FAQ | How do you become a senator?

28 February 2008

The Governor General appoints senators on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. To be summoned to be a senator, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • be at least 30 years of age;
  • own $4,000 of equity in land in your province;
  • have a personal net worth of $4,000; and
  • live in the province that you will represent as a senator.

Today $4,000 may not seem like much money, but in 1867 it represented a considerable sum. Best estimates are that its present-day value would exceed $60,000 in 1995 dollars. A net-worth requirement seems out of line with 20th century democratic values, which may explain why Parliament has never adjusted this amount. The net-worth requirements in the Constitution ceased long ago to be a practical block to a Senate call for ordinary Canadians. No doubt this is why Parliament has never repealed these provisions.