top of page

Governor General

Canada has a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. This means that Canada is a democracy where the power ultimately rests with the people, but the monarch is recognized as the official head of state. The monarch is represented in Canada by the Governor General, who acts on behalf of the Crown. The Canadian system of government is based on the Westminster parliamentary model, which was inherited from the British system of government.

The Governor General of Canada is the representative of the reigning monarch (the monarch of the United Kingdom) in Canada. The Lieutenant Governors hold similar responsibilities at the provincial level. The role is primarily ceremonial and symbolic, with a few constitutional and official responsibilities. Here are some of the key aspects of the role:

  1. Constitutional Duties: The Governor General is responsible for giving royal assent to bills passed by both houses of the Canadian Parliament, which is the final step in the legislative process before a bill becomes law.

  2. Summoning Parliament: The Governor General opens and closes sessions of Parliament. They also give the Throne Speech at the beginning of each new session, outlining the government's agenda and priorities.

  3. Executive Functions: The Governor General formally appoints the Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the political party that holds the majority of seats in the House of Commons. The Governor General also appoints members of the Cabinet on the Prime Minister's advice.

  4. Diplomatic Functions: The Governor General represents Canada at various diplomatic and ceremonial events, both domestically and internationally. They receive foreign dignitaries and ambassadors.

  5. Honours and Awards: The Governor General presents various honours and awards, such as the Order of Canada, to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions by Canadians.

  6. Commander-in-Chief: The Governor General is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, although operational control is vested in the Prime Minister and the civilian government.

  7. Custodian of the Great Seal: The Governor General is the custodian of the Great Seal of Canada, which is used to authenticate official documents and proclamations.

It's important to note that the role of the Governor General is largely non-partisan and impartial. While some functions involve interacting with the Canadian government and politics, the Governor General is expected to act in accordance with constitutional conventions and on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

Canada's honours system is a way of recognizing and celebrating individuals who have made exceptional contributions to Canadian society in a wide variety of fields, including the arts, sciences, humanities, public service, and more. The Canadian honours system is based on the principles of merit, service, and excellence, and it aims to celebrate the diversity and achievements of Canadians from all walks of life.




The Order of Canada is one of Canada's highest civilian honours, established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation. The Order of Canada recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society, from artists and athletes to scientists and public servants. There are three levels of membership in the Order of Canada:




Members of the Order of Canada are selected through a rigorous nomination process, and are chosen by an advisory council based on the merits of their achievements and contributions. Inductees are awarded a medal and a lapel pin, and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "C.C.", "O.C.", or "M.C." after their name. The Order of Canada is an important symbol of national recognition and pride, and is intended to encourage Canadians to pursue excellence in their fields and to make significant contributions to the betterment of Canadian society.

bottom of page