Report of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments – April 1, 2019 to August 1, 2021

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

December 10, 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

Pursuant to our Terms of Reference, on behalf of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, I submit to you this report on our work for the period of April 1, 2019 to August 1, 2021, during which time eleven appointments were made to the Senate. As mentioned in our December 2018 report, given the adoption in 2018 of an ongoing application and appointments process, and for administrative efficiency purposes, we are reporting costs on a fiscal year basis.

Please note that our next report will cover the costs for the period of April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, and will be submitted when final costs for the 2021-2022 fiscal year are available. We thank you for your continued confidence and for the opportunity to support such an important process.


Signature of Huguette Labelle, Chairperson

Huguette Labelle, Chairperson
Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

1. Introduction

This report has been prepared pursuant to paragraph 13 (See Annex A) of the Terms of Reference for the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (the Advisory Board), which states:

This is the Advisory Board’s fifth report, which covers the period from April 1, 2019, to August 1, 2021. The Advisory Board’s previous reports are available on our website.

2. Establishment 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 nominations. It was established by the Governor in Council (GIC) on January 19, 2016 (Order in Council PC 2016-0011). The Terms of Reference for the Advisory Board (See Annex A) were also approved by the GIC and made public through the same Order in Council. Members of the Advisory Board are appointed pursuant to paragraph 127.1(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act as special advisers to the Prime Minister.

The Advisory Board consists of three federal members, one of whom is appointed as Chairperson, and two members chosen from each of the provinces/territories where a vacancy is to be filled. The federal members participate in deliberations related to all vacancies, whereas the provincial/territorial members participate only in deliberations related to vacancies in their respective province/territory.

The following table indicates when Advisory Board members were appointed by the GIC for work completed during the period covered in this report.

Member Appointment date and duration
(for period covered in this report)
Huguette Labelle (Chairperson) July 19, 2018 (two years) and July 20, 2020 (two years)
Melissa Blake (Federal) and
François Rolland (Federal)
April 10, 2018 (two years) and July 20, 2020 (two years)
Riel Bellegarde (Saskatchewan) May 29, 2018 (one year) and March 9, 2020 (one year)
Vianne Timmons (Saskatchewan) May 29, 2018 (one year) and March 9, 2020 to April 30, 2020
Elizabeth Cannon (Alberta)
Karen MacKenzie (Alberta)
Roger Clinch (New Brunswick)
Pierre-Marcel Desjardins (New Brunswick)
Greg Poelzer (Saskatchewan)
October 1, 2020 (one year)
Maria Battaglia (Quebec) June 6, 2019 (one year) and October 1, 2020 (one year)
Bruno Marchand (Quebec) June 6, 2019 (one year) and October 1, 2020 to April 11, 2021
Anthony Primerano (Ontario)
Murray Segal (Ontario)
December 10, 2020 (one year)

Additional information on the establishment of the Advisory Board and the previous cycles can be found on our website. Biographical notes for members involved during the period covered in this report can be found in Annex B.

3. Application process

In 2016 and 2017, the Advisory Board conducted four separate appointments cycles that had open and closing dates to receive applications. Since February 2018, when the Government of Canada announced enhancements to the Senate appointments process, Canadians have been able to apply for a Senate appointment at any time, regardless of whether there is a vacancy in their province or territory. We also now consider applications received over the past two years, and review nominations that individuals or organizations submit through a form on our website.

As with every cycle since the summer of 2016, Canadians had the opportunity to apply directly for an appointment to the Senate through the Senate Appointments Self-Serve system. Applicants who had submitted an application package in the preceding two years were not required to submit a new application. However, they could update any of their documents and those updates were considered by the Advisory Board if received in time for our review.

4. Number of applications and diversity

The Advisory Board assessed 1,127 applications during the period covered in this report. The data below includes diversity information that candidates self-identified in their profile. Some Canadians applied more than once during this time, given the two-year retention period, but were counted only once in this table.

