The Secretary to the Governor General () is the administrative head of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG)—the government department that supports the work of the
Governor General of Canada The governor general of Canada (french: gouverneure générale du Canada) is the federal viceregal representative of the . The is head of state of Canada and the 14 other Commonwealth realms, but resides in oldest and most populous realm, ...
—and is based at
Rideau Hall Rideau Hall (officially Government House) is the official residence in Ottawa of both the Canadian monarch and their representative, the governor general of Canada. It stands in Canada's capital on a estate at 1 Sussex Drive, with the main b ...
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian French: ) is the capital city of Canada. It is located at the confluence of the Ottawa River and the Rideau River in the southern portion of the province of Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, and forms the core o ...
, Ontario. On January 29, 2021, Ian McCowan was named to the position effective February 1, 2021. The previous secretary was Assunta Di Lorenzo, who was appointed in January 2018 and resigned in January 2021.


The position is one of the oldest public service appointments in Canada and holds the courtesy rank of deputy minister within the
Public Service of Canada The Public Service of Canada (known as the Civil Service of Canada prior to 1967) is the civilian workforce of the Government of Canada's departments, agencies, and other public bodies. While the Government of Canada has employed civil servants ...
. Since
Confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
, every office-holder has been appointed by order in council. The first post-Confederation incumbent, Dennis Godley, initially assumed his post in 1861 and continued on into the post-Confederation period, departing in November 1868. The Secretary to the Governor General holds a number of ''
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term '' ex officio'' is Latin, meaning literally 'from the office', and the sense intended is 'by right ...
'' positions, as follows. Since the establishment of the
Order of Canada The Order of Canada (french: Ordre du Canada; abbreviated as OC) is a Canadian state order and the second-highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, after the Order of Merit. To coincide with the c ...
in 1967, the secretary has served as Secretary General of the Order of Canada. The secretary also serves as Secretary General of the Order of Military Merit and the
Order of Merit of the Police Forces The Order of Merit of the Police Forces (french: Ordre du mérite des corps policiers) is an honour for merit that is, within the Canadian system of honours, the only such fellowship reserved for only members of Canada's various police forces. Cr ...
. Following the creation of the
Canadian Heraldic Authority The Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA; french: Autorité héraldique du Canada) is part of the Canadian honours system under the Canadian monarch, whose authority is exercised by the Governor General of Canada. The authority is responsible for ...
in 1988, the secretary became Herald Chancellor of Canada.

Secretaries to the Governor General


* 1841-1842: Thomas William Clinton Murdoch * 1842-1844: Rawson W. Rawson * 1842-1843: Henry Bagot (private secretary) * 1843-1846: James Macaulay Higginson (private secretary) * 1847-1849: Thomas Edmund Campbell * 1851-1854: Robert Bruce * 1854-1854: Laurence Oliphant * 1854-1856: William Keppel, Viscount Bury * 1856-1861: Richard T. Pennefather * 1861-1861: Francis Retallack (acting secretary) * 1861-1867: Dennis Godley


* 1867-1868: Dennis Godley * 1868-1872: Francis Turville * 1872-1875: Lt.-Col. Henry Charles Fletcher * 1875 ''(March-October)'': Harry Moody * 1875-1878: Edward George Percy Littleton * 1878-1883: Francis W. de Winton * 1883-1885: Viscount Melgund (later 4th Earl of Minto) * 1885-1888: Henry Streatfeild * 1888 ''(June-July)'': Josceline FitzRoy Bagot * 1888-1892: C. R. W. Colville * 1892-1893: J. T. St. Aubyn * 1893-1899: Arthur John Lewis Gordon * 1899-1926: Arthur French Sladen * 1926-1927: Richard Osborne * 1927–1931: Sir Eric Miéville * 1931–1935: Sir Alan Lascelles * 1935–1946: Sir Arthur Shuldham Redfern * 1946–1952: Harry Letson * 1952–1959: Lionel Massey * 1959–1985: Esmond Unwin Butler * 1985–1990: Léopold Henri Amyot * 1990–2000: Judith A. LaRocque * 2000–2006: Barbara Uteck * 2006–2011: Sheila-Marie Cook * 2011–2018: Stephen Wallace * 2018–2021: Assunta Di Lorenzo * 2021–present: Ian McCowan

See also

* Canadian Secretary to the Queen * Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia * Official Secretary to the Governor-General of New Zealand


Further reading

External links

Official website
{{Governor General of Canada Government of Canada