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capitalization: names of institutions

Capitalize the official names of organized churches (religious denominations, sects, orders) and their adherents; universities and schools; school boards; courts of law; clubs; corporations; unions; alliances; associations; political parties; etc.:

  • the First Baptist Church
  • the University of Manitoba
  • Lisgar Collegiate Institute
  • the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
  • the International Court of Justice
  • the Supreme Court of Canada
  • the Quebec Superior Court
  • the Rotary Club
  • Canadian Airlines International
  • the Canadian Medical Association
  • the New Democratic Party
  • the Opposition (official)

Note: The official capitalization is that used by the institution itself.

Also capitalize the names of administrative subdivisions of these institutions:

  • the Department of Political Science
  • the Toronto Synod

Short forms

Capitalize short forms that use only the specifying element:

  • This afternoon, Concordia and Western will play in the final.

Generic short forms

As a rule, 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:

  • The university is our town’s major employer.
  • Our family attended a Baptist church regularly.
  • Every board of education in the province has adjourned for the season.
  • She tries to attend all board meetings.
  • Only strict adherence to the party line was tolerated.

However, if the short form refers to a specific, unique institution, it retains the upper case when used as a noun or an adjective:

  • The Scouts held a rally over the weekend.
  • A city-wide Red Cross blood drive replenished the hospital’s supply.

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.


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.

Internal readership

Documents intended for an internal readership often capitalize terms that would be lower-cased in writings of a general nature:

  • He worked for the Company for almost forty years.
  • The document was forwarded to the Regional Office.
  • The Institute received a substantial research grant.
  • The issue was discussed at a meeting of the Board.
  • The Party is gearing up for the election campaign.