Senate Renewal

Senate rules updated to reflect a changing institution

More than 80 per cent of senators are not linked to a political party in the House of Commons.

The Senate has adopted a comprehensive package of rule changes to reflect the reality of a more independent and less partisan institution.

Changes to the Rules of the Senate will help ensure greater equity in the day-to-day operations of the chamber by recognizing the institution’s evolving organizational structure, in which 80 out of 96 sitting senators are not affiliated with either the Government or the Opposition, said Senator Marc Gold, the Government Representative in the Senate.

“The rules must keep pace with the gradual yet dramatic transition away from the Government-Opposition duopoly that had characterized the Senate for nearly 150 years,” he said. “These changes represent nearly a decade of work at the committee level, as well as motions and debates in the Senate chamber.”

In 2022, the Parliament of Canada Act was updated to recognize the growing contingent of independent senators and the various groups that they represent. There are now three independent groups in the Senate, in addition to the Opposition and the three-senator Government team.

These changes to the Senate’s rules are a pragmatic start in line with the updates to the framework legislation. The changes address three broad themes:

  • The fair treatment of the Senate’s non-partisan parliamentary groups;
  • The modernization of parliamentary processes to improve operations; and
  • The introduction of new terminology stemming from changes to the Parliament of Canada Act.

The motion was adopted on May 8, 2024.

Senate rules updated to reflect a changing institution