The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) supports the governor general in fulfilling the constitutional, State and ceremonial responsibilities of the role. The OSGG is also responsible for planning and implementing the governor general’s program and the many activities undertaken with, and on behalf of, Canadians in communities across the country and abroad, as well as with the Canadian Armed Forces in their capacity as commander-in-chief. These activities recognize outstanding achievement by Canadians and foster national identity, unity and pride.
The Office, through the Chancellery of Honours, administers all aspects of the Canadian Honours System, including the Order of Canada, the Decorations for Bravery, the Meritorious Service Decorations, the Polar Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
The Chancellery is also home to the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which is headed by the governor general, and which creates and records heraldic emblems.
The OSGG comprises five directorates in this fiscal year: Policy, Program and Protocol; Communications; Human Resources; Corporate Services; and the Chancellery of Honours. These five teams work together to support the governor general in carrying out their responsibilities. The OSGG is headed by a secretary, who also serves as senior advisor and deputy to the governor general.
Connect, Inspire and Honour Canadians
Our priorities are based on a clear understanding of the governor general’s responsibilities:
- Representing the Crown in Canada;
- Representing Canada nationally and internationally;
- Encouraging excellence and achievement;
- Serving as commander-in-chief of Canada;
- Connecting with Canadians.
To support the Governor General as the Queen's representative in Canada and to serve Canadians.
Accountability and Funding
The OSGG reports to Parliament through the prime minister, receives its funding from an annual parliamentary appropriation and publishes an annual report for each fiscal year. The OSGG works closely with the National Capital Commission, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of National Defence, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Global Affairs Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
- From April 1, 2020 to January 22, 2021, the OSGG supported the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic until her resignation.
- From January 23 to March 31, 2021, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada, served as the administrator of the Government of Canada. In this capacity, he was vested with all powers and authorities accorded to the governor general in accordance with the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, 1947.
- Royal Assent was given to 12 bills.
- A series of 24 virtual dialogues called GGconversations were held to connect with Canadians despite the pandemic.
- For the first time in Canadian history, 27 new ambassadors and high commissioners were welcomed during virtual ceremonies in which they presented their credentials.
- As an unforeseen consequence of the pandemic, the traditional July 1 announcement of Order of Canada appointments was replaced by an announcement of recipients in several honours programs. The interest and pride of the regions represented by the recipients was enhanced tenfold by this initiative. In total, there were 9 119 appointments and awards presented during the year.
- The Canadian Heraldic Authority created 193 emblems, including the new coats of arms of the Supreme Court of Canada, the heraldic emblems of VIA Rail Canada, and the badges for new Royal Canadian Navy ships.
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General Operations
Governor General Support $12,267,816
Internal Services $9,030,815
Statutory (non-discretionary) Expenditures $3,378,544
Support from other government departments
In addition to the support provided by the OSGG, six federal government departments and agencies are also mandated to support the activities of the governor general. The funds allocated to this role and spent directly by the following organizations from their budget appropriations amounted to $19,891,556.*
The National Capital Commission is responsible for preservation, maintenance and capital construction projects for all of the official residences located in the National Capital Region, including Rideau Hall.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provides support in matters related to the security of and personal protection services for the governor general, domestically and abroad.
The Department of National Defence provides logistical support and transportation for the governor general in an official capacity.
Public Services and Procurement Canada provides the OSGG with accommodation and logistical support for the Residence of the Governor General at the Citadelle and the Chancellery of Honours.
Global Affairs Canada advises the governor general on all matters related to foreign policy, and funds activities related to incoming State visits, the governor general’s international program and activities undertaken at the request of the prime minister.
Canadian Heritage is the lead department for such activities as Royal tours, State funerals, national memorial services and special anniversary celebrations.
* For further details on these departmental and agency expenditures, please contact the organizations involved, or visit their respective websites.
Catalogue No.: SO1E-PDF
© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, as represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (2022)