Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Senate Appointments Process

Interpretation and Clarification of Criteria

Senate Appointments Self-Serve System

Winter 2017 Cycle

Summer 2016 Cycle

Senate Appointments Process

1. Why has the Government introduced an independent Senate appointments process?

The process is designed to restore public trust in the Senate and move towards a less partisan and more independent Senate. These changes will help the Senate to play its intended roles of “sober, second thought” when reviewing proposed legislation, and of representing regional and minority interests in Parliament.

2. What is the independent Senate appointments process?

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments was established to provide advice to the Prime Minister on candidates for Senate appointments.

The appointment process was implemented in two phases.  During the transitional phase, seven vacancies were filled from the provinces with the most vacancies in March and April 2016. During the transitional phase, the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments consulted with organizations in the province of vacancy in order to seek candidates for the Senate.

The permanent process was launched in July 2016 and includes an application process open to Canadians. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments prepares a non-binding short-list of candidates for the Prime Minister’s consideration for each vacancy to be filled. The first cycle of the permanent process sought to fill twenty-one Senate vacancies. The current cycle of the permanent process is intended to fill seven Senate vacancies.

3. What are the key differences between the transitional phase and the permanent process?

During the transitional phase, the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments consulted with organizations in the province of vacancy in order to seek candidates for the Senate. Organizations were asked to consider nominating individuals whom they considered to be potential candidates for appointment to the Senate and whom they felt met the assessment criteria. Applicants could not nominate themselves or apply directly in the transitional phase; they had to be nominated by an organization.

In the permanent process, Canadians can apply directly for Senate positions through an online application process and do not need to be nominated by an organization.

The assessment criteria for both the transitional and permanent process are the same.

4. Does this new Senate appointment process require a constitutional amendment?

No.  Under the Constitution, the power to appoint Senators rests with the Governor General.  By constitutional convention, the Governor General’s power is exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments prepares a non-binding short-list of candidates for the Prime Minister’s consideration for each vacancy to be filled.

5. Are the provinces and territories included in the process?

Two of the five Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments members are selected from the province or territory in which a vacancy arises. Provinces are given an opportunity to engage in the process by providing a list of individuals for consideration as provincial members for the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.

6. Are the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ recommendations to the Prime Minister binding?

No. The decision to recommend to the Governor General persons for appointment to the Senate rests with the Prime Minister.

7. What happens once the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments provides its recommendations to the Prime Minister?

The Prime Minister considers the names recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments and subsequently provides his recommendations for appointment to the Senate to the Governor General.

8. What are the requirements to become a Senator?

The assessment criteria are available on the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website.

9. Can I apply to become a Senator?

Canadians can apply for appointment to the Senate through an open application process based on transparent, merit-based criteria and requirements under the Constitution.

Canadians are invited to monitor the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website for updates on future opportunities. In the meantime, you may want to read about the job of a Senator, review the assessment criteria, and create a profile in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system.

10. Can I apply to become a Senator in more than one province or territory?

Applicants may only apply to become a Senator in their province or territory of residency. More information on residency requirements is available in the assessment criteria section of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website.

11. Do I need to be nominated by an organization?

The permanent process is open to Canadians. You may apply directly for consideration by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.  However, one or more of your reference letters in support of your application can come from an organization.

12. Can I recommend a candidate for appointment to the Senate?

Canadians can apply directly for appointment to the Senate.  You can support an applicant by providing a reference letter. You can also quickly and easily share information about the Senate appointment process with potential applicants by email or on social media using the “Share” button on the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website.

13. What happens to my application once I submit it? How are applications screened?

Applications are provided to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments for their review and consideration.

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments members’ review each application, applying the assessment criteria, to identify potential candidates for recommendation to the Prime Minister.

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments members then meet to discuss the applications received and agree upon the candidates to be recommended to the Prime Minister.

Interpretation and Clarification of Criteria

14. What documents do I need to provide as proof of residency?

If asked, you would be expected to provide documents such as:

  • Copy of photo identification, such as current driver’s license, that is at least two years old, indicating your address (Note: if your valid identification is less than two years old, additional supporting documentation supporting your place of residence will be required); and
  • Copies of bills, statements or other documentation, in your name, indicating the place of residence in the province at least two years before the date of application.

