Event Protocol

Event Program

For all events which the Lieutenant Governor will attend, Government House staff will liaise with the event organizers to assist them in preparing to host the Lieutenant Governor. They will also prepare a detailed itinerary to familiarize the Lieutenant Governor with the background and program for the event. Please ensure that you complete your event questionnaire three weeks prior to your event, paying special attention to providing of all details including timing, seating arrangements, location of facilities, guests of honour, order of speeches and presentations, and other essential items of information.

This section is intended to familiarize hosts, guests, and organizers of the general procedures, customs and protocol appropriate for occasions when the Lieutenant Governor is in attendance. Any questions that arise should be referred to Government House.

Honorary Aide-de-Camp

At all official occasions and engagements the Lieutenant Governor is accompanied by an Honorary Aide-de-Camp. It is the duty of the Honorary Aide-de-Camp to remain near the Lieutenant Governor at all times in order to assist in any way, to ward off any awkward situations, and to ensure that the Lieutenant Governor is not “pressed” by individuals or large groups of people. The Aide will normally verify arrangements with the organizer, meet with the hosts, and visit the site beforehand. On some occasions, a rehearsal or dry run will be required. On the spot changes to the itinerary or program will not be entertained without approval from the Aide.

The Honorary Aide-de-Camp will assist in seating the Lieutenant Governor but should not be seated at the head table. The Aide should be seated near the Lieutenant Governor in a position that allows for easy visual contact and a prompt response to any signals or situations. The Aide may have to leave the room and, therefore, consideration should be given to seating at a table to permit discreet exit and re-entry.

Courtesy and Protocol

The Lieutenant Governor is accorded the honour and respect due to The Queen’s representative. Persons should always rise when the Lieutenant Governor enters a room or arrives at a function. At a dinner, ceremony or other meeting, the Lieutenant Governor and those accompanying are known as the “Vice-Regal Party”. The Lieutenant Governor should always be the first to leave a room


It is customary for the senior member and spouse of the hosting organization to meet the Lieutenant Governor upon arrival, preferably as the official vehicle comes to a stop at the venue. Initial introductions will be made by the Honorary Aide-de-Camp, who will then lead the party into the building. If the event is being held at a hotel, convention centre, arena or theatre, the manager should be given advance notice of the Lieutenant Governor’s attendance, as it is customary for the manager to be on hand for the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor. In addition to greeting the Vice-Regal Party on arrival, the manager may arrange for doors and elevators to be held, and other such courtesies.

Receiving Line/Introductions

The Lieutenant Governor and Vice-Regal Consort should not be left to talk with persons who have not been introduced. Normally, the host will make all introductions to the Lieutenant Governor; however, the Honorary Aide-de-Camp may assist if requested to do so beforehand. Persons are introduced to the Lieutenant Governor — an easy way to avoid confusion in introductions is to use the phrase, “Your Honour, may I present….” When ladies and gentlemen are introduced for short periods of conversation both the Honorary Aide-de-Camp and host should ensure that the visit ends at the proper time and that way is made for others. If either the host or the Honorary Aide-de-Camp brings forward another guest, this should usually be sufficient intimation to the person speaking with the Lieutenant Governor that the conversation is at an end. The normal etiquette during introductions is to shake hands. No nodding of heads, bowing or curtseying is required.

Vice-Regal Salute

At formal or official occasions and ceremonies, it is customary for a band, orchestra or pianist to play the Vice-Regal Salute, which consists of the first six bars of “God Save The Queen”, followed immediately by the first four and last four bars of “O’ Canada”. The Vice-Regal Salute is not played while the Lieutenant Governor and party are walking but is played once they have arrived at their table or seats, and while standing. Guests do not sing during the Vice-Regal Salute. It is the usual custom for the Director of Ceremonies to remind the audience of this prior to the entrance of the Vice-Regal Party. The Vice-Regal Salute can be omitted if it cannot be rendered well or if it places an inconvenience on the host through the cost of hiring a pianist, renting a piano, etc.

Luncheons and Dinners

The Lieutenant Governor and the Vice-Regal Consort are served first and, in the case of a buffet, shall be the first in line immediately followed by the host.

Loyal Toast

The Loyal Toast, also called the Toast to The Queen, should be given when the Lieutenant Governor is present at a formal lunch or dinner. At Government House, the toast is proposed after the main course and before dessert. The person offering the toast asks all guests to rise, raises his or her glass and proposes the toast in the following manner, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Queen,” or “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Queen of Canada” or “The Queen ~ La Reine.” Those present raise their glasses, reply: “The Queen” and take a small sip. There are four points about the Loyal Toast of which to be aware:

    • Once seated for the meal, nobody should leave the table prior to the Loyal Toast being given;
    • One should not include “God bless her” or any other comment in the Toast;
    • The Loyal Toast is not usually proposed if the meal is a buffet;
  • It is appropriate to toast with water if wine is not available.


The Lieutenant Governor should always be asked to address an audience and shall normally speak first. This may change depending on the circumstances and, in some cases, e.g., special openings, the Lieutenant Governor may speak last if it is more appropriate to the sequence of events. The Lieutenant Governor should always speak before food is served. Her Honour will speak for a maximum of five minutes. To assist with preparing a speech, please inform Government House of the desired speaking time and a suggested subject.


Government House is responsible for arranging and approving any requests for interviews by the media. All press materials related to your event that mention the Lieutenant Governor must be approved by Government House prior to distribution.


Please inform your contact at Government House if you intend to present a gift to the Lieutenant Governor during your event. Gifts should be presented unwrapped so that the Lieutenant Governor may view the gift without delay and show it to the audience.


The Lieutenant Governor should be the first to depart. Guests should be asked to rise for the Lieutenant Governor’s departure. (Note: This is not required during an intermission.) The host and the spouse should also accompany the Lieutenant Governor to the waiting vehicle to bid farewell.


Proper recognition of the Lieutenant Governor and attention to detail in organization and planning will make your event a memorable one. When in doubt, be sure to contact either the Director of Programmes or the Events Coordinator in advance, or the Honorary Aide-de-Camp on the day of the event.