The Governor General’s coat of arms, inspired by her heritage and commitment to reconciliation

October 28, 2022

OTTAWA, Ontario—The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is pleased to present the coat of arms of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.

The coat of arms reflects the Governor General’s life story, highlighting her Inuit culture, her deep connection to the North, her love of family, as well as her distinguished career as a Canadian diplomat, expert in circumpolar affairs and her dedication as an Inuit leader.

A key component of the coat of arms is the Governor General’s commitment to reconciliation and her desire to foster a respectful and collaborative relationship between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

The coat of arms incorporates her motto, Ajuinnata, which means “to persevere” or “never give up” in her mother tongue, Inuktitut. This motto inspires her own journey and embodies her message of hope to young people and to all Canadians confronted with adversity.


“This coat of arms is my story, my true history, and it speaks of my lifelong commitment to bridge-building and family, and of my hopes for a future where we respect and share each other’s stories to help foster better relationships between peoples.”

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada

“Her Excellency’s coat of arms is simple in its composition and, at the same time, exquisitely complex in its meaning. It is a personal emblem that serves a public purpose. It exemplifies how heraldry can express many layers of a person’s identity in a structured yet creative way. The inspirational story these arms tell enriches Canadian heraldry and perpetuates this living tradition.”

Dr. Samy Khalid, Chief Herald of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The coats of arms of governors general appear on official documents and artefacts such as their privy seals and academic medals. The privy seal is a device used in conjunction with the signature of the governor general to give formal approval to certain classes of documents (e.g. commissions of officers in the Canadian Armed Forces).
  • The design of Her Excellency’s personal coat of arms is the result of a year-long collaborative process between the Governor General and Dr. Samy Khalid, Chief Herald of Canada.
  • The painting was produced by Cathy Sabourin, Fraser Herald, of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The calligraphy is the work of Doris Wionzek.
  • The governor general is the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which is the federal service responsible for creating and registering coats of arms, flags and badges. It was established as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General in 1988.
  • The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada contains the heraldic emblems that have been granted, registered, approved or confirmed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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