Mandate and members

What is the mandate of the Advisory Board?

The Advisory Board is an independent and non-partisan body whose mandate is to provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations to the Prime Minister on Senate appointments. It was established on January 19, 2016 and consists of three permanent federal members and two members from each of the provinces or territories where a vacancy is to be filled‍. The Advisory Board is chaired by one of the federal members and is supported by the Privy Council Office. 

Terms of reference for the Advisory Board

What is the role of the Advisory Board?

An open application process has been established to allow Canadians to apply for appointment to the Senate.

The Advisory Board assesses applications based on public, merit-based criteria, in order to identify Canadians who would make a significant contribution to the work of the Senate. The criteria helps to ensure a high standard of integrity, collaboration, and non-partisanship in the Senate.

The Advisory Board provides a short-list of five names for each vacancy to the Prime Minister for his consideration, in accordance with their Terms of reference.

How many members sit on the Advisory Board?

The Advisory Board has five members: a federal Chair, two other federal members and two ad hoc provincial or territorial members for the province or territory where a vacancy is being filled.

Who are the current federal members of the Advisory Board?

  • Huguette Labelle (Chair)

    Huguette Labelle holds a PhD (education) degree from the University of Ottawa, has honorary degrees from 12 Canadian universities, and from the University of Notre Dame, United States. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada. In addition, she is a recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Vanier Medal of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada, the McGill University Management Achievement Award and La Francophonie’s Ordre de la Pléiade.

    Ms. Labelle is Emeritus Governor of the University of Ottawa, and was Chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1994 to 2012. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation board, Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, and board member of the Global Centre for Pluralism, Global Financial Integrity, and the Aga Khan Museum. Ms. Labelle is also a member of RESOLVE’s Natural Resources and Energy Leadership Council and Advisory Board, and the University of Ottawa Campaign Cabinet. She is also a former chair of Transparency International, as well as a former board member of UN Global Compact.

    Ms. Labelle also served for 19 years as deputy minister in various Canadian government departments, including Secretary of State, Transport Canada, the Public Service Commission, and the Canadian International Development Agency.

  • Melissa Blake

    Melissa Blake was elected to six consecutive terms, beginning in 1998, for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She was first elected as mayor in October 2004 and concluded her final term in 2017.

    Being the top elected official for one of Canada's largest municipalities brought with it tremendous challenges and opportunities. Wood Buffalo is the heart of Canada's energy industry and is often subject to global scrutiny. When the 2016 Horse River Wildfire forced the evacuation of 88,000 people, Mayor Blake’s strength and dedication earned the hearts and minds of Albertans, Canadians and the world. In Wood Buffalo, she worked hard to get her citizens "home".

    Ms. Blake has served on numerous committees in addition to her regular council duties, including those related to development, protective services, community services and affordable housing. She has also served on two provincial associations.

    Ms. Blake brought a range of experience including public affairs, materials & services and human resources to elected service from her corporate career. She holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from Athabasca University and has received numerous awards for her work.

    She resides permanently in Fort McMurray, Alberta with her husband and two sons.

  • François Rolland

    The Honourable François Rolland was appointed a Superior Court of Quebec justice in 1996 and Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec in 2004, a position he held until he retired in 2015.

    Following his retirement, the Quebec government appointed Mr. Rolland as Director of the Voluntary Reimbursement Program, where he served until the program ended in November 2017. He also presides over private mediation and arbitration mandates, involving mostly commercial matters, including large multi-jurisdictional class actions.

    Mr. Rolland, Advocatus Emeritus, is an Officer of the Order of Canada, member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), a founding member and former chair of the Judges’ Forum of the CBA, and a past president of the CBA’s Quebec Branch and of the Young Bar of Montréal. Mr. Rolland was awarded the Louis St-Laurent award for his exceptional contribution to the CBA and the CBA’s Centennial Medal.