This image presents data for the distibution of candidacies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Text version - Applicant Distribution
Applicant Distribution
Province Group First Official Minority Language Fluent or Functional Bilingualism
Women Indigenous peoples Visible Minorities Persons with Disabilities LGBTQ2 persons Ethnic/Cultural Groups
Alberta 35 8 33 5 4 32 4 20
New Brunswick 22 3 8 7 3 16 23 46
Ontario 203 32 188 56 29 166 54 224
Quebec 136 25 78 18 14 75 71 340
Saskatchewan 20 16 12 2 0 12 6 17
Total 416 84 319 88 50 301 158 647
Total number of candidacies 1,127

5. Outreach

In March 2018, the Advisory Board engaged with over 1,700 national, provincial/territorial and local organizations across the country to share information about the appointment process broadly among Canadians. Organizations were invited to reach out to their members and networks to identify high-calibre candidates who met the assessment criteria and encourage them to apply. The Advisory Board conducted a similar campaign in the targeted provinces in October and December 2020, and reached out to candidates at the same time to encourage them to reapply or update their application.

6. Meetings of the Advisory Board

Over the course of the period covered in this report, the Advisory Board met as required to establish its lists of recommendations for the Prime Minister. In 2019–2020, the meetings were held in person in Ottawa and by teleconference to minimize travel-related costs. In 2020–2021, the Advisory Board always met virtually, given the pandemic situation. As noted in the Terms of Reference, the Advisory Board is supported by the Privy Council Office (PCO), and the head of the Senior Personnel Secretariat (or her delegate) acts as the ex officio secretary to the Advisory Board.

7. Review process

Members of the Advisory Board conducted a comprehensive review of the applications submitted for their consideration. The assessment criteria provided by the Prime Minister were used as the foundation for the application review. At all times, members observed the highest standards of impartiality, integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality in their consideration of the candidates.

Federal members reviewed all applications, while the provincial members reviewed only those that were received for their province. Once the members completed their individual reviews, the provincial advisory boards convened to undertake their deliberations. This was consistent with the approach used for previous cycles. The meetings concluded with a list of recommendations for the Prime Minister, and decisions were reached using a consensus approach.

The recommended candidates were subject to the due diligence required for those seeking public office to confirm their suitability.

8. Recommendation process

The Advisory Board established a list of qualified candidates for each of the targeted vacancies in the timeframe requested for submitting recommendations. The Prime Minister was given a package that included the list of recommended candidates in alphabetical order (i.e. without ranking or prioritization). The package included a short synopsis to highlight the merits of each of the recommended candidates, the application documents provided by the candidates, as well as any nominations received through our website.

9. Costs

In all cycles, the Advisory Board made efforts to minimize expenses. Further to our previous report, we are pleased to provide the final costs for April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, as well as total costs for the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 fiscal years.

Period covered Total expenses Advisory Board salaries and travel costsFootnote 1 PCO Secretariat salaries and operational costs
2018-2019 $583,727 $159,048Footnote 2 $424,679
2019-2020 $330,189 $39,701Footnote 3 $290,488
2020-2021 $318,020 $51,439Footnote 4 $266,581

In accordance with the Terms of Reference for the Advisory Board, the costs outlined in this report relate to the Advisory Board’s activities. Additional costs incurred by PCO are part of PCO’s operations and are reported through the department’s reporting to Parliament.

10. Confidentiality

In keeping with the Terms of Reference, the Advisory Board’s activities were conducted with strict confidentiality. Information that was brought before the members was held in confidence and information on candidacies was not disclosed, pursuant to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. Therefore, the Advisory Board has not and will not publicly share any information about candidates.

11. Conclusion

The two electoral periods and the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the timing of the report. The Advisory Board members are honoured and appreciate the opportunity to serve their country on such an important initiative.

Annex A: Terms of Reference for the Advisory Board


1 The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments ("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 nominations.

Composition of the Advisory Board

  1. 2 (1) Members of the Advisory Board are appointed pursuant to paragraph 127.1‍(1)‍(c) of the Public Service Employment Act as special advisers to the Prime Minister.
  2. (2) The Advisory Board is to consist of:
    1. (a) three permanent federal members ("federal members"), one of which is to be appointed as Chairperson; and
    2. (b) two ad hoc members chosen from each of the provinces or territories where a vacancy is to be filled ("provincial members".
  3. (3) The federal members must participate in deliberations relating to all existing and anticipated Senate vacancies.
  4. (4) The provincial members must participate only in deliberations relating to existing and anticipated Senate vacancies in their respective province or territory.

