On June 4, 2008, Canada established official relations with the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, through an exchange of letters between Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Order’s Grand Master.
Founded in 1048 as a monastic community dedicated to helping the sick and the needy, the Order was originally known as the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Through the Middle Ages, it evolved into a religious and military chivalrous order of the Roman Catholic Church and is commonly known today as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). It is the sole successor to the original Order of 1048.
The Order continues its medical and humanitarian work today, helping victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters by providing medical assistance, caring for refugees, and distributing medicines and basic equipment for survival. Through its development assistance program, Canada works with the Order in many parts of the world, in particular for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See is Canada’s official point of contact with the Order. The Diplomatic, Consular and Other Representatives in Canada publication lists "SMOM - Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Canadian Association" in the section "International Organizations and Other Offices."