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

Governor General Designate

Ms. Julie Payette, Governor General Designate

Ms. Julie PayettePhoto credit: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall
© Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (2011)

On July 13, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Her Majesty The Queen has accepted the recommendation to appoint Ms. Julie Payette as the 29th governor general of Canada. Governor General David Johnston congratulated his successor on her nomination and will continue to serve until the day of Ms. Payette’s installation.

Ms. Julie Payette will be referred to as the Governor General Designate until she is sworn in at her installation. The installation ceremony will take place on October 2, 2017, on Parliament Hill.

During this transition period, the Governor General Designate is preparing for her new role as Canada’s next governor general through high-level briefings.

The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General provides support and advice to the Governor General Designate to ensure a smooth and efficient transition until the day of the installation. The Department of Canadian Heritage is also involved in the transition and is responsible for the installation ceremony.

First Official Audience with Her Majesty The Queen

Governor General Designate Julie Payette had her first audience with Her Majesty The Queen on September 20, 2017. The meeting took place at Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty’s summer residence in Scotland.

On this occasion, Ms. Payette was invested as an Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.), an Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit (C.M.M.) and a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (C.O.M.) by Her Majesty.

Ms. Payette will be installed as the 29th governor general of Canada on October 2, 2017 and at that time will become Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor of the Order of Military Merit and Chancellor of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

Biography of the Governor General Designate

Julie Payette, O.C., C.Q.

Julie Payette is an astronaut, engineer, scientific broadcaster and corporate director.

From 1992 to 2013, Ms. Payette worked as an astronaut and flew two missions in space. She also served many years as CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and was Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.

She is well respected for her work in developing policies to promote science and technology. From 2011 to 2013, she worked as a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and was appointed scientific authority for Quebec in the United States. Between July 2013 and October 2016, she served as Chief Operating Officer of the Montréal Science Centre.

Ms. Payette is active in multiple facets of the community. She has produced several scientific outreach short programs on Radio-Canada and is a member of McGill University’s Faculty of Engineering Advisory Board. She has served on the boards of the Montréal Science Centre Foundation, Robotique FIRST Québec, Drug Free Kids Canada, and the Montreal Bach Festival. She has long served on the board of Own The Podium, a granting organization dedicated to high performance sport in Canada, and was recently appointed to the International Olympic Committee Women in Sport Commission. She has served as a director of Développement Aéroport Saint-Hubert de Longueuil and of the National Bank of Canada.

Ms. Payette is a member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and a fellow of the International Academy of Astronautics. She obtained an International Baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic in the United Kingdom, a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a Master of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. In addition, Ms. Payette can converse in six languages, holds a commercial pilot license and is an administratrice de sociétés certifiée (ASC is equivalent to the Institute of Corporate Directors, Director [ICD.D] designation).

Ms. Payette has received many distinctions and 27 honorary doctorates. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. To whom should we direct interview and media requests related to the Governor General Designate?
    Media and interview requests should be directed to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General at

    Questions related specifically to the installation ceremony should be addressed to the Department of Canadian Heritage at

  2. Will the Governor General Designate take part in any official and public events during the transition period?
    The Governor General Designate may attend events on a non-official basis during the transition period.

  3. How can we invite the Governor General Designate to an event taking place before or after her installation date?
    Invitations and requests to the Governor General Designate should be addressed with a detailed letter to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General by email at or by mail at 1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A1.

  4. Where can we send congratulatory messages to the Governor General Designate?
    If you would like to share your congratulations with the Governor General Designate, please send them by mail to State Ceremonial and Protocol, 25 Eddy Street (mail stop 25-11-R), Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5, or by email to

  5. Will the next governor general continue to be patron of the same organizations as the current governor general? How can we submit a patronage request?
    All viceregal patronage of institutions, organizations, associations, clubs and initiatives are re-examined at the beginning of a new mandate. Renewal of patronage and new requests must be submitted to the Office by formal letter and will go through a review and analysis process in consultation with the next governor general for final recommendation. They must follow guidelines found under the FAQ section of our website.

    Patronage requests should be submitted with a detailed letter addressed to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General by email at or by mail at 1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A1.

  6. What will be the new governor general’s full title?
    At the moment of the installation, the Governor General Designate will be referred to as: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

    The short title will be “Governor General Julie Payette.”

    She will be Canada’s 29th governor general.

Date modified: September 20, 2017