Deputy of the Governor General of Canada

A Deputy of the Governor General (French: Gouverneur général suppléant)[1] is, per the Constitution Act, 1867,[2] one of any individuals appointed by the Governor General of Canada, with the Canadian monarch's consent, to act in his or her stead, exercising any powers so delegated to them by the governor general – generally limited to all abilities save for dissolving parliament,[3] namely, granting Royal Assent to bills passed by parliament, signing Orders in Council, issuing Royal Proclamations, or receiving the credentials of newly appointed ambassadors to Canada.[4]

Currently, the Secretary to the Governor General, the Deputy Secretary to the Governor General, and the justices of the supreme court are called upon to act as deputies of the governor general;[5] when the latter are acting in this capacity, they are addressed as The Honourable the Deputy of His Excellency the Governor General.[4] The deputy's commission will read as follows:

KNOW YOU that being well assured of your loyalty, fidelity and capacity, I, the Right Honourable [Name], Governor General of Canada, under and by virtue of and in pursuance of the power and authority vested in me by the Commission of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, under the Great Seal of Canada, dated the [day] of [month] in the year of Our Lord [year], constituting and appointing me to be Governor General of Canada do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint you, [Name], to be my Deputy within Canada and in that capacity to exercise, subject to any limitations or directions from time to time expressed or given by Her Majesty, all the powers, authorities and functions vested in and of right exercisable by me as Governor General, saving and excepting the power of dissolving the Parliament of Canada.[4]

Only the judges of the supreme court can represent the governor general at the opening of parliament and grant Royal Assent. The governor general's secretary and deputy secretary cannot prorogue or recall parliament, appoint members of Cabinet, or signify Royal Assent in the bi-annual ceremony in the Senate.[6]

Administrator of Canada

The role of Deputy of the Governor General is separate from that of Administrator of Canada. The letters patent of 1947 issued by King George VI provide that, in the case of the death, removal, incapacity, or absence of more than one month of the governor general, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall serve as Administrator of Canada, exercising all the powers and functions of the governor general until a new governor general is appointed. In the absence or incapacity of the chief justice, the role of administrator falls on the senior Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court.[7]


  1. "Parlement: Chambre des Communes". Canada Gazette. Ottawa. 143 (19). 9 May 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  2. Victoria (29 March 1867). Constitution Act, 1867. III.14. Westminster: Queen's Printer. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  3. Senate of Canada (June 2015), Senate Procedure and Practice (PDF), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 39, retrieved 15 November 2015
  4. Speaker of the Senate (20 October 2000). "Issue 84". Journals of the Senate. Ottawa (2nd Session, 36th Parliament). Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  5. Office of the Governor General of Canada. "The Office > Sheila-Marie Cook". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 14 November 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  6. Senate of Canada 2015, p. 40
  7. George VI (1 October 1947). Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada. VIII. Ottawa: King's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 29 May 2009.