"No job is more important, and few are as difficult or as dangerous," Toews told the thousands of police and military personnel who attended the 35th annual event in Ottawa on Sunday.
"We recognize that they put their lives on the line every day so that the rest of us can live in peace and security," he said.
"Police and peace officers are heroes whose loss is felt by all."
Officers from as far away as the United Kingdom stood in the mist to remember their lost comrades. And the crowds who flanked the south lawn of Parliament Hill made sure it wasn't only politicians showing their appreciation.
As the officers marched past the crowds in formation, spontaneous applause broke out from the umbrella-carrying onlookers, much in the same way that people applaud war veterans at the conclusion of annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Jim Chu, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said all officers hope that no one will be added to the list of officers who have died on duty.
"Sadly this year our wish is not fulfilled," said Chu.
"We are here with the reality that we cannot change the course of events and we cannot control our destiny."
The name of Constable Vincent Roy of the Bromont, Que., Police Service was etched in a glass panel that stands at the Memorial Pavilion in the nation's capital, which now carries the names of 826 fallen officers.
Roy was struck and killed during a routine traffic stop on December 1, 2011.
No officer expects that handing someone a traffic ticket will get them killed. But that’s what happened, in broad daylight on a clear stretch of Highway 139, about 100 kilometres east of Montreal where a vehicle lost control, hit his police cruiser and then hit Roy.
Roy, who was new to the Bromont force, died at the scene.
Just prior to being killed, he had returned to Bromont and joined his home town force after serving with the RCMP in Alberta for a year and a half.
The 2012 memorial service also recognized historical deaths of police officers.
_ Staff Sergeant George H. Bossange, killed June 21, 1919 as a member of the Royal North West Mounted Police, a force that was merged with Dominion Police in 1920 to the current Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
_ Constable George Armstrong who died while on duty with the Nipigon Police in northern Ontario on July 18, 1919.
_ Ontario Provincial Police County Constable Harry Fordham, who died February 2, 1942.