Overview

The King of Canada, His Majesty King Charles III, 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 their 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 their constitutional, representational and community responsibilities.

The Program provides services that support the Lieutenant Governor in performing their 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 their 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 King as Sovereign and head of state. In Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor is the King’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 their 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 King 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 2022-23, the Lieutenant Governor approved 1,379 Orders-in-Council. This included:

  • 23 Deputy Minister appointments
  • 28 Justice of the Peace appointments
  • 13 Provincial Judges’ appointments (plus 3 Associate Judges and 1 Regional Judge appointments)

Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor signed:

  • 4 emergency orders
  • 40 proclamations
  • 186 regulations
  • 72 Great Seal letters and lease letters (patent issued under the Public Lands Act)
  • 82 Great Seal letters (patent under the Mining Act)

The Lieutenant Governor granted Royal Assent 19 times.

Diplomatic engagement

The Lieutenant Governor met with 21 members of the diplomatic corps throughout 2022-23:

  1. Ambassador of Latvia
  2. Chief Representative of Palestinian Delegation to Canada
  3. Ambassador of Portugal
  4. Consul General of St. Lucia
  5. Consul General of the Netherlands and Dutch Agri-Food delegation
  6. Consul General of Italy
  7. Consul General of Greece
  8. Consul General of Bangladesh
  9. Consul General of Ireland
  10. Consul General of Chile
  11. Consul General of the United Kingdom
  12. High Commissioner of the United Kingdom
  13. High Commissioner of Kenya
  14. Ambassador of Kosovo
  15. Ambassador of Austria
  16. Ambassador of Moldova
  17. The Ambassadors of various Francophonie nations visiting Toronto
  18. Consul General Portugal
  19. High Commissioner and Consul General of Australia
  20. Minister of State for Northern Ireland
  21. Consul General of Croatia

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 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.

The Lieutenant Governor honours Ontarians receiving awards from community organizations, such as Scouts Canada (The King’s Venturer Award), The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, St. John Ambulance and organizations with vice-regal patronage. In 2022-23, with the gradual lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions, the Lieutenant Governor was able to resume in-person presentation of honours and awards in a routine manner.

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. In September 2022, Her Honour was joined by Indigenous leaders in unveiling the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Garden on the grounds of Queen’s Park. The garden is dedicated to the Crown-Indigenous relationship and features the first marker on the grounds of Queen’s Park written in an Indigenous language. Her Honour also attended the unveiling of an Indigenous sculpture at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto.

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 United for Literacy. 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 and the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme.

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 May 2022, Her Honour hosted a day-long symposium in the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite in partnership with the BMO Climate Institute and the Long Run Institute. The Symposium brought together senior scholars, corporate executives, and government policymakers to discuss, debate and share knowledge about how to negotiate the climate transition.

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 2022-23 fiscal year, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor supported the Lieutenant Governor’s participation in approximately 700 public engagements reaching all corners of the province and Ontarians of all backgrounds and ages.

Engagements in 2022-23 included the following:

  • Presiding over the Swearing-in Ceremony of a new government following the 43rd General Election
  • Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II
    • Hosting a large Garden Party at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto where a combination of invited guests and members of the public were able to celebrate the historic occasion of Her Majesty’s record setting reign. As part of the event, Her Honour presented Sovereign’s Medals for Volunteers to several recipients.
    • Supporting local celebrations of the Jubilee including four major regional events in the communities of Red Lake, Port Hope, Amherstburg, and Seguin.
    • Attending community Jubilee functions in Stratford, Burlington, Prescott, Warkworth (Trent Hills), Petawawa, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Waterdown (Hamilton), Merrickville-Wolford, Meaford, and Carlton Place.
    • Collaborating with other viceregal offices across Canada by spearheading the creation of a Platinum Jubilee Garden in honour of the occasion at Queen’s Park. Dedicated to the spirt of reconciliation, the garden features the first plaque on the grounds of the Legislative Assembly in an Indigeneous language.
    • Supporting numerous initiatives which received Government of Canada grants to support their celebrations.
  • Royal Visit
    • Representing the Province of Ontario during the visit to Ottawa of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, marking the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
    • Attending a discussion hosted by the Prince’s Trust focused on employment and sustainability. Her Honour later attended a reception at Rideau Hall in honour of the Prince of Wales’s visit.
  • Demise of the Crown
    • Leading all Ontarians in mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II following a historic reign of just over 70 years.
    • Presiding over an Accession Proclamation Ceremony attended by the Premier, the members of the Executive Council of Ontario and opposition leaders. The event was the province’s formal recognition of the accession of His Majesty King Charles III as King of Canada.
    • Attending memorial services in Ottawa and Toronto.
  • Attending a Remembrance Day service in the City of Toronto and meeting naval officers celebrating the centenary of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve.
  • Hosting a New Year’s Levee at the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Announcing the death of the Hon. David C. Onley, 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and supporting his Laying-in-State and State Funeral.

As part of supporting the municipal order of government and learning about local issues, the Lieutenant Governor visited 44 Ontario communities: Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, Hamilton, London, Vaughan, Oakville, Waterloo, Stratford, Centre Wellington, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Whitby, Guelph, Amherstburg, Trent Hills, Burlington, Moosonee, Richmond Hill, Petawawa, Merrickville-Wolford, Prescott, Carleton Place, Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, Red Lake, North Grenville, Seguin, St. Catharines, Peterborough, Prince Edward County, Port Hope, Markham, Thorold, Meaford, Windsor, Barrie, Midland, Huntsville, Tiny, Belleville, Renfrew, Hagersville and Malahide.

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 34 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 2022-23, the Office provided 87 event messages and 2,908 greetings.
Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2023-24 $M
Account type$M
Operating2.8
Capital0.0
Total2.8

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
2023-24
$
Change from
Estimates
2022-23
$
Change from
Estimates
2022-23
%
Estimates
2022-23
$
Interim 2022-23
$
Actuals 2021-22
$
Operating expense - Office of the Lieutenant Governor2,831,400927,90048.71,903,5002,047,8001,807,192
Less: Special warrants000.0000
Total operating expense to be voted2,831,400927,90048,71,903,5002,047,8001,807,192
Special warrants000.0000
Total operating expense2,831,400927,90048.71,903,5002,047,8001,807,192
Table 3: Historical trend analysis
Historical trend analysis dataActuals 2020-21
$
Actuals 2021-22
$
Estimates
2022-23
$
Estimates
2023-24
$
Total operating1,503,8661,807,1921,903,5002,831,400
Year over year change in percentage-23%footnote 120%5%49%
Table 4: Ministry Interim Expenditures 2022-23
Account typeMinistry interim expenditures ($M) 2022-23footnote 2
COVID-19 approvals0.0
Operating2.0
CapitalN/A
Staff strengthfootnote 3 (as of March 31, 2023)12.6

For additional financial information, see:

Expenditure Estimates

Public Accounts of Ontario

2023 Budget

Organization chart

  • Lieutenant Governor
    • Chief of Staff and Private Secretary
      • Executive Assistant *
      • Director
      • Chief Steward
      • Assistant Steward
      • Support Service Worker (P/T)
      • Manager, Strategic Communications and Planning
      • Senior Writer and Communications Advisor
      • Advisor, Communications and Events
      • Research and Planning Advisor
      • Manager, Event Operations
      • Senior Advisor, Program and Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program and Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program and Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program and Events
      • Senior Advisor, Program and Events
      • Lead, Finance and Operations
      • Administrative Assistant

[*] Executive Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor and to the Chief of Staff and Private Secretary