Government sources have confirmed University of Waterloo president David Johnston will become the next governor general.
The Ontario academic will be officially appointed governor general at the end of September or early October, after Michaelle Jean's term officially ends.
Johnston, 69, was selected by an advisory group of constitutional experts put together by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in order to make the appointment less political.
The small group consulted hundreds of people across Canada over several weeks, and Johnston's name quickly floated to the top.
He shook hands with the Queen when she was in Toronto last week, but has not yet had a formal audience with her, insiders say. Rather, that will come this summer as Johnston prepares to take over from Jean.
Johnston is meeting with Harper, and was to give a public statement at 11 a.m.
The highly educated legal scholar was born in Sudbury, Ont., and served 15 years as principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.
Johnston has studied at Harvard, Cambridge, and Queen's University in Ontario.
He wrote the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry which examined former prime minister Brian Mulroney's business dealings with German-Canadian arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber.
He also hosted televised federal leadership debates, including the famous stand-off between Mulroney and then-prime minister John Turner in 1984.
Johnston became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988, and was made a Companion in 1997.
He's also described as an avid athlete and family man, with five daughters and seven grandchildren who call him "Grandpa Book" because of his reading habits.
His wife, Sharon, has a doctorate in rehabilitation science. She now runs a horse training centre from the couple's home, Chatterbox Farm.
The Governor General is largely a ceremonial post, but Jean has had weighty decisions to make and an unusually high profile during an extended period of minority governments.
In December 2008, she allowed Harper to prorogue Parliament and buy time to thwart an attempt by the Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois opposition to form a coalition government.