The Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is the official Head of State and is represented in New Brunswick by the Lieutenant-Governor. Therefore, the Lieutenant-Governor is the nominal Head of State at the provincial level, empowered with the responsibility of representing the Queen in the province. However, the real power of governing resides with the Premier and the Executive Council (elected members appointed as Ministers of the Crown by the Lieutenant-Governor on the recommendation of the Premier).
The Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick is appointed by the Governor General-in-Council on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada. The document of appointment is signed by the Governor General. The appointment, by tradition, is usually for a period of not less than five years and carries the title of "The Honourable" for life. In conversation and correspondence the Lieutenant-Governor is addressed as "Your Honour", as is his or her spouse.
The Lieutenant-Governor serves in a dual capacity: first as representative of the Queen for all purposes of the provincial government; and secondly, as a federal officer in discharging certain functions on behalf of the federal government.
The Lieutenant-Governor opens, prorogues and dissolves the Legislative Assembly. The Lieutenant-Governor is responsible for swearing-in the Premier and Cabinet Ministers and must ensure that a government is in office at all times. The Chief Justice of New Brunswick, as Administrator, acts for the Lieutenant-Governor during his/her absence, illness or other inability. One or the other must be in the province at all times.
The Lieutenant-Governor gives Royal Assent to all Bills passed by the Legislature before they become law, and, as well, signs them and other official documents such as proclamations, and appointments of persons to government posts including deputy ministers, provincial judges, members of boards, agencies and commissions, crown attorneys, and justices of the peace. The Lieutenant-Governor also signs a number of other official government documents, including land patents, leases, and appointments of notaries public and commissioners for taking affidavits.
A major responsibility of the Lieutenant-Governor is to deliver the Speech from the Throne at the formal Opening of a new Session of the Legislative Assembly. This speech outlines proposed legislation, programs, and possible initiatives of the government for that Session.
In addition to those formal duties, the Lieutenant-Governor also engages in a large number of discretionary but traditional activities, such as lending patronage to not-for-profit organizations which are dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community. The Lieutenant-Governor sponsors awards, presents citations, and participates in investitures, dedications and other major events celebrating the achievements of the people of New Brunswick; writes messages of greeting, congratulations and condolence; hosts receptions, luncheons and dinners for guests of various organizations and professions; receives members of the Royal Family, heads of state, ambassadors, and other representatives of foreign countries, as well as people from all walks of life. During the course of the year, the Lieutenant-Governor attends hundreds of public events in support of community initiatives across the province.