Canada Awards for Excellence

January 15, 2018

May 31, 2018

416-251-7600 ext 233

Awards Description

To be recognized by your peers for your commitment to organizational excellence is a worthy celebration. By awarding those organizations most committed to economic progress, both for themselves and for the Canadian market as a whole, we all take a more prominent position and gain greater influence on the world stage. A prosperous Canada is a successful Canada and we remain committed to recognizing those organizations that are best in class and leading the way for all of us.


Patron for the Awards

His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.,
the Governor General of Canada, is the Patron of the Awards.

Since 1984, the Canada Awards for Excellence have been presented to private and public sector organizations of all sizes that have proven they are world class. This prestigious award is tangible evidence of an organization’s level of excellence.

This award is based on the Canada Awards for Excellence Standards and Requirements, which are used by numerous organizations as a management model for continual improvement and to achieve better operational results.


Awards Categories

Overview and Benefits


Canada Awards for Excellence Overview

Awarding companies for their commitment to sustained excellence is a job that Excellence Canada takes very seriously. We know that the companies that win year after year are the ones that are leading us into a better future. Of course, this coveted award is not simply something that hangs on the wall but corresponds directly to reduced costs, improved efficiencies, more productive and engaged employees, and greater stakeholder returns.

Since the Canada Awards for Excellence was first established, many other award programs have been created. What makes the Canada Awards for Excellencedifferent from other awards?


  • Other awards celebrate where you are now. The Canada Awards for Excellence celebrate where you are going tomorrow.


  • The Governor General of Canada is the Patron of the Canada Awards for Excellence Program, reinforcing the prestige and importance of receiving these awards.


  • Many other awards programs in Canada are based on a one dimensional assessment, such as a survey of staff, bottom line growth, or customer satisfaction.  While all awards are positive and desirable, none compares with the holistic and integrated nature of the Canada Awards for Excellencerequirements.


  • The Canada Awards for Excellence Standards require that all areas of an organization demonstrate continual innovation and sustainable improvement across all drivers and all departments, including: Leadership and Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Planning and Strategy, People Engagement, Psychological and Physical Health & Safety, Customer Experience, Process and Project Management, and relationships with Partners and Suppliers.


  • Organizations applying for recognition must demonstrate achievement of the Canada Awards for Excellence requirements through detailed applications, three years of trend data, surveys, and focus group interviews with a team of experienced verifiers.


  • Organizations do not “compete” nor are they ranked as in other awards programs, but rather they are selected on the basis of meeting or exceeding every one of the requirements of the Canada Awards for Excellence Standards.


  • Organizations can receive national recognition at four levels as they advance on their journeys to excellence: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Order of Excellence.


Three years after receiving the Canada Awards for Excellence Platinum Trophy, an organization can apply for the “Canada Order of Excellence”, the highest award under the Canada Awards for Excellence program, in order to maintain a current recognition status.  This process is then repeated every three years so that the organization can demonstrate how it is continuing to meet the requirements and how it is continually improving its results.

Award Categories


The Standards and Frameworks of the Canada Awards for Excellence Program are the basis for national recognition and celebration of the successful organizations that apply.

These Standards were developed by Excellence Canada with the participation of subject matter experts and leaders of successful organizations from all sectors across the country who are passionate role-models of continual improvement in quality, wellness, and innovation. International benchmarks have been researched and incorporated to ensure that a global perspective is maintained, making these Standards equal to or better than other national Standards from around the world.

Achieving Platinum Trophy recognition under one of the categories of the Canada Awards for Excellence Program requires an organization to have met all the detailed requirements of its related Standard or Framework. However, the unique four-level design of each Standard permits organizations to be progressively challenged and recognized by certification at the Bronze Level and by Awards Recognition at the Silver, Gold, and Platinum Levels.


The Standards and Frameworks



Excellence, Innovation and Wellness

Meeting this Standard involves an over-arching assessment of the organization from every perspective, including employees, customers, leadership, governance, planning, processes, social responsibility, suppliers, partners, and results. Several years of trend data and evidence supporting continual and sustainable improvement must be provided. There are many organizations already operating at high performance levels that benefit greatly by the objective third-party verification and national recognition that accompanies the Canada Awards for Excellence Program.

Download the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard here.



Healthy Workplace®

The Healthy Workplace® Standard drills deeply into the People driver of the holistic Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard to expand on each of the four main elements critical to fostering and sustaining physical and psychological health and safety of employees. These four elements are: Healthy Lifestyles, Mental Health & Workplace Culture, Physical Environment, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Organizations that have highly engaged and productive employees usually have healthy workplaces, and they may already qualify for recognition under the Canada Awards for Excellence Program.

Download the Healthy Workplace® Standard here.



Mental Health at Work®

Organizations that have successfully implemented the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace are excellent candidates for this award. For all others, the Mental Health at Work® Framework drills down even more deeply into the Healthy Workplace® Standard to focus on just the psychological health and safety of employees.

This Framework serves as a step-by-step, four level roadmap for organizations that wish to encourage, support, and implement exemplary mental health-related programs in the workplace. The design of the Mental Health at Work® Framework is based on research and knowledge pertaining to success factors of employee psychological well-being in the workplace, and the experiences and outcomes of successful organizations.

The 13 Psychosocial Factors created by Guarding Minds @ Work are incorporated into this Framework and it also includes guidance from the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

Download the Mental Health at Work® Framework here.