If you wanted to seek an exception to the two year residency requirement, you would be asked to provide proof of residency in the province more than two years before the date of application, plus:

  • Letter of acceptance, on letterhead, from the educational institution outside of the province in your name, indicating the length of program/period of study; or
  • Confirmation of employment, on letterhead, from employer outside of province in your name indicating term of employment; and/or
  • Such other supporting documentation as may be required to prove that you fit within the exception.

15. What documents do I need to provide as proof of real property ownership?

If asked, you would be expected to provide documents such as:

  • Copy of registered deed or transfer of land indicating that you are the registered owner of the land;
  • Copy of land titles register for the property showing the above-noted transfer or deed and indicating all registered encumbrances and their value; and
  • A current property assessment of the value of the property, its municipal address and location.

Note: if necessary, further documentation may be requested.

16. What documentation do I need to provide as proof that I have a net worth of at least $4,000?

You do not have to provide any documentation with your application. However, should it be requested, acceptable documents may include institutional documentation (e.g., bank statements or other proof of assets and their value). Notarized copies of documentation may also be required.

17. Do I have to submit proof of residency, net worth, citizenship, age and/or property ownership with my application?

You do not have to submit proof of the constitutional requirements with your application.

Proof of these constitutional requirements will be collected, as needed, at a later stage of the appointment process.

Senate Appointments Self-Serve System

18. Why do I need to create a profile?

Given the high level of interest in the Senate appointments process, an online system (Senate Appointments Self-Serve system) is being used to collect applications from Canadians.

Creating a profile is the first step in the online application process. It will also allow you to take advantage of the benefits of the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system. You can create a profile at any time from a computer, smartphone or tablet. Your profile information can also be updated at any time. For example, if your contact information changes, you can log in and update your profile to ensure that the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments has accurate contact information for past and current applications.

19. How do I create a profile?

You can create a new profile by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Applicant login page.
  2. Click on the hyperlink “Register” above the “Email address” field.
  3. Read and accept the Terms and conditions. Click on “Submit”.
  4. Fill out the Registration form. Be sure to take note of the email address you used.
  5. Click on “Register” at the bottom of the page after you have filled out all mandatory fields. Be sure to take note of your username, password, security question and your answer to your security question for future reference. The above noted fields are case sensitive.
  6. You will receive a confirmation email. Click on the link within the email to activate your account.
  7. Your account is now created.

20. How long will it take to create my profile?

On average, it takes about 15 minutes to create a profile in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system.

21. When can I create my profile in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system?

You can create your profile in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system at any time.  Once you have entered your profile information, you will receive an email to confirm and activate your account. 

22. Why did I receive a verification email after I created my profile?

This step allows the system administrator to validate that the profile is coming from a valid source.  If you have not already done so, select the link in the verification email to activate your account.  Once your account is active, you can select a process and submit your application. 

23. I created my profile in the system but I did not receive a validation email.

When you create your account, you will receive a validation email containing instructions on how to validate your account. The validation email will include, as part of the instructions, a website address link.

If you have not received this email, please check your SPAM folder or contact your email administrator to review blocked email addresses.

If the problem persists, please contact us toll-free at 1-888-854-1806 (toll-free in North America; TTY 1-800-465-7735) for technical assistance.

24. I forgot my password.  How do I reset it?

To reset your password:

  1. Navigate to the Applicant login page.
  2. Click on “Forgot your password?” just above the “Log in” button.
  3. Enter your email address (the one you used to register) and click on the “Submit” button.
  4. Answer your Security Question and click on the “Submit” button.
  5. Enter a new password. Enter it a second time to confirm the change and click on the “New password” button.
  6. Your password has now been reset. You will receive a confirmation email. 

25. How do I change my password?

To change your password:

  1. While logged in, navigate to the “Accounts settings” page by clicking on the “My profile” button.
  2. Click on the “Change my password” button.
  3. Enter a new password. Enter it a second time to confirm the change and click on the “New password” button.
  4. Your password has now been changed. You will receive a confirmation email.

26. Could you please provide me with an example of a password with the required criteria?

A password must include a capital letter, a number and a special character (e.g. #, $, %, ?, &; some computers do not accept the asterisk*) and must have a minimum of 6 characters. Here is an example: Senat3%

27. My account is locked for 24 hours due to too many unsuccessful logins. How should I proceed?

For security reasons, accounts will be locked for 24 hours on the Senate Appointments Self-Service system after five unsuccessful login attempts.

