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Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canadaa
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Overview of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG), created in 1947 through Letters Patent, supports the Governor General in delivering her mandate and in fulfilling her constitutional, state, ceremonial and other responsibilities.

The Office is also responsible for planning and implementing the Governor General’s program and the many activities she undertakes with, and on behalf of, Canadians in communities across the country and abroad, as well as with the Canadian Forces as their Commander-in-Chief.

To help Canadians understand the roles and responsibilities of the Governor General and how she or he fulfills them, the Office offers a public information program and extensive visitor and interpretation programs at the Governor General’s historic official residences at Rideau Hall in Ottawa and at La Citadelle in Quebec City.

The administration of the Canadian Honours System also forms an important part of the responsibilities of the Office.

The Secretary to the Governor General is the senior official in the Office and in addition to having overall responsibility for all aspects of the management and operations of the OSGG, acts as the senior advisor to the Governor General. The Secretary is also responsible for all aspects of the viceregal program, from planning to implementation.

The OSGG is structured into four branches, which report to the Secretary to the Governor General in her or his capacity as the deputy head with the Prime Minister as its minister responsible to Parliament. An organizational chart is reflected in Figure 1.

a. Figure 1 – Organization Chart as of March 31, 2004

Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

a. Figure 1 – Organization Chart as at March 31, 2004

The OSGG receives funding through Parliamentary appropriations to cover its net costs of operations. As outlined in the OSGG’s Financial Statements included in Appendix B, in 2003-04, the Office had a net cost of operations of $19.2 million, made up of the Governor General’s program ($14.9 million); the Honours program ($3.5 million) and former Governors General ($0.8 million).

b. Support from Other Government Departments
In addition to the support provided by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, six other federal government departments and agencies are also mandated by law to support the activities of the Governor General, as follows:

  • The Department of National Defence (DND) provides support to the Governor General through logistical support and transportation for the Head of State (similar to the support provided to the Prime Minister);
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provides support in matters related to security and personal protection services to the Governor General and spouse, domestically and abroad (similar to the support provided to the Prime Minister);
  • The National Capital Commission (NCC) is responsible for the preservation, maintenance and capital construction projects for all the official residences located in the National Capital Region;
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs Canada (DFAC) advises the Governor General on all matters related to foreign policy and funds incoming State visits as well as the Governor General’s international program and activities undertaken at the request of the Prime Minister;
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) provides the OSGG with support for La Citadelle in Quebec City and accommodation for the Chancellery of Canadian Honours, as well as services such as those of the Receiver General;
  • The OSGG also works closely with other agencies such as Canadian Heritage (PCH) which is the lead department for related activities such as Royal visits, State funerals, national memorial services and special anniversary celebrations.

These departments and agencies provide this support to the Governor General as part of their statutory responsibility, and seek funds to fulfill these responsibilities as part of their own main estimates. In 2003-04, support provided by these six other departments and agencies was $17.3 million. These funds are sought and spent directly by the other government departments or agencies concerned and are not transferred to the budget of the OSGG.

DND RCMP NCC DFAIT PWGSC PCH
$2.6 $3.2 $5.4 $4.6 $1.4 $0.1

* All dollar figures are in millions

Updated: 2018-03-26
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