Wearing the Canadian Forces Uniforms

Governor General Julie Payette, wearing the Royal Canadian Air Force uniform, salutes after laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.
Photo credit: Rideau Hall © OSGG-BSGG, 2017

As commander-in-chief, the governor general may, in this capacity, wear a uniform at events.

At the 2017 National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette wore the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) uniform. The flag/general officer uniform with special sleeve braid is embellished with the governor general’s badge, which depicts the viceregal lion, and a large embroidered governor general’s badge on the shoulder straps or boards. As commander-in-chief and an astronaut who flew two missions in space, Her Excellency is entitled to wear the RCAF’s astronaut wings, which were officially presented to her on November 10, 2017.

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s astronaut wings
Photo credit: DND

The design of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s astronaut wings is based on the outspread eagle’s wings and crown of the terrestrial aircrew badge. It consists of a silver maple leaf rising above the earth atop a stylized plume of rocket exhaust. The silver grid lines of the earth below outline an arrow pointing up into space. The white stars set in blackness above all show Earth in the universe and exemplify the RCAF motto Sic Itur Ad Astra – “Such is the pathway to the stars”. As on all aircrew wings, a red laurel wreath surrounds the central design.

Her Excellency can also wear the following insignia on her military uniforms: the Order of Canada; the Order of Military Merit; the Ordre national du Québec; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; and the Canadian Forces Decoration.

A number of former Canadian governors general have also worn a military uniform on various occasions, including Vincent Massey (1952-1959), Georges P. Vanier (1959-1967), Roland Michener (1967-1974), Edward Schreyer (1979-1984), Jeanne Sauvé (1984-1990), Ramon Hnatyshyn (1990-1995), Michaëlle Jean (2005-2010) and David Johnston (2010-2017).