Length of Advisory Board Terms

  1. 3 (1) The federal members of the Advisory Board are to be appointed for two-year terms. Provincial members are to be appointed for terms not exceeding one year.
  2. (2) Despite subsection (1), the initial appointments of the federal members will vary in length in order to permit the staggering of terms, as follows:
    1. (a) the term of the first Chairperson is 30 months;
    2. (b) the terms of each of the first two other federal members are 24 months and 18 months respectively.
  3. (3) The terms of Advisory Board members may be renewed.
  4. (4) The Advisory Board is to be convened at the discretion and on the request of the Prime Minister who may establish, revise or extend any of the timelines set out in this mandate.


4 The Advisory Board is to be supported by the Privy Council Office. The head of the Senior Personnel Secretariat, or his or her delegate, acts as an ex officio secretary to the Advisory Board.


5 In accordance with the terms of this mandate, the Advisory Board must provide to the Prime Minister for his consideration, within the time period set by the Prime Minister upon the convening of the Advisory Board, a list of five qualified candidates for each vacancy in the Senate with respect to each province or territory for which there is a vacancy or anticipated vacancy and for which the Advisory Board has been convened. The Prime Minister may take into consideration all of the qualified candidates with respect to all vacancies for that province or territory.

Recommendation Process

  1. 6 The members of the Advisory Board must:
    1. (a) at all times, observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity in their consideration of all potential candidates;
    2. (b) meet at appropriate intervals to set out its agenda, assess candidates, and engage in deliberations;
    3. (c) apply fairly and with consistency the criteria provided by the Prime Minister in assessing whether potential candidates meet the qualifications, including those set out in the Constitution Act, 1867, for Senate appointments;
    4. (d) interview potential candidates, at the Advisory Board's discretion, and verify any references provided by potential candidates;
    5. (e) in establishing a list of qualified candidates, seek to support the Government of Canada's intent to achieve gender balance and to ensure representation of Indigenous peoples and linguistic, minority and ethnic communities in the Senate; and
    6. (f) comply with the Privacy Act, the Conflict of Interest Act, and the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders.
  2. 7 (1) The members of the Advisory Board must declare any direct or indirect personal interest or professional or business relationship in relation to any candidate if such an interest or relationship could reasonably be considered to represent an actual or perceived conflict of interest.
  3. (2) The declaration set out in subsection (1) must include a statement as to any gifts or hospitality received by the member from the candidate.
  4. (3) If such a declaration is made, the Advisory Board must decide, having regard to the nature of the relationship, if the member must withdraw from any deliberation about the candidate.
  5. (4) If the Advisory Board decides that the member must withdraw from any deliberation in relation to a candidate, those deliberations are undertaken by the remaining members of the Advisory Board, provided the number of members is not less than three.


  1. 8 (1) In this mandate, "transitional process" means the initial recommendations to be made by the Advisory Board in early 2016 for the appointment of five Senators in order to fill two vacancies in Ontario, one in Quebec and two in Manitoba.
  2. (2) Under the transitional process, the Advisory Board must undertake consultations, which could include groups which represent Indigenous peoples and linguistic, minority and ethnic communities, provincial, territorial and municipal organizations, labour organizations, community-based service groups, arts councils, and provincial or territorial chambers of commerce, in order to ensure that a diverse slate of individuals, with a variety of backgrounds, skills, knowledge and experience desirable for a well-functioning Senate are brought forward for the consideration of the Advisory Board.
  3. 9 Subsequent to the transitional process, an open application process is to be established to allow Canadians to apply for appointment to the Senate.
  4. 10 Advisory Board members may travel for the purpose of performing their functions, including for meeting with candidates and individuals or groups as part of their consultations.


