As commander-in-chief of Canada, the governor general plays a major role in recognizing the importance of Canada’s military at home and abroad.

The commander-in-chief offers support and encouragement to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families and loved ones, while helping Canadians recognize the military’s past and present contributions to our country. Specific duties include:

  • acting on the recommendation of the prime minister to appoint the chief of the Defence Staff;
  • acting on the recommendation of the minister of National Defence to appoint Royal colonels of Canadian regiments;
  • approving new military badges and insignia;
  • visiting military bases and Canadian Armed Forces personnel at home and abroad;
  • presenting new colours to Canadian Armed Forces units;
  • awarding military honours such as the Order of Military Merit, Meritorious Service and Military Valour decorations and the Peacekeeping and Special Service medals;
  • signing commission scrolls;
  • attending memorial services;
  • participating in ceremonial events, such as Remembrance Day.

Upon appointment, the commander-in-chief receives the Canadian Armed Forces decoration and becomes Colonel of the Regiment for the Governor General’s Foot Guards, the Governor General’s Horse Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards, as well as Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit.

Wearing the Canadian Armed Forces' uniforms

As commander-in-chief, the governor general may wear the distinctive uniforms of the Canadian Armed Forces. When wearing a traditional command uniform, be it of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, or the Royal Canadian Air Force, the governor general wears a flag/general officer uniform with a special sleeve braid embellished with the governor general’s badge, which depicts the viceregal lion, and a large embroidered governor general’s badge on the shoulder straps or boards.