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Governor General's office spent more than $117K on dry cleaning between 2018 and 2023

The band performs as Governor General Mary Simon conducts an inspection of the Ceremonial Guard at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Friday, June 23, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang) The band performs as Governor General Mary Simon conducts an inspection of the Ceremonial Guard at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Friday, June 23, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

The Governor General's office spent more than $117,000 on dry cleaning over the past five-plus years.

According to a document tabled in the House of Commons on the request of Conservative MP Kelly McCauley, the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General spent a total of $117,566.34 on dry cleaning between Jan. 1, 2018 and May 30. That works out to over $1,800 a month, or nearly $21,700 a year.

"While record number of Canadians are going to food banks just to get by, this latest spending scandal is disgraceful," McCauley told on Friday. "Taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for such out of control spending which is why we called on the government to reduce the budget of the Office of the Governor General."

Eighty per cent of the dry cleaning bills – or almost $95,000 – was for uniforms worn by military personnel, hospitality staff and student tour guides. More than $13,500 was spent to clean linens like tablecloths and napkins. 

Nearly $10,000 was also spent for dry cleaning the Governor General's personal clothing, including $6,576.12 for outfits worn by former vice regal Julie Payette and $2,974.64 for current Gov. Gen. Mary Simon.

In a statement to, the Governor General's office explained that while it has in-house laundry service for items like dishtowels and bedsheets, "it does not have the capacity or equipment to provide dry cleaning services."

"Dry cleaning is required for military uniforms, hospitality and student uniforms, as well as for larger and more delicate household items (i.e. heritage and embroidered tablecloths) which account for 92 per cent of dry cleaning costs," the spokesperson explained. "Construction in 2022 caused an extended water disruption at Rideau Hall requiring (the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General) to send out an increased number of items for dry cleaning that would have otherwise been laundered in-house."

The spokesperson added that "every effort" is made " to limit costs relating to laundering and dry cleaning" needed for events. 

McCauley received the dry cleaning data through an order paper question. Similar to freedom of information requests, order paper questions allow members of Parliament to pose questions and get written responses from the government. A response to McCauley's May 30 questions were tabled in parliament on Sept. 18.

"The spending in the Office of the Governor General is outrageous," McCauley, MP for Edmonton West, told "(We) are holding the government to account with these official questions."

The Governor General's office received $33.8 million in federal funding in the 2022 fiscal year. The post comes with an annual salary of more than $350,000 and a clothing expense account worth up to $130,000 over their five-year mandate. 

Based at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the Governor General serves as the representative of the Canadian monarch, King Charles III, and frequently hosts official ceremonies, receptions and diplomatic events. Mary Simon was named to the prestigious post in July 2021, following the Jan. 2021 resignation of Julie Payette over a workplace harassment scandal.

The current Governor General's spending has come under increased scrutiny after it was revealed that a March 2022 trip to the Middle East included an $80,367.19 fee for in-flight catering.

McCauley chairs the House Government Operations and Estimates Committee. In an Oct. 2023 report on the Governor General's travel expenditures, the committee recommended in part that "all necessary measures be taken to improve the financial transparency and accountability of the Office of the Governor General (Head of State), including a requirement for the Office to publish an annual report on its activities on its website, including its financial statements."

The Conservative members of the committee also called for the reduction of the Governor General's budget.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group, publicized the dry cleaning figures earlier in the week.

"This is another perk the governor general enjoys that struggling Canadians can’t afford," Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Franco Terrazzano said in a news release. "Why does the Governor General’s office need to spend so much on dry cleaning when it already has staff doing laundry and there’s a six-figure expense account for new clothes?"




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