Canadian Armed Forces bid farewell to the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston

News Article / September 27, 2017

Department of National Defence

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Canadian Armed Forces’ community bid farewell to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, during an official ceremony on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

In appreciation of his outstanding support and dedicated service to the Canadian Armed Forces, the ceremony consisted of military honours including a CF-18 Hornet flypast; a 21-gun salute and a 100-person Guard of Honour.

“Serving as commander-in-chief has been a wonderful journey for me. It has also been a journey for my wife, Sharon, who was named an honorary naval captain for her work in supporting military families to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness,” said Governor General Johnston. “Both of us are grateful for having been welcomed into the Canadian Armed Forces family. It is a remarkable family consisting of remarkable people. Together, you serve Canada with a profound sense of duty and honour.”

His Excellency served as Commander-in-Chief for seven years. During his appointment, the Governor General made it a priority to support military members and their families through various initiatives and activities.

The ceremony was attended by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West, along with the Governor General’s spouse, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, Honorary Captain (Navy) of the Military Personnel Command.

“It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to our Commander-in-Chief, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Both he and Her Excellency Sharon Johnston have made the welfare of our women and men of the CAF one of their foremost priorities, said General Vance. “Over the past seven years, they have freely and selflessly given their time in support of those of us in uniform, whether here in Canada or overseas. It has been an honour and a privilege to know them, and I offer them my sincerest thanks for their tireless service.”

As commander-in-chief, the governor general performs many duties:

  • Acts on the recommendation of the prime minister regarding the appointment of the chief of the Defence Staff
  • Acts on recommendations of the Minister of National Defence regarding the appointment of Royal colonels of Canadian regiments
  • Approves new military badges and insignia
  • Visits Canadian Armed Forces personnel, their families and loved ones, at home and abroad
  • Presents new Colours to Canadian Armed Forces units
  • Awards military honours, such as the Order of Military Merit, Meritorious Service and Military Valour decorations, and the Peacekeeping and Special Service medals
  • Signs commissioning scrolls

In his role as Commander-in-Chief throughout his seven-year mandate, Governor General Johnston, along with Honorary Captain (Navy) Johnston:

  • Attended 330 military events and activities
  • Visited 12 Canadian Armed Forces bases;
  • Approved 79 new badges for Canadian Armed Forces Units 
  • Visited Canadian troops abroad on seven different occasions
  • Attended two change of command ceremonies for chiefs of the defence staff

They also accepted the role of Honorary Patrons of the Military Family Services Program (MFSP) in 2011.

Date modified: