The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I write to the Governor General?

If you wish to write to the Governor General, you may address the letter to:

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0A1

(no postage necessary)

To address a letter to both Their Excellencies:

Their Excellencies
The Right Honourable David Johnston
Governor General of Canada
and Mrs. Sharon Johnston

Please note that general comments and opinions may not receive a response. Correspondence that is commercial in nature or constitutes “spam,” or that contains obscene, derogatory, threatening or abusive language, will not receive a response.


How should I address Their Excellencies?

The full title of the Governor General is:

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General of Canada

The title of the Governor General’s spouse is:

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, C.C.

The salutation is: Excellencies


How do I write to the Royal Family?

If you wish to send your best wishes and pledges of loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen, you may forward your correspondence to:

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
United Kingdom

The letter should be addressed to Her Majesty The Queen

The salutation is: Your Majesty

Please note that packages and gifts of any kind cannot be accepted and will be returned to sender immediately.

For correspondence relating to issues of Canadian concern, Her Majesty defers to the Governor General, in his role as a representative of the Crown. For most topics, please address your enquiries to:

Correspondence
Policy, Program and Protocol Branch
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

All enquiries pertaining to the Royal Family or to the use of the word “Royal,” to honorary appointments of members of the Royal Family to Canadian regiments, or to Royal visits, Royal Patronages should be sent to Ms. Shelagh Cimpaye, Special Advisor and Corporate Secretary, Office of the Secretary the Governor General, at the address above (1-800-465-6890).


How can I obtain a birthday or anniversary message from the Governor General?

The Governor General sends messages to Canadians who are 90 years of age or older and to couples who have been married for 50 years or more. These are issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

If the anniversary or birthday has already taken place, the message from the Governor General may be backdated up to 12 months.

To request a message, please fill out the birthday and wedding anniversary Request Form (PDF) and follow the instructions.

Download Adobe Reader, free PDF viewer
Message from the Governor GeneralRequirement
Anniversary Messages
(legally married Canadian couples)
50th anniversary (minimum)
Interval: 5 years*
Birthday Messages
(all Canadians)
90th birthday (minimum)
Interval: 5 years*

*Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. Forms are accepted by email.


How can I obtain a birthday or anniversary message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sends messages to Canadians who are 100 years of age or older and to couples who have been married for 60 years or more. These are issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

If the anniversary or birthday has already taken place, the message from The Queen may be backdated up to 6 months.

To request a message, please fill out the birthday and wedding anniversary Request Form (PDF) and follow the instructions.

Download Adobe Reader, free PDF viewer
Message from The QueenRequirement
Anniversary Messages
(legally married Canadian couples)
60th anniversary (minimum)
Interval: 5 years*
Birthday Messages
(all Canadians)
100th birthday (minimum)
Interval: and every year thereafter*

*Requests for message from The Queen must be accompanied by proof of marriage/birth. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. Forms are accepted by email.


How can I obtain a congratulatory message from the Governor General for a special occasion?

Every day, across our country, Canadians celebrate special occasions in their communities, in small towns and big cities alike. The Governor General sends messages of congratulations to individuals marking a significant milestone in their lives and to organizations hosting a variety of events. Our message criteria are outlined below.

To request a message, please fill out the special occasion Request Form (PDF) and follow the instructions. Forms should be accompanied by a covering letter on official letterhead where applicable.

Download Adobe Reader, free PDF viewer
Message to IndividualsRequirement
Religious (i.e. priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis, mullahs, gurus)
Minimum: 25 years
Families Family settlement in Canada
Minimum: 100 years
Family Reunions  
Volunteers Minimum: 25 years
Individual Honours Canadians honoured by an organization with an award or at a tribute dinner
(not applicable to sitting politicians)
Retirement Minimum 40 years, at the request of the employer
Note: Retirement messages are not given to members of the military, or to police, fire or other emergency services personnel, as they are recognized through the Canadian Honours System.
Message to OrganizationsRequirement
Religious Institutions i.e. churches, synagogues and other places of worship
Minimum: 100 years
Commercial Organizations For-profit organizations (i.e. private industry, companies, small businesses and unions)
Minimum: 75 years
National or International Conferences Being hosted in Canada and/or by Canadian organizations
Fundraising Events For registered Canadian charities
National Service Organizations, Clubs and Societies And their local chapters (i.e. Canadian Legion, Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club, Salvation Army, special-interest club, fraternal or academic organizations)
Minimum: 25 years
Not-for-profit Community groups i.e. Meals on Wheels, church or hospital auxiliaries, shelters, food banks, awareness groups
Minimum: 25 years
City, Town, Village Minimum: 100 years
Municipal Institutions (i.e. school, university, hospital, fire hall)
Minimum: 75 years

