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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
During the installation ceremony:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).