    A board member of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, Mr. Rolland is also a member of the International Insolvency Institute, Chair of the Board of Directors of Éducaloi, and a Commissioner of Ethics for the Barreau du Québec. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique from 2015 to 2021 including Vice President from 2017 to 2019. He also taught ethics at the National Judicial Institute for 10 years.

    The Honourable François Rolland graduated from University of Montreal in 1974 and was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1975. Before his appointment as a judge, he was a partner at the law firm Fasken Martineau, practising mainly in the field of commercial and civil litigation.

    In 2019, he joined Langlois lawyers as Senior Counsel, Mediator and Arbitrator.

Who are the current provincial or territorial members of the Advisory Board?


  • Both positions are currently vacant

British Columbia

  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Both positions are currently vacant

New Brunswick

  • Both positions are currently vacant

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Both positions are currently vacant

Northwest Territories

  • Both positions are currently vacant

Nova Scotia

  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Anthony Primerano

    Anthony Primerano is a business leader with over 20 years of experience assuring strategic successes in both the private and public sectors. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Western Ontario and is currently the Director of Government Relations for the Laborers’ International Union of North America—the largest trade union in North America, with 600,000 members. He was hired to improve the union’s position within all levels of government, address key regulatory and policy issues, and clarify the union’s messaging.

    He previously worked for MGIC, a mortgage insurance company based in the United States, to direct its marketing and communications strategy when it launched in the Canadian market. He has also worked as the ministerial chief of staff for Veterans Affairs Canada, National Defence and Canadian Heritage, and has advised Fortune 500 companies on corporate affairs, communications, and reputation management.

    Mr. Primerano served on the board of advisers for Clover Insurance Brokers, the oldest licensed brokerage firm in Canada, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and chaired the advisory board for Integrated Planning and Solutions, a multi-faceted insurance brokerage firm.

    Mr. Primerano is an active volunteer within his community, particularly as a member of the board of directors for Ontario Track 3, a charitable organization that gives children with disabilities access to alpine sports. He has received a Governor General’s award and the University of Toronto Arbor Award.

  • Murray Segal

    Following a distinguished career with the Ontario government, including eight years as Deputy Attorney General of Ontario and a stint as Deputy Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Murray Segal now practises as an independent legal counsel and consultant in Toronto. His practice focuses on helping the public and broader public service to improve the delivery of services and access to justice.

    Mr. Segal was the chief legal adviser to the Government of Ontario and an adviser to Cabinet, the Attorney General, other ministers, and deputy ministers. In that capacity, he oversaw all government litigation and the development of legislation. Prior to his time as Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Segal was the Chief Prosecutor for the Province of Ontario, leading the largest provincial prosecution service in Canada.

    Mr. Segal is certified as a criminal law specialist by the Law Society of Ontario and is the author of numerous legal publications, with a particular focus on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, disclosure, and procedure. He also frequently participates in continuing education programs.

    Mr. Segal is the president of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Toronto and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In 2013, he was appointed as a member of the Ontario Review Board. He also serves as a presiding officer at inquests. Mr. Segal has authored many reports including a report to the Province of Nova Scotia on the justice system’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parsons matter. He co-authored a report for Ontario on improving the Ontario Provincial Police’s workplace culture with an emphasis on sound mental health.

Prince Edward Island

  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Both positions are currently vacant


  • Both positions are currently vacant

How are the members appointed to the Advisory Board?

The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoints the Advisory Board members. Consultations with provincial or territorial governments are undertaken in order to inform the appointment of provincial or territorial members.

How long is each Advisory Board member’s term?

Members of the Advisory Board each serve a term not exceeding three years.

May an Advisory Board member’s term be renewed?

Yes, a member’s term may be renewed.

Are members of the Advisory Board paid for their services?

Advisory Board members are entitled to a per diem rate which is consistent with the Remuneration guidelines for part-time Governor in Council appointees in agencies, boards and commissions. This per diem range is $375-$450 for members and $550-$650 for the Chairperson.

Can I contact the Chair or other members of the Advisory Board?

Yes. The Secretariat for the Advisory Board is responsible for managing the Board’s correspondence. Click here to find out how to contact the Advisory Board.

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