The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments launches new application intake and publishes its report

News Release

Open online application process launched to fill six future Senate vacancies in three provinces

December 21, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (Advisory Board) is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications for Senate appointments.

Canadians can now apply online for six Senate vacancies expected during 2017 in the following three provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Applications for Senate candidates in these provinces will be accepted online until 23:59 Eastern Time on January 25, 2017.

Detailed information on how to apply is provided on the Advisory Board’s website. The website also provides more detailed information about the Advisory Board and the Senate appointments process. 

The Advisory Board will review the applications received and provide recommendations on Senate appointments to the Prime Minister. The Advisory Board members will be guided by public, merit-based criteria, in order to identify Canadians who will make a significant contribution to the work of Parliament.

Today, the Advisory Board published its report on the first cycle of the permanent process from July to November 2016. The Advisory Board’s Terms of Reference state that within three months after submitting the names of qualified candidates to the Prime Minister, the Advisory Board must provide a report to the Prime Minister on the process.

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Backgrounder - 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 real 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, an individual 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.

  • Senators from Quebec must represent one of 24 electoral divisions.


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

  • An individual must have his or her place of permanent residence in the province or territory of vacancy at the time of application and appointment. The permanent residence of an individual is where the person is ordinarily present and has made his or her home for a minimum period of two years leading up to the application. The individual must provide documentation of residence in the province or territory.
  • An exception to the two-year requirement may be made in a case where an individual is temporarily absent from the province or territory of vacancy for reasons of employment or education but can provide satisfactory proof he or she intends to return to his or her permanent residence in the province or territory of vacancy by the time of appointment to the Senate.

Merit-based criteria established by the Government

Gender, Indigenous and Minority Balance

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 consistent with the Senate’s role in minority representation.


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:

  • a high level of experience, developed over many years, in the legislative process and public service at the federal or provincial/territorial level; and/or,
  • a lengthy and recognized record of service to one’s community, which could include one’s Indigenous, ethnic or linguistic community; and/or,
  • recognized leadership and an outstanding record of achievement in the individual’s profession or chosen field of expertise.

Asset Qualification

Bilingualism: fluency in both official languages will be considered an asset.   

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