I'd been thinking lately about how some states have a state flag and then a different country flag. Germany for example has a presidential banner, a state flag, and a separate country flag. The state flag simply adds the German coat of arms in the middle of the country flag. By law, only federal government buildings can fly the state flag and anyone else can face a fine for flying it; though that seems a little extreme in my opinion.
Regardless though, I still see a benefit to promoting an unofficial country flag and relegating the state flag to official purposes only. Firstly, it promotes public respect for the government. Secondly, it reminds the government to circumscribe the breadth of the official realm to public matters only. This is especially important today as the state contemplates legislating pronoun use in government institutions for example.
Though Canada recognizes an official Royal Banner and an official state flag, it has no separate country flag and so the state flag has come to fill the void on people's lawns and at Canada-Day celebrations for example. Symbolically, one could understand this as overreach of the official realm into the unofficial.
Prior to 1965, the Union Jack served as Canada's official flag. Unfortunately, it did a poor job of distinguishing between Canada and the UK whenever that distinction was needed. To fix that problem and in the absence of an alternative official state flag, the Government of Canada made official use of the Canadian Red Ensign from the start of Confederation onward but without ever conferring an official status on the flag itself.
Ironically, even though the Union Jack remained the official state flag, Canada seldom used it since Confederation, preferring instead to fly the unofficial Canadian Red Ensign on the Peace Tower and on Federal Government buildings with the Union Jack (the official flag) having flown only briefly on the Peace Tower after the Boer Wars as a result of public pressure). In spite of extensive official use including in the two world wars, the Government had conferred an official status only on the use of the Canadian Red Ensign, but the flag itself always remained an unofficial and so merely de facto flag of Canada.
This combination of the Canadian Red Ensign enjoying a long history in Canada, but without ever having enjoyed an official status (even if its use had), seems to make it an ideal unofficial country flag of Canada for those who see a value in promoting an unofficial country flag that distinguishes itself from the official state flag.