Commanding Officer for processing through the army chain of command. The Chief of the Defence Staff passes the application to the Minister of National Defence who is the approving authority for such appointments. Once approved by the Minister the appointment is promulgated in Army Orders, and is signified by the issuance of a Commission Certificate signed by the Governor-General and the Minister of National Defence acknowledging the appointment.
Such appointment "Gives and grants full power and authority to have, hold, and enjoy said appointment accordingly, together with all and singular the privileges thereunto belonging .... and commands all Officers and Non-Commissioned Members to acknowledge you as such".
The Honorary Colonel and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel personalize the institutional structure of the regiment, assist in the promotion of regimental affairs when the attention of the serving officers is normally focused on training and operational matters, and add a further dimension to the concept of the regimental Family.
|Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth||1937 - 2002|
|(given the added title of Queen Mother following the death of her husband, King George VI in 1952)|
|His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales||2005 -|
|Major-General Sir James H. MacBrien KCB, CMG, DSO, NWMP, RCMP||1921 - 1931|
|Major-General Garnet B. Hughes CB, CMG, DSO, ED||1931 - 1937|
|Colonel Roy H. Lord Thomson of Fleet||1962 - 1967|
|Air Marshal Wilfred E. Curtis CB, CBE, DSC, ED, CD||1967 - 1971|
|Colonel Robert H. Hilborn, LVO, MBE, CD||1971 - 1976|
|Colonel W.G. Mackenzie Robinson ED, CD||1977 - 1982|
|Colonel James A. Northey||1982 - 1984|
|Colonel Bryan A. Upjohn CD||1984 - 1987|
|Colonel John R. Massingham CD, AdeC||1987 - 1996|
|Colonel Hugh P. Stewart CD||1996 - 2002|
|Colonel Frederic L.R. Jackman OOnt CD||2002 - 2009|
|Colonel Gilbert W. Taylor||2009 - 2015|
|Colonel Donald Fisher CD||2015 - 2017|
|Colonel Helen Vari||2017 -|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick B. Robins||1924 - 1931|
|Colonel Colin C. Harbottle CMG, DSO, VD||1931 - 1933|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Alan M. Thomas MBE, VD||1936 - 1939|
|Lieutenant-Colonel William A.H. MacBrien||1939 - 1949|
|Brigadier Guy S. N. Gostling CBE, ED, CD||1949 - 1959|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Robert H. Hilborn MBE CD||1968 - 1971|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Donald H. Wilkins||1971 - 1977|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Bryan A. Upjohn CD||1977 - 1984|
|Lieutenant-Colonel John R. Massingham CD||1984 - 1987|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh P. Stewart CD||1987 - 1996|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Frederic L.R. Jackman||1996 - 2002|
|Lieutenant-Colonel C. Dennis Flynn OOnt, EM||2002 - 2003|
|Colonel Robert G. Douglas CD||2004 - 2010|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Fisher CD||2010 - 2015|
|Lieutenant-Colonel Justin R. Fogarty||2016 -|