Overview

The Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is the 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.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor provides the services that are required by the Lieutenant Governor in performing her constitutional, representational and community duties. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor provides support (such as administration, strategic planning and events management) that enables the Lieutenant Governor to exercise the Crown's powers for the Legislature and the Government of Ontario, represent all Ontarians when interacting with important visitors from outside Ontario and abroad, and recognize excellence and achievements through Ontario's honours system.

Mandate

To provide services to support the Lieutenant Governor in fulfilling her constitutional, representational and community responsibilities.

The Program provides services that support the Lieutenant Governor in performing her constitutional duties, including:

  • Appointment of the Premier
  • Appointment of Cabinet ministers on the advice of the Premier
  • Ratification of Orders-in-Council recommended by Cabinet
  • Summoning, proroguing and dissolving the Legislature
  • Granting Royal Assent to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly.

The Program also enables the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to plan and implement the many activities and programs undertaken by the Lieutenant Governor across Ontario and abroad. These activities and programs focus on recognizing excellence and achievements of Ontarians and promoting reconciliation, unity and identity of Ontarians. In addition, the Program supports the Lieutenant Governor in fulfilling her duties in all aspects of Ontario’s honours system, including the Order of Ontario, several Ontario medals and awards, and various Lieutenant Governor’s awards.

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. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor provides services that support the Lieutenant Governor in fulfiling her constitutional duties. These services include administration, strategic planning and events management.

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 Office of the Lieutenant Governor enables the Lieutenant Governor to:

  • Ensure that Ontario always has a Premier who commands the confidence of the Legislative Assembly
  • Appoint members of the Executive Council (Cabinet ministers) on the advice of the Premier
  • Read the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of a parliamentary session
  • Grant Royal Assent, the final step of the legislative process, to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly
  • Summon, prorogue and dissolve the Legislature on the advice of the Premier
  • Order elections to the Legislative Assembly on the advice of Cabinet, in accordance with the Election Act
  • Approve 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.

Statistics

In 2021-22, the Lieutenant Governor approved 1,892 Orders-in-Council including 231 emergency orders responding to the COVID-19 global pandemic:

  • 88 proclamations (22% increase from 2020-21)
  • 724 regulations (25% increase from 2020-21) including 231 emergency orders
  • 146 Great Seal letters patent and lease letters patent issued under the Public Lands Act
  • 121 Great Seal letters patent under the Mining Act
  • 29 Deputy Minister appointments
  • 49 Justice of the Peace appointments
  • 16 Provincial Judges’ appointments

The Lieutenant Governor granted Royal Assent 24 times to a total of 70 bills.

Diplomatic engagement

The Lieutenant Governor met in-person and virtually with 23 members of the diplomatic corps throughout 2021-22:

  1. Consul General of the Republic of Korea (twice)
  2. Consul General of Argentina (twice)
  3. Consul General of the Czech Republic
  4. Consul General of Israel
  5. Consul General of India
  6. Consul General of Costa Rica
  7. Consul General of El Salvador
  8. Consul General of Afghanistan
  9. Consul General of Indonesia (twice)
  10. Ambassador of Ireland (twice)
  11. Consul General of Bangladesh
  12. Consul General of the Netherlands
  13. Ambasador of Estonia
  14. Consul General of the Philippines
  15. Honorary Consul General of St. Kitts and Nevis
  16. Consul General of Ghana
  17. High Commissioner of Sri Lanka
  18. Consul General of Cuba
  19. Ambassador of Panama
  20. Ambassador of Japan
  21. Consul General of Poland
  22. Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire
  23. Consul General of Ukraine

Administrator

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 the 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. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor supports the Lieutenant Governor in planning and implementing activities and programs to recognize Ontarians through the honours system.

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 COVID-19 pandemic caused a number of awards programs to be delayed in 2020-21. In 2021-22 the Lieutenant Governor was able to present several awards in person and virtually. These include the James K. Bartleman Awards, the Pauline McGibbon Awards, the David C. Onley Awards, the Hilary M. Weston Awards, and the Lincoln M. Alexander Awards.

The Lieutenant Governor 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 vice-regal 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.

COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered the Lieutenant Governor’s routine programming and the activities of the Office. As the pandemic continued in the fiscal year 2021-22, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor continued to support the Lieutenant Governor by shifting to remote and virtual programming where necessary. This allowed for engagement with a maximum number of Ontarians around the province and ensured vital voices were heard and amplified.

Community involvement

The Lieutenant Governor actively promotes reconciliation efforts with First Nations, Metis and Inuit people throughout the province. This includes meeting with Indigenous leaders, elders and knowledge keepers and bearing witness to traditional ceremonies. On September 30, 2021, the Lieutenant Governor attended events marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

The Lieutenant Governor also lends support to initiatives bearing the name of the 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 the 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.

