Governor General's office has spent over $117K on dry cleaning since 2018: report

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The Governor General and Rideau Hall have spent six figures on dry-cleaning in recent years, according to data from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

The non-profit citizen advocacy group, dedicated to holding the government accountable and lowering taxes, found that the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General racked up a $117,566 bill on professional dry-cleaning services since 2018, despite already having in-house staff on the payroll in charge of doing the laundry.

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Additionally, the dry-cleaning tab at Rideau Hall is costing taxpayers an average of more than $1,800 a month, the report states.

Julie Payette held the title of Governor General from late 2017 to January 2021. She was followed by incumbent Mary Simon.

The expenditures were released on Sept. 18 at Rideau Hall in response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Kelly McCauley from Edmonton West on May 30.

“What was the total amount spent on dry cleaning and laundry services by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) in each of the last five fiscal years,” McCauley enquired to the House of Commons.

GG Dry Cleaning Order Paper Response by lchaya on Scribd

He asked for a breakdown by type of items such as furniture, curtains and personal clothing and type of service, like dry cleaning or traditional laundry.

“What are the details of all expenditures over $1,000 that were made under code 0819 (Non-professional personal service contracts not elsewhere specified), since January 2, 2018,” his final question stated on the official inquiry.

In response to McCauley, the office noted that traditional laundering is done in-house, however “the main sanitary line at Rideau Hall had to be replaced and as such, OSGG had no access to its in-house laundry facilities.”

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As a result of construction and access disruption lasting over seven months, OSGG resorted to sending out “increased amounts of fabrics and garments — that would otherwise have been cleaned in-house — to be dry cleaned.”

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“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?” CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano said in a statement. “Whether it’s feasting on fancy airplane food, spending a fortune on a limo service in Iceland, or staying in the finest of hotels, Rideau Hall spares no expense when it’s taxpayers picking up the tab.”

In May, Christopher Nardi for the National Post reported that Simon and her predecessor, Payette, billed taxpayers over $88,000 in clothing purchases since 2017.

They expensed nearly 200 clothing items with price tags ranging from $3,000 for a “black velvet dress with silk lining” purchased by Payette in 2018 to $18.95 white gloves by Simon for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration events in London in 2022.

Details revealed by the CTA show that the Governor General’s annual salary is over $350,000, pocketing a $9,500 pay raise in 2023.

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