Minister Gould announces appointments to Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

News release

Ottawa, July 25, 2018 – The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (Advisory Board) plays an important role in Canada’s democracy, providing the Prime Minister with non-binding, merit-based recommendations for Senate appointments that will reflect Canada’s diversity, make a significant contribution to the work of Parliament, and ensure a high standard of integrity, collaboration, and non-partisanship in the Senate.

Today, the Honourable Karina Gould, announced the re-appointment of the Chair of the Advisory Board alongside 10 new and returning provincial and territorial members.

Huguette Labelle, Companion of the Order of Canada, Emeritus Governor of the University of Ottawa, and recipient of the Public Service of Canada’s Outstanding Achievement Award, will continue to chair the Board. She is joined by the following individuals newly appointed to a one-year renewable term:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary, as provincial member for Alberta;
  • Karen MacKenzie, consultant and professional speaker, as provincial member for Alberta;
  • Robert Sanderson, former public servant, as territorial member for the Northwest Territories;
  • Kathy Tsetso, former Chief Executive Officer at the Dehcho Health and Social Services Authority, as territorial member for the Northwest Territories; and
  • J. Allan Shaw, former barrister, solicitor and notary public, as provincial member for Prince Edward Island.

The following Canadians have been reappointed to a one-year renewable term:

  • Jeannette Arsenault, entrepreneur, as provincial member for Prince Edward Island;
  • Anne Giardini, Chancellor of Simon Fraser University, as provincial member for British Columbia; and,
  • Vikram Vij, chef and restaurateur, as provincial member for British Columbia.

The Advisory Board also welcomed on May 29, 2018 two provincial members for Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies President and CEO Riel Bellegarde; and, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons.

Senate recommendations are made according to established assessment criteria. Eligible Canadians are encouraged to apply or nominate individuals year-round for membership in the Senate. Applications are retained for two years.


“I am proud to welcome these respected Canadians to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments. The Prime Minister looks forward to receiving your recommendations to fill Senate vacancies. I encourage all Canadians who are interested in serving their country to apply for the Senate, or to nominate a qualified candidate to represent their community.”
‑ Honourable Karina Gould, P.C., M.P.

Quick facts

  • In addition to Chair Huguette Labelle, current Federal members of the Advisory Board include former Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake and former Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Québec Honourable François Rolland. Federal members are appointed to renewable terms of two years.

  • The Canadian Constitution grants the Governor General the power to appoint Senators; by constitutional convention, the Governor General exercises on the advice of the Prime Minister.

  • Advisory Board appointments to the current vacant provincial and territorial positions  representing Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nunavut and Québec will be made in due course as planned vacancies approach.

  • There are currently eight vacancies in the Senate.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Nicky Cayer
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Media Relations 
Privy Council Office

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