The governor general presides over the swearing-in of the prime minister, the Chief Justice of Canada and cabinet ministers. One of the governor general's most important responsibilities is to ensure that Canada always has a prime minister and government in place. In the case of the death of a prime minister, it is the governor general's responsibility to ensure the continuity of government.
The governor general has important parliamentary responsibilities. Canada's Parliament consists of three parts: the House of Commons, the Senate and the governor general. It is the governor general who summons Parliament, sets out the government's program by reading the Speech from the Throne, and gives Royal Assent which makes Acts of Parliament law.
The governor general signs official documents and meets regularly with the prime minister and government officials. She has the right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn.
The governor general is Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces. She visits military personnel both at home and abroad, encouraging and honouring them.
The governor general receives royal visitors, heads of State and other prominent guests. She accepts the credentials of new ambassadors who represent their respective countries in Canada. In her State visits abroad, the Governor General leads delegations reflecting a broad range of Canadian interests, accomplishment and expertise.
The governor general is Chancellor of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit. The governor general presents honours and awards on behalf of all Canadians to recognize people who have demonstrated excellence, courage or exceptional dedication to service that brings credit to the country. The Order of Canada recognizes lifetime achievement; the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize exceptional deeds or activities; the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award recognizes selfless voluntarism; and the Decorations for Bravery recognize acts of courage performed in dangerous situations.