If you have forgotten your password, please follow the steps below to reset it:

  1. Navigate to the Applicant login page.
  2. Click on “Forgot your password?” just above the “Log in” button.
  3. Enter your email address (the one you used to register) and click on the “Submit” button.
  4. Answer your Security Question and click on the “Submit” button.
  5. Enter a new password. Enter it a second time to confirm the change and click on the “New password” button.
  6. Your password has now been reset. You will receive a confirmation email.

28. My contact information is changing.  How do I notify the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments? What if my contact information changes after the application deadline?

You should update your contact information by accessing the profile you created in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ Secretariat will be informed of the changes.

29. How do I update my profile?

To update your profile:

  1. While logged in, navigate to the “Accounts settings” page by clicking on the “My profile” button.
  2. Click on the “Update my profile” button.
  3. Enter updates required in any of the fields.
  4. Click on “Update”.
  5. Open your profile to confirm or correct the updates.

30. Will I be able to use the same profile and application for future opportunities?

If you previously applied for an opportunity, we encourage you to retain a copy of your application package for possible use in the future.

31. I submitted an application for a Senate appointments process, but I have changed my mind.  How do I withdraw my application?

Individuals who wish to withdraw their application from further consideration must advise the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments by filling out the Questions and comments form available in the Contact us section of the website.

32. What happens if I withdraw my application?

If you withdraw your application, it remains in the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system but it will not be given to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments for their consideration. Your profile remains active.

33. How do I delete my profile?

To delete your profile:

  1. While logged in, navigate to the “Accounts settings” page by clicking on the “My profile” button.
  2. Click on the “Delete my account” button.
  3. A pop up window will open.
  4. Click on “OK”.
  5. Your account has been deleted.

Important – please note that if you delete your account, any previously submitted applications will continue to be processed.  If you no longer wish to be considered, you must withdraw your application prior to deleting your account.

Winter 2017 Cycle

34. How many vacancies are to be filled in the Senate through the winter 2017 cycle?

There are seven vacancies to be filled in the Senate through the winter 2017 cycle: one in New Brunswick, three in Nova Scotia and three in Ontario. 

35. What was the deadline to apply to become a Senator through the winter 2017 cycle?

The application deadline for the winter 2017 cycle was January 25, 2017 at 23:59 Eastern Time.

36. When can I expect to be contacted regarding my application for the winter 2017 cycle?

Due to the high number of applicants, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted. Your understanding is appreciated.

37. When will the results of the winter 2017 cycle be released?

The Prime Minister will make an announcement once he has made his selections. The exact timing is unknown.

Updates will be posted on the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website as information becomes available.

38. My candidacy was not retained for a Senate appointment and I would like to receive feedback on my application. Who do I contact?

Due to the high number of applicants, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted. Feedback will not be provided on individual applications. Your understanding is appreciated.

Applicants who were not selected for appointment to the Senate at this time may reapply for future vacancies. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the assessment criteria and ‎ensure that the information provided in your future application demonstrates how you meet each of the criteria.

39. Will I be advised if the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments recommends me to the Prime Minister?

Advice to the Prime Minister is confidential and will not be disclosed. Your understanding is appreciated.

40. Will the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ recommendations to the Prime Minister be made public?

Advice to the Prime Minister is confidential and will not be disclosed. Your understanding is appreciated.

41. How many applications were received for the winter 2017 cycle? How many applications were received for each province?

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments will provide that information in its report to the Prime Minister on the current cycle of the permanent process. The report will also be made public.

42. When will the report provided to the Prime Minister by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments be made public?

Within three months of submitting the names of qualified candidates to the Prime Minister, the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments must provide a report, in both official languages, to the Prime Minister that contains information on the process, including on the execution of the terms of reference, the costs relating to the Advisory Board’s activities and statistics relating to the applications received.

The report will be posted on the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments’ website after it is submitted to the Prime Minister.

Summer 2016 Cycle

43. Who was appointed to the Senate for the summer 2016 cycle?

The Prime Minister announced his intention to recommend the appointment of nine new Senators to fill vacancies in the Senate for the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on October 27, 2016.

The Prime Minister made a subsequent announcement on October 31, 2016, of his intention to recommend the appointment of six new Senators to fill vacancies in the Senate for the province of Ontario.

The Prime Minister made a third announcement on November 2, 2016, of his intention to recommend the appointment of six new Senators to fill vacancies in the Senate for the province of Quebec.

44. How many applications were received for the summer 2016 cycle? How many applications were received for each province?

More than 2,700 applications were received from Canadians across the country. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments provided additional information on the process in its report to the Prime Minister.

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