  1. 11 (1) All personal information provided to, and deliberations of, the Advisory Board are confidential and must be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
  2. (2) Any records created or received by the Advisory Board members that are under the control or will be under the control of the Privy Council Office are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
  3. (3) The members of the Advisory Board must maintain as confidential any information brought before them in the conduct of their work.
  4. (4) Members of the Advisory Board must sign a confidentiality agreement as a precondition of their appointment.
  5. 12 No candidate is to be named publicly without their prior written consent.


  1. 13 (1) Within three months after submitting the names of qualified candidates to the Prime Minister, under the transitional process and following each subsequent appointment process, the Advisory Board 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.
  2. (2) In addition, the report may provide recommendations for improvements to the process.
  3. (3) The report must be made public.

Annex B: Biographical notes on the members of the Advisory Board

(Members involved from 2019 to 2021)

Huguette Labelle (Chairperson)

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, Vice-Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Academy’s International Senior Advisory Board, Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, board member of the Global Centre for Pluralism, board member of Global Financial Integrity, board member of the Aga Khan Museum, and Chair of the Selection Committee for Master’s Scholarships on Sustainable Energy Development. 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 (federal member)

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 (federal member)

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, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique, Chair of the Board of Directors of Éducaloi, and a Commissioner of Ethics for the Barreau du Québec. 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.

Elizabeth Cannon (member for Alberta)

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon is President Emerita of the University of Calgary. As the former leader of one of Canada’s top research universities, she is a passionate advocate of higher education’s ability to drive innovation, leadership, and community engagement. Prior to her appointment as president, Dr. Cannon was dean of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Cannon is a professional engineer, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering. Throughout her career, Dr. Cannon has championed women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Dr. Cannon has received many awards, including the Gold Medal Award from Engineers Canada. She was selected as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and was named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. She has received five honorary degrees and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in mathematics from Acadia University, as well as a BSc, MSc and PhD in geomatics engineering from the University of Calgary.

Karen MacKenzie (member for Alberta)

Karen MacKenzie is a proud Cree-Métis woman and the President of MacKintosh Canada, an Indigenous-owned international consulting company, and of PeopleBest Canada, an artificial intelligence company.

Business ownership, academic and senior management positions have led Ms. MacKenzie to this important crossroads in our collective societies, where co-creation of the future is both important and enabling. She brings her traditional knowledge of Indigenous ways into the contemporary workplace, as this wisdom and way of being reflect “wise practices of purpose-driven individuals, communities, and organizations.” Ms. MacKenzie is a proven leader and a highly respected authority on individual, team, organizational, and community change.

Karen was recently appointed as an “Expert Panel” member for the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation and as a Senior Advisor to Navigator. She sits with the Circle of Elders for Edmonton Catholic Schools, heralded as a wise practice across Canada enabling greater success rates for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis learners. In addition, Karen sits with the Circle of Matriarchs for the City of Edmonton. She is a former member of the Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force for the City of Edmonton and is also a past member of the Edmonton Police Commission. She is a past board member of “Honouring Indigenous Peoples”, a national Rotary initiative. Karen is a Senior Advisor and mentor to the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership, Coady Institute, St. Francis Xavier University. Karen was recognized as an Albertan SHEInnovates leader under the Global Innovation Coalition for Change, a dynamic partnership between United Nations Women and key representatives from the private sector, academia and nonprofit institutions focused on developing the innovation market to work better for women and to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Roger Clinch (member for New Brunswick)

J. Roger Clinch is Principal for Clinch Consultants. Prior to becoming a consultant in 2011, Mr. Clinch worked for Xstrata Zinc (Canada and Ireland) for more than 20 years, holding various senior management positions. In addition to his consulting experience, which focused on management, human resources, and labour relations, he is a trusted mediator and expert communications strategist. He also worked as a school principal for a number of years, was elected as Mayor of Bathurst from 1980 to 1983, and served as a member of Parliament from 1984 to 1988. He also served as Chief of Staff to the New Brunswick premier from September 2013 until October 2014.

