Questions and answers
About the Senate appointments process
What is the Senate appointments process?
Canadians have the opportunity to apply directly for a Senate appointment on a year-round basis through an open application process based on merit-based criteria and requirements under the Constitution. Applications are retained for a two-year period beginning at the time of application.
Applications are reviewed by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (Advisory Board), an independent and non-partisan body established in 2016 to provide advice to the Prime Minister on candidates for Senate appointments. The Advisory Board, when convened by the Prime Minister, reviews applications in provinces and territories where there are planned or current vacancies.
When will the Advisory Board for my province/territory be named and when is the next Advisory Board meeting?
The Government of Canada is working to establish Advisory Boards for all provinces and territories with current or anticipated Senate vacancies. Advisory Board members will be announced in due course. Details regarding Advisory Board meetings are confidential and not disclosed.
Why isn’t there an application review date for my province/territory?
If there is no application review date, it means that the Advisory Board has not been established or is not yet ready to review applications for your province or territory. You can still submit your application. It will be retained for a two-year period and will be considered if a seat is or becomes vacant in your province or territory during that time. Information regarding upcoming Senate vacancies due to retirement can be found on the Senate of Canada's website.
Is there a deadline for the applications?
You may apply for a Senate appointment on a year-round basis through the open application process. Applications are held for a period of two years beginning at the time of application. If a seat in the Senate is or becomes vacant in your province or territory of residency during the retention period, your application will be provided to the Advisory Board for their consideration.
IMPORTANT – if there is an application review date on the Advisory Board website, please apply before this date to ensure your application is considered by the Advisory Board for this review. Applications received after this date may be considered by the Advisory Board for this cycle, or retained for a future cycle, at the Advisory Board’s discretion.
How can I find out if my application is still valid?
Applications are held for a period of two years beginning at the time of your application.
To view the date you submitted your application, you need to log in to your profile, go in My opportunities and find your application. If the date under Date applied is less than 2 years ago, your application is still valid and you should see No under the header Expired. Please note that updating your profile or your documents does not impact your 2-year expiry date.
What happens once the Advisory Board provides its recommendations to the Prime Minister?
The Prime Minister considers the names recommended by the Advisory Board and subsequently provides his recommendation for appointment to the Senate to the Governor General. Persons recommended to the Prime Minister as well as persons designated by the Prime Minister for a possible recommendation to the Governor General are subject to due diligence, including security and constitutional requirements checks.
What is the status of my application?
The status of an application will not be provided. Only those selected for further consideration will be contacted regarding the next stages of the process. We recommend that you keep your profile and application documentation up-to-date over the two-year retention period.
Can I update my application after the application review start date?
You can update your application after the application review start date, if one has been identified. However, it may not be considered by the Advisory Board until the next application review date.
You can also update your profile information or withdraw your application at any time.
How can I access the application documents I submitted in your system?
If you did not keep a copy of those documents, please contact us. Depending on when you submitted your application, we might be able to retrieve the documents and send them to you.
Can I submit additional material in support of my application?
There is no need to provide additional documents since the Advisory Board will only consider the ones that are required for your application to be considered complete, specifically a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, three reference letters, and a Background check consent form. More details on the required documents are available on the How to apply page.
When I previously submitted my application, I was asked to complete an application form. Now, I see that a cover letter is required. Do I need to provide a cover letter to be considered?
As long as your application is still valid (2-year retention period), you do not need to provide a cover letter. If you need to update your application form and you didn’t keep a copy, please contact us.
Will I be advised if the Advisory Board recommends me to the Prime Minister?
Details regarding Advisory Board meetings, their timelines and their recommendations to the Prime Minister are confidential and not disclosed. Only applicants that are selected for further consideration are contacted by the Advisory Board in due time. We recommend that you keep your profile and application documentation up-to-date over the two-year retention period.
My candidacy was not retained for a Senate appointment and I would like to receive feedback on my application. Who do I contact?
Feedback will not be provided on individual applications. Applicants who were not selected for an appointment to the Senate will be considered for future opportunities within the two-year retention period. Applicants may also reapply for future vacancies. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the assessment criteria and ensure that the information provided in your application demonstrates how you meet each of the criteria.
How can I find out if the seat for my province has been filled?
Information regarding Senate vacancies can be found in the Senators section of the Senate of Canada’s website. If there is no vacancy in your province or territory of residency at this time, you may still submit your application for a Senate appointment. Applications are held for a period of two years beginning at the time of your application. If a seat in the Senate is or becomes vacant in your province or territory of residency during the retention period, your application will be provided to the Advisory Board for their consideration.
How do I nominate an individual for a Senate appointment?
Organizations and individuals are encouraged to nominate individuals whom they consider to be high quality candidates for appointment to the Senate and whom they feel meet the assessment criteria. To nominate an individual for a Senate appointment, go to the Nomination page.
If you still have a question about the Senate appointments process, or require any assistance, please send us an email at email@example.com. We strive to respond to email inquiries within one business day.
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