Office of Protocol - Overview

The Office of Protocol provides leadership and coordination in the City's ceremonial, protocol and diplomatic activities.

About us 

The Office of Protocol strives to profile the City of Ottawa in a politically and culturally sensitive and positive manner. This Office is responsible for a portfolio of events, activities and services that benefit, promote, celebrate or enhance the City of Ottawa.

The Office of Protocol is the City’s primary liaison with the Office of the Governor General, the diplomatic corps, federal, provincial and municipal governments, military, civic, cultural, religious and community organizations on all matters of protocol.   Their portfolio includes: 


Events and/or official ceremonies may include visits from national and international religious leaders, political leaders, and business or cultural missions. The scope of events managed by the Office of Protocol varies.

Ottawa has unique obligations as the nation’s capital. Our city is the residence and business centre of approximately 120 foreign missions. The Mayor, City Council and other City officials are often called upon by these foreign missions to:

  • respond to requests for services
  • to host visits by Ambassadors/High Commissioners and delegations 
  • to participate in functions designed to profile local, national and international communities
  • conduct public commemorations

The Office of Protocol has developed an Event Checklist [ PDF - 92 KB ] to assist in the successful management of events.

Office of Protocol - Portfolio

Honouring our veterans

Learn how the City honours its veterans through Commemorative street naming.

Courtesy calls

Learn how the Mayor welcomes members of the diplomatic community to our city. 

Flag protocol

Learn about the positioning of flags and how we commemorate national days

Presentations or recognitions at Council

Find out how citizens, organizations, charitable causes and city-wide initiatives are honoured for their contributions to the City.


Find out how these ceremonial documents pay tribute to individuals, events, campaigns or organizations.  

Study tours

Learn how the City is committed to providing professional learning opportunities to visiting delegations.  


Find out the kinds of symbols that capture Ottawa’s visual identity. 

Contact us

The address for the Office of Protocol is:
City of Ottawa
Office of Protocol
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1


Cathy Bowles
Chief of Protocol
Tel: 613-580-2424, extension 21521
Fax: 613-580-2438

If you are looking for more information on the following topics, please consult with our Protocol Advisors.

Arnold McLean

  • Flag Protocol

Tel: 613-580-2424, extension 21520
Fax: 613-580-2438

Ian F. Smith

  • Courtesy Calls
  • Study Tours and Visiting Delegations

Tel: 613-580-2424, extension 14755
Fax: 613-580-2438

Heather Theoret

  • Presentations/Recognitions at Council
  • Proclamations

Tel: 613-580-2424, extension 17819
Fax: 613-580-2438

Reference materials

For more information on planning events and activities related to protocol: