As Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the governor general plays a major role in recognizing the importance of Canada’s military at home and abroad.

The commander-in-chief offers support and encouragement to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families and loved ones, while helping Canadians recognize the military’s past and present contributions to our country. Specific duties include:

  • acting on the recommendation of the prime minister to appoint the chief of the Defence Staff;
  • acting on the recommendation of the minister of National Defence to appoint Royal colonels of Canadian regiments;
  • approving new military badges and insignia;
  • visiting military bases and Canadian Armed Forces personnel at home and abroad;
  • presenting new colours to Canadian Armed Forces units;
  • awarding military honours such as the Order of Military Merit, Meritorious Service and Military Valour decorations and the Peacekeeping and Special Service medals;
  • signing commission scrolls;
  • attending memorial services;
  • participating in ceremonial events, such as Remembrance Day.

Upon appointment, the commander-in-chief receives the Canadian Armed Forces decoration and becomes Colonel of the Regiment for the Governor General’s Foot Guards, the Governor General’s Horse Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards, as well as Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit.