CAF amends criteria for Special Service Medal

Special Service Medals
The Canadian Armed Forces has amended the criteria for two bars to the Special Service Medal. Photo: DND/CAF

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The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has amended the criteria for two bars to the Special Service Medal (SSM), making it easier for CAF members to receive recognition for their contributions.

Canada’s new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, includes an initiative to modernize the overseas recognition framework to make service medals more accessible and flexible, ensuring the appropriate and timely recognition of military personnel who participate in or provide direct support to operations.

The amendment was brought about in part as a result of Operations REASSURANCE and UNIFIER. Because of deployment patterns, many CAF members who participated in these operations did not reach the 180 day criteria previously required.

The criteria for the NATO bar to the SSM is amended from 180 days to 45 days of eligible service beginning on or after October 20, 2004. Service before this date remains under the former criteria. Those who have eligible service on both sides of the transition date can combine all eligible service towards the shorter time criteria.

Similarly, the criteria for the EXPEDITION bar to the SSM is amended from 180 days to 45 days of eligible service beginning on or after July 1, 2007.

This change will provide participants in eligible modern operations with well-earned recognition for their contribution to the operational success of the CAF. It will make a significant difference for CAF troops currently in Ukraine and Latvia, as well as ships at sea. It will also facilitate the presentation of medals in theatre before redeployment.

The detailed criteria may be found in CANFORGEN 021/18. Additional measures to make campaign and service medals more accessible and in tune with modern CAF operations are under consideration by the Government of Canada and will be announced as the decisions are finalized.

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