Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, is Sovereign and head of state, represented in Ontario by the Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor is empowered with the constitutional and representational responsibilities of the Crown in the province.

The Governor General-in-Council appoints the Lieutenant Governor, whose salary is paid by the federal government. The provincial government provides support to the Lieutenant Governor, with some limited financial resources for hospitality and travel also available from the federal government.

The Lieutenant Governor’s role consists of several key responsibilities including representing the Crown in Ontario, supporting community initiatives, recognizing excellence, and demonstrating public leadership.


The Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is Sovereign and head of state, and is represented in Ontario by the Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor is empowered with the constitutional and representational responsibilities of the Crown in the province.

In the constitutional role, the Lieutenant Governor represents The Queen, appoints as Premier the party leader having the confidence of the Legislative Assembly, swears in the Executive Council, outlines the government’s plans in the Speech from the Throne, provides the Royal Assent needed for bills to become law, approves Orders-in-Council and appointments recommended by Cabinet and summons, prorogues and dissolves the Legislature on the advice of the Premier.

In the representational and community role, the Lieutenant Governor represents the people of Ontario and acts as the province’s official host, welcoming royalty, heads of state, world leaders and members of the diplomatic corps.

The Lieutenant Governor promotes and highlights issues of continuing interest to vice-regal office holders, including the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, Canadian Forces, good citizenship, the arts and volunteerism. The Lieutenant Governor also promotes and emphasizes issues of personal interest, currently focused on sustainable development and Ontario in the world.

Major functions

Representing the Crown in Ontario

Canada is a constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Sovereign and head of state. In Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor is The Queen’s representative while the Premier is the head of government. In Canada’s system of parliamentary democracy, the head of state (commonly called the Crown) holds supreme power on behalf of the people and lends it to be exercised by the government of the day.

Powers and responsibilities

In Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor exercises the powers of the Crown, which derive from the written constitution, constitutional conventions and statute law. These powers are similar to those of The Queen or Governor General with regard to Parliament and the federal government.

The Lieutenant Governor:

  • Ensures that Ontario always has a Premier who commands the confidence of the Legislative Assembly
  • Appoints members of the Executive Council (Cabinet ministers) on the advice of the Premier
  • Reads the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of a parliamentary session
  • Grants Royal Assent, the final step of the legislative process, to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly
  • Summons, prorogues and dissolves the Legislature on the advice of the Premier
  • Orders elections to the Legislative Assembly on the advice of Cabinet, in accordance with the Election Act
  • Approves government business such as regulations and public appointments by signing Orders-in-Council on the advice of Cabinet

The Lieutenant Governor remains strictly nonpartisan in carrying out these constitutional duties. In doing so, the Lieutenant Governor ensures that the democratic will of Ontarians and their elected representatives is upheld and that the constitutional conventions of responsible government are respected.


In 2019-20, the Lieutenant Governor approved 1,963 Orders-in-Council in relation to various matters, including:

  • 41 proclamations,
  • 340 regulations,
  • 202 Great Seal letters patent and lease letters patent issued under the Public Lands Act,
  • 93 Great Seal letters patent under the Mining Act,
  • certificates for 2 Ministers,
  • 36 Parliamentary Assistant appointments,
  • 27 Deputy Minister appointments,
  • 2 Justice of the Peace appointments,
  • 50 OPP appointments, and
  • 16 Provincial Judges’ appointments

The Lieutenant Governor granted Royal Assent 10 times to a total of 31 bills.


In the event that the Lieutenant Governor is absent, ill or unable to act, the Administrator of the Government of Ontario may execute the office and functions of Lieutenant Governor.

In December 2017, the Governor General-in-Council approved an order-in-council appointing the Chief Justice of Ontario and other judges of the courts of Ontario, in order of seniority, to act as Administrator.

Honouring achievement

As the Crown’s representative, the Lieutenant Governor plays an important role in recognizing Ontarians through the honours system. Honours and awards strengthen the fabric of Ontario’s communities and shape the aspirations of Ontarians. They are a way to formally and publicly acknowledge the excellence, achievements and contributions of role models from all walks of life.

