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Appointment and installation of the Lieutenant Governor

In accordance with the Constitution Act, 1867, the Lieutenant Governor serves a non-fixed term of at least five years:

59. A Lieutenant Governor shall hold Office during the Pleasure of the Governor General; but any Lieutenant Governor appointed after the Commencement of the First Session of the Parliament of Canada shall not be removeable within Five Years from his Appointment, except for Cause assigned, which shall be communicated to him in Writing within One Month after the Order for his Removal is made, and shall be communicated by Message to the Senate and to the House of Commons within One Week thereafter if the Parliament is then sitting, and if not then within One Week after the Commencement of the next Session of the Parliament.

A Lieutenant Governor remains in office until his or her successor is sworn in.

Selection and appointment

The appointment of the Lieutenant Governor is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister proposes a nominee to the federal Cabinet, which passes an Order-in-Council to be subsequently approved by the Governor General. The actual appointment of the new Lieutenant Governor is made by commission under the Great Seal of Canada signed by the Governor General.

Transition period

Once appointed, the nominee is known as the Lieutenant Governor-designate. He or she receives briefing material and usually consults with the outgoing Lieutenant Governor, former Lieutenant Governors, and the Premier in preparation of taking office.

The transition date is determined based on the Lieutenant Governor-designate’s personal circumstances and the schedules of the outgoing Lieutenant Governor and the Premier.

During the transition period, the outgoing Lieutenant Governor remains in office and continues to carry on an activity schedule. The Government of Ontario traditionally offers a farewell dinner during which an official portrait of the outgoing Lieutenant Governor is unveiled.

A farewell ceremony is usually arranged at Queen’s Park on the day of the outgoing Lieutenant Governor’s departure.

Installation ceremony

The installation of a Lieutenant Governor is a significant moment in the political life of Ontario. Hosted by the Government of Ontario, the ceremony is an opportunity to formally welcome the incoming Lieutenant Governor and emphasizes the continuity of government as well as Canada’s institutions, heritage, and traditions.

Location

Since 1974, the installation ceremony for Lieutenant Governors of Ontario has taken place in the Legislative Chamber at Queen’s Park. Throughout history, ceremonies have occurred in the Music Room within the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite, the Executive Council Chamber, the Premier’s office, and Rideau Hall.

Constitutional requirements

During the installation ceremony:

  • The Lieutenant Governor-designate’s commission must be read aloud in the presence of the Chief Justice of Ontario and members of the Executive Council.
  • The Lieutenant Governor-designate swears the oath of allegiance and oath of office. The new Lieutenant Governor’s commission takes effect once he or she has signed the oaths, which are witnessed by the Premier and Chief Justice.
  • The Great Seal of Ontario is surrendered to the new Lieutenant Governor, who is also the Keeper of the Great Seal. It is then returned it to the responsible minister for safekeeping.
Oath of allegiance

I, [Name], do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

Oath of office

I shall well and truly execute the office of Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario and duly and impartially administer justice therein.

I shall well and truly execute the office and trust of Keeper of the Great Seal of Her Majesty’s Province of Ontario according to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Ceremonial elements

The installation ceremony also includes traditional and ceremonial elements, which are organized to reflect the Lieutenant Governor-designate’s wishes.

The usual sequence of events is as follows:

  • Processional and arrival of the Administrator of the Government of Ontario (or outgoing Lieutenant Governor, if attending) and key participants
  • Viceregal Salute to the Administrator (or the outgoing Lieutenant Governor)
  • Arrival of the Lieutenant Governor-designate and family
  • Indigenous greeting
  • Invocation
  • Reading of the Lieutenant Governor-designate’s commission by the Secretary of the Cabinet
  • Swearing of oaths
  • The new Lieutenant Governor assumes office and takes his or her place on the Throne
  • Viceregal Salute (On the grounds of Queen’s Park, a 15-gun salute is fired and the Lieutenant Governor’s flag is raised)
  • Presentation of the Great Seal and its return to the responsible minister for safekeeping
  • Presentation of the insignia of the Order of Ontario to the Lieutenant Governor, who is Chancellor of the order
  • Remarks by a representative of the Government of Canada
  • Remarks by the Premier
  • Lieutenant Governor’s address
  • National anthem
  • Recessional and departure of the Lieutenant Governor

Following the ceremony, the Lieutenant Governor inspects a 100-person guard of honour on the grounds of Queen’s Park, during which another 15-gun salute is fired.

The Government of Ontario hosts a reception in honour of the new Lieutenant Governor.

A new mandate

According to the Table of Titles to be used in Canada, the Lieutenant Governor is entitled to be addressed as “His Honour” or “Her Honour” while in office, and is styled “Honourable” for life. The full title of the current Lieutenant Governor is therefore: Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

The newly installed Lieutenant Governor begins work immediately, attending public events and discharging constitutional functions. Early in the new mandate, it is usual for various public officials represented on the order of precedence to call upon the Lieutenant Governor.

The Lieutenant Governor may meet with representatives of various charities and community groups to establish working relationships and identify areas of mutual interest.

At a suitable time after the Lieutenant Governor takes office, The Queen will grant an audience to the new Lieutenant Governor (usually at Buckingham Palace).