He is very involved in his community, particularly as head coach of various baseball, hockey, and volleyball teams, leading them to regional and provincial titles over five decades. He has served on a number of corporate boards, including NB Power and Chaleur Regional Hospital. He is the recipient of the St. Thomas University Distinguished Alumni Award, the Bathurst Youth Centre Award, the Bathurst Freeman of the City Award, and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

Pierre-Marcel Desjardins (member for New Brunswick)

Pierre-Marcel Desjardins is currently the Chairman of the board of UNI Financial Cooperation. Mr. Desjardins has been a long-time partner of UNI, formerly known as Caisse populaire acadienne, serving as Chairman or Vice-Chairman for several Caisse populaire boards of directors across southeastern New Brunswick since 1995. He was also Chairman of the Pays de la Sagouine’s Board of Directors from 2001 to 2012.

A faculty member at the Université de Moncton, he has been a sessional lecturer, assistant professor, professor, and chair holder of the Chaire des caisses populaires acadiennes en études coopératives de l’Université de Moncton. Mr. Desjardins has also been a research associate of the Université de Moncton’s Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development. Since 2016, Mr. Desjardins has served as the Director of the Université de Moncton’s École des hautes études publiques.

Mr. Desjardins graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in Economics, as well as a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (economics) and a master’s degree in economics from the Université de Moncton. He presided over the Atlantic Premiers’ Panel on Impacts of Changes to Employment Insurance and was part of the New Brunswick Task Force on Protecting Pensions.

Riel Bellegarde (member for Saskatchewan)

Riel Bellegarde is a proud member of Treaty Four and the Peepeekisis First Nation. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Whittmore School of Business and Economics, with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Mr. Bellegarde is currently President and CEO of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. He started his career with the Peepeekisis First Nation and the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. He joined the federal public service in 1994 and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in 1997. He was appointed to the Executive Group in 1999 and held several executive positions across diverse portfolios. In March 2003, he was appointed to the senior executive position of Regional Director General, Saskatchewan Region.

Mr. Bellegarde is currently a director with Colleges and Institutes Canada, Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Audit Committee, Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Licensing Commission, the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference’s National Executive, Canada West Foundation, and the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame.

Greg Poelzer (member for Saskatchewan)

Dr. Greg Poelzer is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan. He co-leads the third Fulbright Arctic Initiative program and is Co-Director of the Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security Partnership grant, which spans 17 Indigenous and northern communities across Canada, the United States (Alaska), Norway, and Sweden. He is also the lead of the University of Saskatchewan’s flagship program, Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities, and the lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Renewable Energy. Dr. Poelzer was also the founding director of the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, and the former dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of the Arctic.

For over 25 years, Dr. Poelzer has conducted research focused on comparative politics and policy as they relate to Indigenous relations, energy, resource development, and capacity building in the North. He has written extensively on the historical and contemporary aspects of communities located in the circumpolar north and the Canadian sub-Arctic, focusing on Indigenous development and the development of the mining and energy sectors. His previous work examined community engagement in environmental assessments for resource development, strategic environmental assessments for Arctic offshore energy planning and development, and Indigenous political culture in northern Saskatchewan.

He and his co-authors were awarded the Donner Prize for excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy writing for their 2008 book, Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North. His second co-authored book, From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians, published in 2015, focuses on Indigenous success stories and approaches to improve Indigenous-government relationships, and was shortlisted for three book awards.

Vianne Timmons (member for Saskatchewan)

Dr. Vianne Timmons took office as president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University in April 2020, after having served as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina from September 2008 to March 2020. Prior to that, she served in a number of administrative capacities at other institutions. She was appointed Chair of the Education Department at the St. Francis Xavier University in 1992, and in 1996 she joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island. She became that university's Vice-President, Academic Development, in 2001 – a position she held until moving to the University of Regina in 2008.

Dr. Timmons earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison University in 1979 with a combined major in psychology and English. She subsequently obtained a Bachelor of Special Education from Acadia University in 1980. Three years later, she completed her Master of Education degree in Special Education at Gonzaga University. In 1993, she earned her PhD in education psychology from the University of Calgary.