During presentation ceremonies throughout the year, the Lieutenant Governor takes great pride in recognizing people who have made a difference to their communities.

As Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the annual investiture of new members. The Lieutenant Governor also serves as honorary chair of the Ontario Honours Advisory Council and presides annually at the presentation ceremonies of Ontario’s several medal programs:

  • Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
  • Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers
  • Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery
  • Ontario Medal for Police Bravery

The Lieutenant Governor also presents Ontario’s official awards:

  • Ontario Senior Achievement Award
  • Lincoln M. Alexander Award (for efforts to eradicate racial discrimination)
  • James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award
  • Hilary M. Weston Scholarship (for graduate level social work students in the area of mental health)
  • David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility

Successive Lieutenant Governors have created awards programs in partnership with independent organizations to recognize achievements in fields of endeavour, including:

  • Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards (Ontario Heritage Trust)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Marketing Excellence in Ontario (Economic Developers Council of Ontario)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration (Institute of Public Administration of Canada in Ontario)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Cup (sport horse breeding), (Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines (Ontario Wine Awards)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Distinguished Service Award (Royal Ontario Museum)
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Design Excellence in Architecture (Ontario Association of Architects)

The Lieutenant Governor also honours Ontarians receiving awards from community organizations, such as Scouts Canada (The Queen’s Venturer Award), The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, St. John Ambulance and organizations with viceregal patronage.

The Lieutenant Governor may also present national honours, including the Order of Canada, bravery decorations, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers and commemorative medals, on behalf of the Governor General.

Community involvement

The Lieutenant Governor lends the prestige of the office in support of important initiatives, promoting dialogue and bringing issues into the public consciousness in keeping with her adopted areas of focus: sustainability (including its interrelated components of inclusive economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social cohesion) and Ontario in the World. She actively engages people across Ontario and internationally in meaningful dialogue about what they can contribute and learn from others in meeting the common challenges of our interconnected world.

The Lieutenant Governor is committed to fostering a culture of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Ontario, regularly meeting with representatives of Indigenous communities and ensuring Indigenous representation at events whenever possible.

The Lieutenant Governor also lends support to initiatives bearing the name of her office, such as the Lieutenant Governor’s Games at Variety Village (a daylong sporting event for youth of all abilities) and the Lieutenant Governor’s Indigenous Summer Reading Camps, which are administered by literacy organization Frontier College.

The Lieutenant Governor engages with young people in the province through participation in several model parliaments and regularly meets with those serving in the Ontario Legislative Page Program.

In addition to these initiatives, the Lieutenant Governor hosts or attends hundreds of engagements each year (either at Queen’s Park or elsewhere), promoting volunteerism, encouraging community service and supporting worthwhile causes.

The Lieutenant Governor also maintains active relationships with members of the uniformed services through honorary appointments (Colonel of the Regiment of The Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment), her aides-de-camp and volunteers and by traditional attendance at ceremonies honouring veterans and first responders.

The Lieutenant Governor continues the longstanding tradition of granting viceregal patronage by serving as honorary patron of many non-profit organizations and registered charities.

Highlight: Civic visits

In 2019-20, the Lieutenant Governor conducted official visits to the following communities:

  1. Peterborough (April 3)
  2. Brant (April 5)
  3. Belleville (April 12)
  4. Bradford West Gwillimbury (April 16)
  5. Welland (May 3)
  6. Georgian Bay (May 30)
  7. Clarence-Rockland (May 30)
  8. Niagara Falls (August 26)
  9. Orangeville (November 11)
  10. Collingwood (February 4)

Communicating with Ontarians

The Lieutenant Governor continues to prioritize the modernization of official communications with Ontarians.

  • The Lieutenant Governor’s website continues to incorporate routine updates reflecting her activity schedule.
  • The section of the website including information about the Lieutenant Governor’s constitutional responsibilities and the role of the Crown in Ontario continues to be widely consulted by the media, students and the public.
  • The Lieutenant Governor continues to maintain active accounts on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
  • The Lieutenant Governor continues to provide special event messages to charitable organizations and congratulatory greetings to Ontarians celebrating birthdays (90 years and older) and anniversaries (50 years and longer).
Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2020-21 ($M)
Account typeAmount ($M)
COVID‑19 Approvals0.0


The Constitution Act, 1867, as well as Federal and Provincial legislation directly governs the operation of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The Ontario Provincial legislation applying to this office is the Lieutenant Governor Act.

