When should my flag be lowered to half-mast/half-staff?

half-mast, half-staff, titan telescoping flagpole

In times of great loss and tragedy you can honour those affected by flying your flag at half-mast*. But what are the specific protocols advised around half-masting in Canada? We break it down for you on this blog.

*Note: we have had people question whether the correct term is “half-mast” or “half-staff.” Since the Canadian government uses the term “half-mast” that is how it will be referred to in this blog.

What does half-masting mean?

According to the Canadian government, the size of the pole and flag will help determine half-mast placement, but it’s generally when the flag sits halfway down the pole. 

The Government of Canada states, ”The half-masting of national flags is a well-established procedure whereby countries bestow an honour and express a collective sense of sorrow. Given that such flags are recognized as paramount symbols of their nations, the act of half-masting is a dramatic visual statement that speaks to the sense of loss that is shared by all their citizens.”

When to fly your flag at half-mast

There is no legislation governing half-masting in Canada, however, there are rules all government buildings must follow. These include flying half-mast upon the death of the Sovereign, the current Governor General or the current Prime Minister, as well as many others you can read here.

There are also National Commemorative Days when you may want to fly your flag at half mast. These would include Remembrance Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, among others. 

The government acknowledges that individuals may also fly the National flag at half-mast to express mourning. In these cases, the rules can be used as guidelines to help in expressing mourning during a collective time of sorrow.

The protocol for government organizations at the death of a Sovereign is to lower the flag at the time of death until sunset on the day of the funeral. Memorials require slightly different protocols, “if there is to be a memorial service, the Half-masting should take place from the time of notification of death until sunset the following day and from sunrise to sunset on the day of the memorial service.”

How to fly half-mast on the Titan Telescoping Flagpole

Ontario Flag and Pole founder, Bruce Cook, shows you how to lower your Titan Telescoping Flag Pole to half-mast in this video:

How to fly at half-mast:

  1. Begin by lowering each section of the Titan Telescoping Flagpole until it’s fully down.
  2. Remove the flag carefully from the clips. Using the bottom clip of the double flag harness, connect the top grommet of the flag to this bottom clip. Ensure your flag is in the correct position. Clip bottom grommet of flag to the clip on the lower harness.
  3. Begin to raise your pole one section at a time. Fully extend and your flagpole will be in a position of honour and respect.

Reference the guidelines for half-masting the National Flag of Canada canada.ca before you fly!

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