Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (/lɛfˈtɛnənt/) is the viceregal representative in Alberta of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta is appointed in the same manner as the other provincial viceroys in Canada and is similarly tasked with carrying out most of the monarch's constitutional and ceremonial duties.[2] The present, and 18th, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta is Lois Mitchell[3][4], who has served in the role since 12 June 2015.[5]

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
Emblem of the Lieutenant Governor
Flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta
Lois Mitchell

since 12 June 2015
StyleHer Honour the Honourable
AppointerGovernor General of Canada
Term lengthAt the Governor General's pleasure
Formation1 September 1905
First holderGeorge H. V. Bulyea[1]

Role and presence

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta is vested with a number of governmental duties and is also expected to undertake various ceremonial roles. The lieutenant governor, him or herself a member and Chancellor of the order,[6] will induct deserving individuals into the Alberta Order of Excellence and, upon installation, automatically becomes a Knight or Dame of Justice and the Vice-Prior in Alberta of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.[7] The viceroy further presents other provincial honours and decorations, as well as various awards that are named for and presented by the lieutenant governor; these are generally created in partnership with another government or charitable organization and linked specifically to their cause.[8] These honours are presented at official ceremonies, which count amongst hundreds of other engagements the lieutenant governor partakes in each year, either as host or guest of honour; in 2006, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta undertook 328 engagements and 280 in 2007.[9]

At these events, the lieutenant governor's presence is marked by the lieutenant governor's standard, consisting of a blue field bearing the escutcheon of the Arms of Her Majesty in Right of Alberta surmounted by a crown and surrounded by ten gold maple leaves, symbolizing the ten provinces of Canada. Within Alberta, the lieutenant governor also follows only the sovereign in the province's order of precedence, preceding even other members of the Canadian Royal Family and the Queen's federal representative.


The office of Lieutenant Governor of Alberta came into being in 1905[10], upon Alberta's entry into Canadian Confederation,[11] and evolved from the earlier position of Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories. Since that date, 17 lieutenant governors have served the province, amongst whom were notable firsts, such as Norman Kwong—the first Asian-Canadian Lieutenant Governor of Alberta—and Helen Hunley—the first female lieutenant governor of the province. The shortest mandate by a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta was Philip Primrose, from 1 October 1936 to his death on 17 March 1937, while the longest was John C. Bowen, from 23 March 1937 to 1 February 1950. In 1956, following his appointment, Lieutenant Governor John J. Bowlen became the first provincial viceroy in Canada to be granted an audience with the Canadian monarch, starting a tradition that continues today for all of Canada's lieutenant governors.[12]

One of the few examples in Canada of a viceroy exercising the Royal Prerogative against or without ministerial advice came in 1937, when John Bowen denied Royal Assent to three bills passed through the Legislative Assembly; two of the bills would have put the province's banks under the control of the provincial government, while a third, the Accurate News and Information Act, would have forced newspapers to print Cabinet rebuttals to stories the ministers objected to. All three bills were later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, though, in retaliation for this move by Bowen, his premier, William Aberhart, closed the viceregal residence, removed the Lieutenant Governor's secretary and support offices, and took away his official car.[13][14] Nearly seven decades later, Lois Hole, who served as lieutenant governor from 2000 until her death in 2005, publicly stated that she wished to discuss with her premier, Ralph Klein, the proposed Bill 11, which was meant to allow private health care to compete with the public health care system. From this it was suspected that Hole might reserve Royal Assent to the bill; however, Hole eventually did allow the bill to pass.[15]


The province's vice-regal no longer has a home provided as their residence during their term.[16]

From 1913 to 1938,[17] the title holder resided at Government House and from 1966 to 2004 at 58 St. George's Crescent in Westmount.[18] The former home is now Alberta Government Conference Centre, and the latter was demolished in 2005.[19]

Federal expenses

The federal expenses of the lieutenant governor in the exercise of her official duties for fiscal year 2017–2018 were:[21]

  • Travel and accommodation: $21,487
  • Hospitality: $57,104
  • Operational and administrative expenses: $10,119
  • Total: $88,710

See also


  • Munro, Kenneth (2005), The Maple Crown in Alberta: The Office of Lieutenant Governor, Victoria: Trafford, ISBN 1-4120-5317-X


  2. Victoria (29 March 1867), Constitution Act, 1867, V.58, Westminster: Queen's Printer, retrieved 15 January 2009
  5. "Lois Mitchell sworn in as lieutenant-governor", Edmonton Journal, 12 June 2015, retrieved 12 June 2015
  6. Elizabeth II (1 December 2005), Alberta Order of Excellence Act, 3.1, Calgary: Queen's Printer for Alberta, archived from the original on 11 February 2011, retrieved 21 June 2009
  7. "Canada Wide > About Us > The Order of St. John > The Order of St. John in Canada". St. John Ambulance Canada. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  8. Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. "Awards and Events". Queen's Printer for Alberta. Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  9. Berezovsky, Eugene (2009), Staff of Canadian Monarchist News (ed.), $1.52 per Canadian: The Cost of Canada's Constitutional Monarchy (PDF) (4 ed.), Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada, p. 3, archived from the original (PDF) on July 7, 2009, retrieved 15 May 2009
  11. Edward VII (20 July 1905), Alberta Act, 10, Westminster: King's Printer, retrieved 16 June 2009
  12. Munro, Kenneth (2005), The Maple Crown in Alberta: The Office of Lieutenant Governor, Victoria: Trafford, ISBN 978-1-4120-5317-4
  13. McWhinney, Edward (2005), The Governor General and the Prime Ministers, Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, pp. 38–39, ISBN 1-55380-031-1
  14. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. "Public Information > Lieutenant Governors > The Honourable John C. Bowen, 1937-50". Queen's Printer for Alberta. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  15. McWhinney 2005, p. 94
  17. "History of the building". Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  20. "Alberta's Government House". Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  21. Heritage, Canadian. "Expenses incurred by the Lieutenant Governors in the exercise of their official duties -". Retrieved 2018-12-02.
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2015
Succeeded by
Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
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