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), democracy, and Ontario in the World. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor leads the planning and administration of the Lieutenant Governor’s community and international engagements.

Throughout her mandate, the Lieutenant Governor has sought out opportunities to engage with Ontarians and support sustainability initiatives while raising awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In July 2021, a one-day virtual conference was held to highlight Ontarians who are championing sustainability and to bring together individuals, organizations, educational institutions, and government representatives from across the province. The “Shaping Sustainability in Ontario Conference” consisted of 5-panel discussions, three Ted Talks, and three performances and took place over the course of one day via live stream. The audience included provincial and federal government employees, political leaders, and members of the public.

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 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 vice-regal patronage by serving as honorary patron of many non-profit organizations and registered charities.

Engagement statistics:

During the fiscal year 2021-22, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor supported the Lieutenant Governor’s participation in 605 public engagements reaching all corners of the province and Ontarians of all backgrounds and ages. This included:

  • 500 public engagements in the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite
  • 105 public engagements in the Community

Engagements in 2021-22 included the following:

  • Leading the provincial recognition and mourning of the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh in person and virtually.
  • Making a visit to the City of London Ontario in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a Muslim family. The Lieutenant Governor met with members of the Muslim community and thanked residents for coming together in a time of need.
  • Hosting a panel discussion with the Quarter Century Club to recognize leaders of the Ontario Public Service whose work was instrumental to the province’s response to the pandemic.
  • Attending a Remembrance Day service in the Town of Scugog, and meeting with local veterans and community members.
  • Inviting mayors across the province to request a video from the Lieutenant Governor for their Canada Day Zoom events, resulting in a full day of pre-recorded messages reaching tens of thousands of Ontarians in all parts of the province.

As part of supporting the municipal order of government and learning about local issues, the Lieutenant Governor visited 19 Ontario communities: Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, London, Vaughan, Oakville, Waterloo, Caledon, North Bay, Haldimand County, Stratford, Orangeville, Centre Wellington, Scugog, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Brighton, and Erin.

Communicating with Ontarians

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor continues to prioritize the modernization of official communications with Ontarians. Examples and results of this work include the following:

  • The Lieutenant Governor’s website continues to incorporate routine updates reflecting the Lieutenant Governor’s activity schedule.
  • The section of the website including information about the Lieutenant Governor’s constitutional responsibilities and the role of the Crown in Ontario is widely consulted by the media, students and the public.
  • The Lieutenant Governor maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
  • The Lieutenant Governor recorded 122 video messages that were broadcast as part of events around Ontario.
  • The Lieutenant Governor provides special event messages to charitable organizations and congratulatory greetings to Ontarians celebrating birthdays (90 years and older) and anniversaries (50 years and longer). In 2021-22, the Office provided 70 event messages and 4,097 greetings.
  • Since the withdrawal of Canadian and international troops from Afghanistan in 2021, the Lieutenant Governor has spent time meeting with newly arrived refugees and welcoming them to Ontario.
Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2022-23 ($M)
Account type$M
COVID-19 approvals0.0
Operating1.9
Capital0.0
Total1.9

Legislation

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
Vote/ProgramEstimates 2022-23
$
Change from estimates 2021-22
$
Change from estimates 2021-22
%
Estimates 2021-22
$
Interim actuals 2021-22
$
Actuals 2020-21
$
Operating expense
office of the lieutenant governor
1,903,50000.01,903,5001,903,5001,503,866
Less: special warrants000.0000
Total operating expense to be voted1,903,50000.01,903,5001,903,5001,503,866
Special warrants000.0000
Total operating expense1,903,50000.01,903,5001,903,5001,503,866
Table 3: Historical trend analysis
Historical trend analysis dataActuals 2019-20
$
Actuals 2020-21
$
Estimates 2021-22
$
Estimates 2022-23
$
Total operating1,957,0111,503,8661,903,5001,903,500
Year over year change in percentage11%footnote 1-23%27%0%
Table 4: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2021-22
Account typeMinistry interim actual expenditures ($M) 2021-22footnote 2
COVID-19 approvals0.0
Operating1.9
Capital0.0
Staff strengthfootnote 3
(as of March 31, 2022)
11.0

For additional financial information, see:

Expenditure Estimates

Public Accounts of Ontario

2022 Budget

Organization chart

  • Lieutenant Governor
    • Chief of Staff and Private Secretary
      • Executive Assistant*
      • Director, Research and Strategic Analysis (Vacant)
      • Chief Steward
        • Support Service Worker (P/T)
        • Assistant Chief Steward (On Call Basis)
      • Manager, Event Operations
      • Senior Advisor, Program & Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program & Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program & Events (Vacant)
      • Senior Advisor, Communications & Events
      • Senior Advisor, Research and Communications
      • Administrative Assistant