Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

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Concept description

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s website describes her role and responsibilities as follows:

“Canada is a constitutional monarchy and the Lieutenant Governor is The Queen’s representative in Ontario. The Queen is head of state while the Premier is the provincial head of government. In our system of parliamentary democracy, these two roles are distinct: the head of state (commonly called the Crown) holds supreme power on behalf of the people and lends it to be exercised by the government of the day.

“In Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor exercises the powers of the Crown, which derive from the written constitution, constitutional convention (non-legal rules of the constitution), and statute law. These powers are similar to those of the Governor General with regard to Parliament and the federal government.

“The Lieutenant Governor is therefore responsible for:

  • Ensuring that Ontario always has a Premier that commands the confidence of the Legislative Assembly
  • Appointing members of the Executive Council (Cabinet ministers) on the advice of the Premier
  • Reading the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of a parliamentary session
  • Granting Royal Assent, the final step of the legislative process, to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly
  • Summoning, proroguing, and dissolving the Legislature on the advice of the Premier
  • Ordering elections to the Legislative Assembly on the advice of Cabinet, in accordance with the Election Act
  • Approving government business such as regulations and public appointments by signing Orders-in-Council on the advice of Cabinet
  • Ensuring that the democratic will of Ontarians and their elected representatives is upheld and that the constitutional conventions of responsible government are respected

“In carrying out these responsibilities, the Lieutenant Governor conducts herself in a strictly nonpartisan fashion.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Constitutional Framework (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Constitutional Role, at, accessed 24 August 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 20 Septeber 2016.

Image: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Constitutional Role, at, accessed 20 September 2016.