In capitalizing the official names of institutions, follow the guidelines below. Note that the official capitalization is that used by the institution itself.
On this page
- Official names of institutions
- Administrative subdivisions
- Short forms
- Corporate writing
- Second references
Official names of institutions
Capitalize the official names of institutions.
Capitalize the official names of organized churches, religious denominations, sects, orders and their adherents:
- the First Baptist Church
- the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- the Salvation Army
- the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits
- a meeting of Christians, Jews, Muslims and Baha’is
Capitalize the official names of educational institutions and school boards:
- the University of Manitoba
- Lisgar Collegiate Institute
- the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Courts of law
Capitalize the official names of courts of law:
- the International Court of Justice
- the Supreme Court of Canada
- the Quebec Superior Court
Capitalize the official names of clubs:
- the Rotary Club
- the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
- the Loyal Order of Moose
- the Shriners
Capitalize the official names of corporations:
- Canadian Airlines International
- the Canadian National Railway Company
Capitalize the official names of political parties:
- the New Democratic Party
- the Liberal Party of Canada
- the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
- the Opposition (official)
Capitalize the official names of unions, alliances, associations, etc.:
- the Ontario Public Service Employees Union
- the Public Service Alliance of Canada
- the Canadian Medical Association
The names of administrative subdivisions of these institutions are also capitalized:
- the Department of Political Science
- the Toronto Synod
Do not capitalize the plural of common nouns, even when the full titles of the bodies concerned are given:
- He held degrees from the universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto.
- Candidates for the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties attended the rally.
Do not capitalize generic short forms used in a non-specific sense; preceded by a possessive, demonstrative or other type of adjective; or used adjectivally or in an adjectival form:
- Our family attended a Baptist church regularly.
- Every board of education in the province has adjourned for the season.
- This university is our town’s major employer.
- She tries to attend all board meetings.
- Only strict adherence to the party line was tolerated.
But if the short form refers to a specific, unique institution, it retains the upper case when used as a noun or adjectivally:
- The Scouts held a rally over the weekend.
- A city-wide Red Cross blood drive replenished the hospital’s supply.
In addition, capitalize short forms that use only the specifying element:
- This afternoon, Concordia and Western will play in the final.
A generic noun used as a short form of a title is often capitalized, especially in corporate writing intended for an internal readership:
- the Institute
- the Board
- the Party
- He worked for the Company for almost forty years.
- The document was forwarded to the Regional Office.
In second and subsequent references, short forms may be treated generically and lower cased:
- He was invited to address the Second Annual Conference on Biotechnology but declined because the conference was not sufficiently broad in scope.
- She applied for a grant under the External Scholars Program, but only graduate students were eligible under the program.
Copyright notice for Writing Tips Plus
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada