Maintaining the Protocols & Traditions of UBC

Ceremonies and Events functions as the Protocol Office of The University of British Columbia. Not only does Ceremonies & Events maintain the protocols and traditions of the University, it is also responsible for protocol expertise for special international visitors to the campus such as Her Majesty the Queen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Emperor and Empress of Japan, as well as Canadian dignitaries including the Governor-General, the Lieutenant-Governor of BC and senior government officials.

Ceremonies and Events works very closely with the Offices of the President, Vice-Presidents, International and Government Relations in ensuring that the appropriate attention is paid to visits of Canadian and international dignitaries to the Vancouver campus.

The Ceremonies and Events office in Vancouver also provides support and expertise to the Ceremonies & Events office at the Okanagan campus for similar high-level visits.

VIP Visits

Usually, Ceremonies and Events is made aware of visits of high-ranking officials through the President’s Office or the BC Protocol Office. Occasionally, departments or faculties initiate an invitation to a high-level official and the invitation is accepted. It is preferable if Ceremonies and Events can be brought into the planning for such a visit prior to the invitation being extended. However, as early as possible in the planning, Ceremonies and Events should be advised and engaged for advice and guidance. Depending on the official and the nature of the visit, the Ceremonies Office may assist with the coordination.

Ceremonies and Events also provides guidance regarding general protocol questions such as flags, staging, order of precedence, speaking order and seating.

Flag Protocol

Ceremonies and Events is responsible for the protocol around the use of and (when required) the lowering of the Canadian and BC, UBC and Musqueam flags on campus.

For the Rules for Flying the Canadian Flag, visit the Canadian Heritage site.

The rules for flying other flags are based on the Rules for Flying the Canadian Flag. Please contact Ceremonies and Events if you have questions regarding flag protocol or if you wish to borrow flags for your campus event. See the Event Resources page for more details.

Guidelines for Acknowledging Musqueam Band and other Indigenous Nations

Guidelines have been developed to provide instruction for campus units on when and how to engage the Musqueam representatives at in person events and ceremonies on campus:

PDF – Guidelines – Acknowledging the Musqueam People at Ceremonies and Events

In consultation with colleagues at Musqueam and the Syilx Okanagan Nation, and at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, UBC Ceremonies & Events has developed the following land acknowledgements to be used during the COVID-19 period for virtual events.  Please include these acknowledgements in your virtual events where you would have otherwise included a land acknowledgement during an in-person event or gathering:

PDF- Guidelines – Land Acknowledgments at Virtual Ceremonies and Events

For more information about these protocols and the language used:


To learn more about why we acknowledge the Musqueam Territory, please follow this link to short videos:

UBC Honorary Degree Protocol

Each year, UBC awards honorary degrees to individuals who reflect the university’s vision to inspire people, ideas and actions for a better world and who have made substantial contributions to society. Guidelines have been developed to provide information to the UBC community and honorary degree holders on how and when to refer to the honour in title and style of address.

PDF – Titles, Styles and Address for Honorary Degree Recipients 

For more information about UBC’s Honorary Degree recipients, please visit our graduation website.