Active in the academic community, Dr. Timmons is a nationally and internationally recognized researcher in the areas of family literacy and inclusive education. She has served with dozens of academic-related organizations, including as a member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and as President of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Timmons has been honoured with numerous distinctions, including being appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017 for her advocacy in the areas of disability, family literacy, Indigenous education, and women’s leadership.

She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Anthony Primerano (member for Ontario)

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 (member for Ontario)

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.

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. He is also experienced at developing 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 a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Toronto and is 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. Mr. Segal released a report to the Province of Nova Scotia on the justice system’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parsons matter. In 2020, he co-authored a report for the Ontario government on improving the Ontario Provincial Police’s workplace culture with an emphasis on sound mental health.

Maria Battaglia (member for Quebec)

Maria R. Battaglia, Advocatus Emeritus, graduated with honours from McGill University in 1989 with degrees in both civil law and common law. She has been a member of the Bar since 1990 and is an accredited family mediator. Her law office deals with all aspects of family-related matters, including family mediation. The firm has expertise in the areas of separation and divorce, child protection, child and spousal support, custody rights, division of assets, and succession.

She is also a broadcaster, having formerly been the host of “Family Law with Maria Battaglia” on news talk radio CJAD, and a regular contributor on both CTV and Global Television. For 20 years, she was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Montreal Archbishop on abuse of minors. She was instrumental in persuading the Archbishop of Montréal to commission a report on sexual abuse which has led to changes in the handling of all abuse matters in the Montreal Archdiocese. She is a regular speaker at various legal and community events, and sits on various boards. She is currently the president of the Association des avocats et avocates en droit familial du Québec as well as the president of the Conseil Régional des personnes âgées italocanadiennes, and continues to be involved in many aspects of the Montreal community.

Bruno Marchand (member for Quebec)

Bruno Marchand was elected mayor of Quebec City in November 2021. Prior to this, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Centraide Quebec, Chaudiere–Appalaches et Bas-Saint-Laurent, a philanthropic organization focused on fighting poverty and exclusion that collects donations from the public and businesses in its territory to support an extensive network of community organizations. He also served as Director General of the Association Québecoise de prevention du Suicide until 2014.

Under his leadership, Centraide Quebec, Chaudiere–Appalaches et Bas-Saint-Laurent received the 2017 United Way of Canada President’s Award. Mr. Marchand also received the 2014 Homage award from the Association Québecoise de prevention du Suicide.

He holds a philosophy degree from Laval University and is the father of two children.

Annex C: Assessment criteria

Constitutional eligibility requirements

An individual must meet the constitutional eligibility requirements at the time of appointment to the Senate.


An individual must be a minimum of 30 years of age and be less than 75 years of age.


An individual must be a citizen of Canada.

Net Worth in Real and Personal Property

An individual must own property with a net value of $4,000 in the province for which he or she is appointed, and have an overall net worth of $4,000 in real and personal property.

In the case of Quebec, a nominee must have his or her real property qualification in the electoral division for which he or she is appointed, or be resident in that electoral division.


An individual must be a resident of the province for which he or she is appointed.

Merit-based criteria established by the Government


Individuals must demonstrate to the Advisory Board that they have the ability to bring a perspective and contribution to the work of the Senate that is independent and non-partisan. They will also have to disclose any political involvement and activities. Past political activities would not disqualify an applicant.

Knowledge Requirement

Individuals must demonstrate a solid knowledge of the legislative process and Canada's Constitution, including the role of the Senate as an independent and complementary body of sober second thought, regional representation and minority representation.

Personal Qualities

Individuals must demonstrate outstanding personal qualities, including adhering to the principles and standards of public life, ethics, and integrity.

Individuals must demonstrate an ability to make an effective and significant contribution to the work of the Senate, not only in their chosen profession or area of expertise, but the wide range of other issues that come before the Senate.

Qualifications Related to the Role of the Senate

An individual must demonstrate one of the following criteria:

Additional considerations

Gender, Indigenous and Minority Representation

Individuals will be considered with a view to achieving gender balance in the Senate. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who represent Indigenous peoples and linguistic, minority and ethnic communities, with a view to ensuring representation of those communities in the Senate.


Fluency in both official languages will be considered an asset.

Annex D: News Releases


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