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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 his or her mandate and in fulfilling his or 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 that he or 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 he or she 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 the 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 three branches, which report to the secretary to the governor general in his or her capacity as the deputy head, with the prime minister as its minister responsible to Parliament. An organizational chart is reflected in Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Organization Chart as of March 31, 2006

Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

Figure 1 – Organization Chart as at March 31, 2006

The OSGG receives funding through parliamentary appropriations for expenses incurred during the fiscal year. For 2005-2006, expenses incurred amounted to $20,199,690, made up of $9,676,867 for the constitutional, State, ceremonial and public programs, $3,258,779 for the Canadian honours program, $4,744,479 for corporate management, and $2,519,565 for statutory expenditures (Appendix A).

B. Support from Other Government Departments
In addition to the support provided by the OSGG, six other federal government departments and agencies are also mandated 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;
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) 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 (CH) 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 Appropriations. In 2005-06, support provided by these six departments and agencies totalled $16 million (see Figure 2). These funds are sought and spent directly by these government departments and agencies concerned and are not transferred to the budget of the OSGG.

Figure 2 – Support from other government departments*

DND 1 RCMP NCC DFAIT PWGSC CH 2
$4.6 $3.6 $4.4 $0.9 $1.2 $1.3

* All dollar figures are in millions

  1. The increase in the cost of support provided to the OSGG by DND ($2.6M in 2004-2005 versus $4.6M in 2005-2006) is a result of the new methodology in costing on behalf of DND. Certain aircraft and aircrew costs had not been included in the costing analysis in previous year's reports.
  2. The costs borne by Canadian Heritage in support of the OSGG are a result of the transition between governors general (i.e. costs associated with the installation of the new governor general).
    The OSGG's 2005-2006 financial statements (Appendix B) reflect some services provided without charge by other government departments (whereas previous statements did not include these figures).
Updated: 2018-03-26
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