05/29/2015 06:21 EDT | Updated 05/29/2016 05:59 EDT

Order of Canada eastern imbalance targeted

Rideau Hall hopes to correct an imbalance in the number of Order of Canada members in eastern and western parts of the country.

P.E.I. has the most living Order of Canada members per capita of any province, and Alberta the fewest.

Denis Poirier, director of honours at the office of the governor general, said addressing the imbalance will be difficult, because the award is based on merit alone.

"There are no quotas for appointment based on any metrics, and each nomination is considered on the merit of the nominee: not on gender, not on age, and not on geography or field of experience," said Poirier.

"What we're trying to do is to see if there are outreach mechanisms that we can use to fill the gaps to better understand why people are less likely to nominate in certain provinces, and or why people are encouraged to nominate."

Order of Canada recipients are decided by an independent advisory council chaired by Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin.

Poirier says he doesn't want to see a decline in nominations or inductees from P.E.I. He said Rideau Hall will work on ways to encourage more nominations in provinces where the number of inductees is lower. 

The overhaul of the Order of Canada is part of a wider five-year, $13-million review of the Canadian honours system announced in the 2015 federal budget.