Guidelines for requesting, receiving and publishing messages from the governor general

  • Requests must be submitted no later than SIX WEEKS prior to the event or printing deadline.
  • If you have already submitted a request, please DO NOT send a duplicate by mail, fax or email.
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II does not send messages to individuals or organizations marking a milestone occasion. (Please see Birthday and Wedding Anniversary.)
  • A maximum of two (2) messages will be provided to the same organization in a single calendar year.
  • Messages requests for individuals, families and milestones will be accepted at five year intervals.
  • Please identify if you require an electronic and/or print version of your message.
  • Messages cannot be altered in any way without prior written approval from the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.
  • Messages are written in support of a designated event. They are not intended, nor can they be used, for any other purpose.
  • The language of the message must not be changed without permission. Translations into French or English are the responsibility of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Please advise the Correspondence section of any errors or omissions.

How can I get a copy of the official photo of the Governor General or of Her Majesty The Queen?

To request an official photo of the Governor General, go to gg.ca/officialphotos. For photos of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, please call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) or contact the Department of Canadian Heritage.


How do I nominate someone for an honour or award?

The Governor General recognizes many Canadians for their achievements in a wide variety of fields. To nominate a worthy individual for one of the awards under the Canadian Honours System, please click here.


How do we invite the Governor General to our event?

Each year, the Governor General and Her Excellency Sharon Johnston attend special events, ceremonies and celebrations across the country, both together and separately. If you would like them to attend your event, you can invite them by writing a letter (addressed to the Governor General) that includes the following information:

  • background information on the event and/or organization
  • the date and time of the event (and whether these are flexible), as well as the venue
  • the number of people expected to participate
  • the role you would like the Governor General to play, if any (e.g., speech, award presentation, etc.)
  • name and telephone number of a contact person (and fax if available)

Keep in mind that Their Excellencies’ programs are planned five to six months in advance.

Please send your invitation either by e-mail to invitation@gg.ca, through our submission form, or by regular mail (no postage necessary) to

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall
c/o Program Planning
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A1

In order to avoid duplicates, please choose only one method to submit your request.

All invitations are reviewed by a program officer, who will contact you if any further information is needed. Invitations are then presented to Their Excellencies and decisions are made based on their availability, confirmed program of engagements, travel requirements and other factors.

If you have any questions, please contact the Program Planning section through invitation@gg.ca.


How do we submit a request for viceregal patronage?

The governor general plays a key role in promoting national identity by supporting and promoting Canadian values, diversity, inclusion, culture and heritage. As such, the governor general is patron of many community, charitable, military and cultural associations, as well as public service organizations, lending them vital support and recognition for their outstanding contributions to society.

Organizations that are granted patronage by the current governor general, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and/or his wife, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, are chosen based on long-established criteria, to which groups should adhere when submitting a request for patronage: 

  • have aims and objectives that are aligned with the role and responsibilities of the governor general or his personal themes and interests
  • be national in scope
  • have active programs which are implemented on an annual basis
  • be financially responsible

Organizations that do not qualify under these criteria may be considered under a “grandfather clause”:

  • if the organization received patronage on or before 1960; and
  • the period of viceregal patronage has remained unbroken since the time it was granted.

All organizations must re-apply for patronage at the beginning of each new mandate. Please note that patronage does not guarantee the governor general’s involvement in, or attendance at, events being held by host organizations.

To learn more about the vision and three pillars of the Governor General’s mandate, organizations may wish to read His Excellency’s Installation Speech, of October 1, 2010.

If your organization would like to forward a request for patronage under the mandate of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston and/or Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, kindly submit your request by mail, with supporting documentation, including a brief history of your organization and its objectives; details on its sources of funding; a list of other current patrons (if any) and/or members of the board of directors; a short financial report; and any other pertinent information.

 Please submit your written request to the address indicated below, with the enveloped clearly marked with “ATTENTION: Viceregal Patronage”:

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General of Canada

or

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, C.C.

or

Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston

Rideau Hall
Attention: Viceregal Patronage
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A1

Should you have any questions or require assistance, please contact us at patronage@gg.ca or by telephone at 613-993-8200 or toll-free 1-800-465-6890.

Date modified: September 4, 2014