The Role of Lieutenant Governor

The post of Lieutenant Governor was established by the British North America Act in March 1867. This Act united the provinces under a central government, with each province retaining its own legislature to preside over matters not under federal jurisdiction. In British Columbia, the Office of Lieutenant Governor came into existence when the Crown Colony joined the Dominion of Canada in 1871. Under section 9 of the Constitution Act 1867, Her Majesty is the Canadian Head of State and thus, The Queen of Canada.

The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General acting by and with the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. Lieutenant Governors are normally appointed for a period of not less than five years.

Since the Statute of Westminster of 1931, Canada has been a fully sovereign state. The Governor General represents The Queen in Canada while Lieutenant Governors represent Her Majesty at the provincial level. The first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (visit the timeline) was Sir Joseph Trutch in 1871; Janet Austin was sworn-in as the province’s 30th Lieutenant Governor in 2018.

The Canadian Crown is a distinctive and essential part of Canada’s heritage and character, and thus a focus for national pride. It is an important symbol of unity and stability, serving to bind Canadians together in their common ideals and aspirations. It is a visible symbol of the vitality of our traditions, the permanence of our institutions, and the continuity of national life.

The Canadian Heritage publication “A Crown of Maples: Constitutional Monarchy in Canada” provides a complete overview of the Crown in Canada.