Follow these rules for capitalization on B.C. government websites.
When bulleted or numbered list items begin with words, always capitalize the first word of each item (see Lists for more information). This rule overrides the capitalization rules that follow.
If you are unsure of the capitalization of a particular word that isn't covered here, check a Canadian Oxford dictionary or the Canadian Press (CP) Style Guide.
Capitalize proper nouns.
- Dr. June Jones
- Professor Smith
Do not capitalize common nouns.
- We met with our doctor and the professor
Capitalize a quote or an independent question within a sentence.
- The premier said, “We’re taking the next step in climate leadership by engaging with British Columbians."
There are several species in the deer family in the province:
- Mule deer
- Fallow deer
Capitalize proper names of educational courses, but lowercase course names when speaking in general terms.
- I finished Biology 101 last spring
- I’m taking a biology course this summer
Capitalize awards, honours and decorations.
- Governor General's Award
- Order of Canada
- Victoria Cross
Capitalize the full names of acts.
- Victims of Crime Act
Capitalize Indigenous and First Nations at all times.
Capitalize Internet but lowercase intranet.
Do not capitalize website, web page or webcast (see more about word usage).
Capitalize street names except when referring to two or more. Abbreviate in addresses with a number. (See more about abbreviations.)
- Douglas Street, Hillside Avenue
- Douglas and Blanshard streets
- 1006 Douglas St.
Capitalize proper names of well-known buildings, bridges, parks, roads and other manufactured features.
- Johnson Street Bridge
- Inside the Douglas Building
- Beacon Hill Park
Capitalize West Coast, the West, the Interior, the Island, Lower Mainland, the North, the Northeast when referring to regions. Lowercase west coast of Vancouver Island, the B.C. coast.
Capitalize north, south, east and west when they designate a region or part of a proper name but not when they reference a general direction or location.
- North Vancouver, West Vancouver
- We went north on Douglas Street and turned east on Fort Street
Capitalize the word province only when it refers to the government of the province.
- The Province of British Columbia
- Victoria is the capital of the province
See the Headings section.
Capitalize the names of companies, schools, associations, boards, alliances and coalitions.
- Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
- Mount Douglas Secondary
- University of Northern British Columbia
Words such as department, division, centre and program are only capitalized when they are part of the formal title.
- The Victoria Police Department will announce the new police chief this month
- The police department sponsors a youth program to keep young people off the street
Capitalize superior courts but not lower courts.
- The Supreme Court overturned the verdict of the provincial court
Capitalize a specific name but use lower case for generic names.
- Contact the Strategic Human Resources Branch for more information
- Contact your human resources office for more information
- Pamphlets are available at any Consumer Taxation Branch office
- Information is available at any branch office
Capitalize proper ministry names but use lower case for generic or plural. Use lower case for a reference to a specific ministry that doesn't include its name.
- The Ministry of Finance is led by the Minister of Finance. The ministry's mission is to serve British Columbians
- Ministry of Citizens' Services, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- The justice and natural resource ministries
- Typically, government natural resource ministries manage groundwater
Use lower case for the following:
- The cabinet
- The B.C. legislature
- Provincial parliament
- The house (unless referring to federal Parliament), its committees and subcommittees
- Various ministry departments
- Local government councils, departments and boards
- A speech from the throne or throne speech
Capitalize Crown when referring to the state.
- Crown land
- Crown counsel
- Crown corporation
- The Crown dropped the charges
Capitalize full names of royal commissions, but not when the reference is generic.
- Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations (Rowell-Sirois Commission)
- The royal commission was set up to look into the Canadian economy and federal-provincial relations
Full names of acts are capitalized but not italicized. The words “section” and “regulation” are lower case unless part of the full title.
- Energy Efficiency Act
- The act defines energy efficiency
- These notes concern the new energy act
Capitalize the title of a project, committee, publication, document or form when you write the entire title. Use lower case when only part of the title is cited.
Don’t italicize the names of publications and forms.
- Neighbourhood Enhancement Grant
- The neighbourhood grants
When a title is used with a person’s name, it should be capitalized.
- President McDougall, President Jane McDougall
When the title is used without the name, or is set off by a comma, it should be lower case unless the title is a high-ranking federal, provincial or international official.
- Jane McDougall, president of McDougall Publications
- Finance Minister, Janet Jones
- Cabinet members, the Prime Minister, the Member of Parliament, the Attorney General, the President, the Pope, the Queen
Do not capitalize titles of lesser federal, provincial or local governments when they follow or replace a personal name.
Lowercase occupational titles and job descriptions.
- The senior business analyst or procurement specialist
Capitalize ministers' titles at all times. This is an exception to CP Style, which says titles should be capitalized only when they precede the minister’s name.
To minimize the number of exceptions to CP Style, avoid referring to “the Premier” or “the Minister of X” on second reference. For ministers, use their names instead.
Lowercase government job titles for everybody below cabinet rank such as deputy minister of health, deputy to the premier, chief forester, ombudsperson, auditor general.
Lowercase for titles preceded by “former” or “acting” such as "acting prime minister", "former premier".
Capitalize common names of birds, as they are standardized. Do not capitalize the common names of anything else unless there is a proper noun in the name.
- Northern Flicker, American Robin, Marbled Murrelet
- Sea otter, California sea lion, cabbage white butterfly
- Anderson’s holly fern, step moss, fragrant popcorn flower
Capitalize genus but not species when using scientific names.
- Rangifer tarandus, Castor canidensis
Never write sentences, titles, headings or paragraphs in all caps.