Leader of the Official Opposition (Canada)

The leader of the Official Opposition (French: chef de l'Opposition officielle), formally known as the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (French: chef de la loyale opposition de Sa Majesté), is the politician who leads the Official Opposition in Canada, typically the leader of the party possessing the most seats in the House of Commons of Canada that is not the governing party or part of the governing coalition. The current Opposition leader is Erin O'Toole, who took office following his election as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada on August 24, 2020.

Though the leader of the Opposition must be a member of the House of Commons,[2] the office should not be confused with the leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, which is the formal title of the opposition house leader. There is also a leader of the Opposition in the Senate, who is usually of the same party as the leader of the Opposition in the house. If the leader of the opposition party is not a member of Parliament (MP), then a sitting MP takes the role of acting leader of the Opposition until the party leader can obtain a seat. Nine of officeholders have only served as an acting leader of the Opposition, including Deborah Grey (the first of three women to hold the position: Grey, Nycole Turmel and Rona Ambrose).

The leader of the Opposition is entitled to the same levels of pay and protection as a Cabinet minister and is often made a member of the Queen's Privy Council, generally the only non-government member of the House of Commons afforded that privilege. He or she is entitled to reside at the official residence of Stornoway and ranks fourteenth on the Order of Precedence, after Cabinet ministers and before lieutenant governors of the provinces. In the House of Commons seating plan, the leader of the Opposition sits directly across from the prime minister.

Two leaders of the Opposition have died in office: Wilfrid Laurier in 1919 and Jack Layton in 2011.[3]

The Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet in Canada is composed of members of the main opposition party, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and is responsible for holding the Government to account and for developing and disseminating the party's policy positions. Members of the official opposition are generally referred to as opposition critics, but the term Shadow Minister (which is generally used in other Westminster systems) is also used.