Lieutenant Governor Act
R.S.O. 1990, Chapter L.13

Powers vested in Lieutenant Governor

  1. In matters within the jurisdiction of the Legislature, all powers, authorities and functions that, in respect of like matters, were vested in or exercisable by the governors or lieutenant governors of the several provinces now forming part of Canada or any of the provinces, under commissions, instructions or otherwise, at or before the passing of the Constitution Act, 1867, are, so far as the Legislature has power thus to enact, vested in and exercisable by the Lieutenant Governor or Administrator for the time being of the Province of Ontario, in the name of Her Majesty or otherwise as the case requires, subject always to the Royal Prerogative as heretofore. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.13, s. 1.

Power to remit sentences

  1. Section 1 shall be deemed to include the power of commuting and remitting sentences for offences against the laws of Ontario or offences over which the legislative authority of the Province of Ontario extends. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.13, s. 2.

Lieutenant Governor a Corporation Sole

  1. The Lieutenant Governor for the time being is a corporation sole, and all bonds, recognizances and other instruments by law required to be taken to the Lieutenant Governor in his or her public capacity shall be taken to him or her by the name of the office of Lieutenant Governor, and may be sued for and recovered by him or her by the name of the office of Lieutenant Governor, and the same shall not in any case go to or vest in the personal representatives of the Lieutenant Governor during whose government the same were so taken. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.13, s. 3.

Power to appoint deputies for certain purposes

  1. The Lieutenant Governor may, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, from time to time, appoint any person or persons, jointly or severally, to be his or her deputy or deputies for Ontario or any part or parts thereof, for the purpose of executing marriage licences, money warrants and commissions under any Act of the Legislature. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.13, s. 4.

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Operating summary by vote
Standard AccountEstimates 2020-21 $Change from Estimates 2019-20 $Change from Estimates 2019-20 %Estimates 2019-20 $Interim Actuals 2019-20 $Actuals 2018-19 $
Operating expense Office of the Lieutenant Governor1,903,50000.0%1,903,5001,903,5001,759,036
Less: special warrants000.0%000
Total operating expense to be voted1,903,50000.0%1,903,5001,903,5001,759,036
Special warrants000.0%000
Total operating expense1,903,50000.0%1,903,5001,903,5001,759,036
Table 3: Historical trend analysis
Historic Trend Analysis DataActuals 2017-18 $Actuals 2018-19 $Estimates 2019-20 $Estimates 2020-21 $
Total Operating1,726,5031,759,0361,903,5001,903,500
Year over Year Change in PercentageN/A1.9%8.2%0.0%
Table 4: Interim actual expenditures 2019-20
Account typeMinistry interim actual expenditures ($M) 2019-20 *
COVID‑19 approvals0.0
Staff strength** (as of March 31, 2020)10.0

* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update.

** LG Full-Time Equivalent positions

For additional financial information, see:
Expenditure Estimates
Public Accounts of Ontario: past editions
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19

Organization chart

  • Lieutenant Governor
    • Chief of Staff and Private Secretary
      • OPP Sergeant & Detective Constables (Roster of 25 officers)
      • 43 Aides-de-Camp (Volunteers) and 13 Lady Volunteers
      • Executive Assistant
      • Director, Research and Strategic Analysist
      • Chief Steward
        • Support Service Worker
        • Part-time Chief Steward
        • Casual Stewards (7)
    • Manager, Event Operations
    • Senior Advisor, Program & Events
    • Senior Advisor, Program & Events
    • Senior Advisor, Program & Events
    • Senior Advisor, Communications & Events
    • Senior Advisor, Research and Communications
      • Speechwriters
    • Administrative Assistant
    • Part-time Office Assistant
    • Summer Intern