The crest rests on a background of pale silver surrounded by a blue palisade, edged with gold; a red maple leaf is centred in the palisade. The royal crown sits atop the crest.
The blue and gold tinctures provide the historical links with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which, prior to the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on 16 July 1984, was responsible for security intelligence activities throughout Canada. The style of palisade alludes to a structure used as a defensive measure and, in this instance with its four larger points, draws attention to the major areas of security operations for which the Service has been given responsibility under the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. The maple leaf on the white field may be traced to the flag of Canada where the maple leaf is described as being on a Canadian pale.
On January 15, 2007, the Badge (crest) of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was registered in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. A notice of registration was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on March 17, 2007.
Heraldry - an emblematic form of identification - first appeared in 12th century Europe when knights began painting their shields to identify themselves while wearing full armour. Gradually, monarchs took control of the official granting and use of coats of arms, which allowed them to honour people and groups. Heraldry in the European tradition came to Canada with the voyages of the French and English explorers in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Canada and each of the provinces were granted coats of arms through the British heraldic authorities.
On June 4, 1988, then Governor General Jeanne Sauvé authorized the creation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, thereby establishing an indigenous Canadian mechanism for granting coats of arms to Canadians and for promoting Canadian heraldic symbols. Headed by the Governor General of Canada, the Authority is responsible for:
The Authority also encourages good heraldic practice in Canada by working to the highest standards of the art form and by developing research and registration procedures that are consistent with an international level of excellence. For more information on heraldry and the Canadian Heraldic Authority, please visit the website of the Governor General of Canada at www.gg.ca.