Adjudication Process


Excellence Canada follows a thorough adjudication process for the Canada Awards for Excellence. Each year, it is our objective to select the very best organizations in every category so that we can reward those that best meet the Criteria and are most committed to the cause of improving Canada’s performance on the world stage. To ensure total accuracy and the most qualified recipients of these prestigious awards, we conduct a site verification visit.

Please note that organizations do not compete against one another, but rather are judged against the individual Criteria.


Site Verification

Organizations that pass an initial screening are visited by teams of examiners to verify information on the application. A Lead Verifier will be identified to head up the site visit.

The purpose of the site verification is to verify major aspects of the submission on-site, clarify any points still outstanding and for the verifiers to meet with people at different levels in the organization. You may be asked to set up focus groups to meet with the Lead verifier and his/her team. You may also be asked to provide additional documentation.


Please refer to Key Dates and Deadlines for important dates.

How to Apply


The Canada Awards for Excellence Program is the most prestigious in Canada, under the Patronage of His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., the Governor General of Canada.


1) Study the Requirements

The application process is quite rigorous, so be sure to fully review the Canada Awards for Excellence Entry Guide and Category Requirements before you decide to apply. We will be pleased to answer any question and address any concerns you may have, so you can make the right decision for you and your organization.

The Canada Awards for Excellence recognizes the nation’s very best organizations, in all sectors and in all industries. The Requirements for each award Category can be found here:

If you believe that your organization has reached a high level of effectiveness in every area of operations and is committed to improving quality, leadership, customer service, and a healthy workplace for employees, you may very well be eligible to receive recognition under the Canada Awards for Excellence Program.


2) Apply for the Award

Organizations can choose one of three approaches when applying for an Award under any of the Categories

Benchmarking Assessment – This is a “Full-Service” approach wherein a team of Excellence Canada experts will visit your organization to facilitate an assessment against the appropriate Requirements, administer a staff survey, perform on-site inquiries and focus-group interviews, review documentation, and then prepare and deliver a full report to management on strengths, opportunities, and overall scores toward recognition under the Canada Awards for Excellence Program at the appropriate level. If the organization wishes to proceed to receive an Award, the fully-prepared submission is delivered to the Canada Awards for Excellence adjudication committee for review and confirmation that the requirements have been met.
Click here for more details.

Direct Application – This is a “Do-It-Yourself” approach wherein organizations that have reviewed the Award requirements and feel they are ready to prepare a submission can purchase the Canada Awards for Excellence Assessment Guide and Submission Kit in the category of their choice and complete the process internally, with or without external coaching. Prepare your own submission by self-assessing against the Requirements at the desired level of recognition. Then you will explain how your organization satisfies each Requirement, providing collateral evidence to support the assertions. This submission is then reviewed by Canada Awards for Excellence verifiers, followed by a site-visit, staff survey, and on-site interviews with focus groups. Then the verifiers report is delivered to the Canada Awards for Excellence adjudication committee for review and confirmation that the requirements have been met.
Contact for more details.

Progressive Certification – This method is favoured by organizations already engaged on an Excellence Journey that have been following the progressive implementation methodology of one of the Categories. Once they have achieved certification at the Silver, Gold, or Platinum level they can apply for recognition under the Canada Awards for Excellence Program at the same level without further preparation.
Click here for more details.


3) Submit the “Intent to Apply” Form

When you have decided to apply for an award category at any level, submit your Intent to Apply form, in PDF or MS Word format. Once you have sent your form to please call 1-800-263-9648 ext 233 to speak with the Manager, Certification and Awards, who will confirm delivery and provide guidance on the next actions to take. We will support you each step of the way.

Application Process


Ready to apply for the Canada Awards for Excellence? Have what it takes to become an award recipient in your industry? We look forward to hearing from your organization.

Prior to applying, organizations must complete a full organizational self-assessment against the CAE Criteria. Although the focus of this assessment is on applying for recognition under the CAE program, its outcome is also helpful for an organization that believes it has reached a high level of effectiveness. The assessment, being comprehensive and highly detailed, helps to confirm organizational strengths and, through developing action plans on any key gaps noted in the Assessment Report, assists in promoting a sustained focus on quality.

When an organization conducts a full assessment against the Criteria, a score of over 500 points may indicate a winner at some level! Excellence Canada has introduced Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels.


Application Process at a Glance

1. Study the Entry Guide

2. Conduct your Organizational Self-Assessment

3. Decide if you wish to apply

4. Submit “Intent to Apply” Form, in PDF or MS Word format

5. Prepare your Submission Package

6. Send in Package by April 30th each year.


If your organization is forward thinking, embraces excellence in everything it does and is committed to strengthening your industry position, you very well may be one of the CAE recipients in the upcoming year. Its companies like this that can help guide the rest as we all make a concentrated effort to raise the profile of Canadian competitiveness in the global economic environment.


For more information about the awards, contact

Key Dates & Deadlines


Organizations applying for Canada Awards for Excellence recognition in 2018 must refer to the following Key Dates & Deadlines.


Key Dates & Deadlines for CAE Recognition
January 15th, 2018 Submit the “Intent to Apply” PDF or MS Word form
May, 2018 Submission must be received 30 days prior to agreed verification date,
and no later than May 31st, 2018
June, 2018 Site Verification visits will be completed between March 1st and
June 15th, 2018
To Be Confirmed Canada Awards for Excellence celebration!


To submit completed applications, or for additional information, please contact:

Excellence Canada
402 – 154 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5H 3Y9

1-800-263-9648 ext 233
416-251-7600 ext 233


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