The Senate of Canada has a long and distinguished history, and its work remains relevant in the 21st century. For those who wish to learn more about the Senate, an extensive Legislative and Historical Overview of the Senate of Canada is available through the Parliament of Canada Website, and some invaluable information on the Senate is provided on the page of the Speaker of the Senate, The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin. An excellent overview is also available through Maple Leaf Web, a non-profit, non-partisan Canadian political education website located at the University of Lethbridge. It is entitled “The Canadian Senate: The History and Structure of Canada’s Upper Chamber”.
To view an educational video on the Senate of Canada, please click here.
If you are visiting Ottawa and Parliament is sitting, you may attend the Senate Question Period. To attend the Senate public galleries, you should advise security staff at the Visitor Welcome Centre (VWC). If the VWC is closed, you may be re-directed to the Senate Main Entrance on the East side of the Centre Block.
Please note that seats in the public galleries are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and that visitors who are mobility impaired shall be escorted to the galleries by security staff using the nearest elevator.
In the Senate galleries:
* You are required to go through security scanning stations before entering the galleries.
* Cameras, binoculars, tape recorders, communication or electronic devices, parcels, briefcases, overcoats, umbrellas, bags, and all other objects deemed to be safety issues are forbidden in the galleries. All such items must be checked at the cloakroom located near the entrance of the South Gallery.
* Visitors may bring their purse or handbag into the Gallery provided they are willing to let the security member on duty examine its contents.
Please note the Gallery decorum:
* Visitors must be dressed appropriately (i.e. footwear must be worn) and men must remove their hats in the galleries. Wearing recognized traditional dress (native or religious) is permitted.
* Participating in any form of demonstration, such as applauding or displaying political messages (ie. placards or clothing), or engaging in any activity that may interrupt or disturb the proceedings of the Senate, such as standing or speaking loudly, is prohibited.
* Visitors are not allowed to read, write, stand or carry on conversations during the debates.
* Visitors are asked not to leave or enter the galleries when a vote is in progress.
* Visitors must stand when the Speaker enters or leaves the Chamber.
When “Senators’ Statements” has been called, Senators may, without notice, raise matters they consider need to be brought to the urgent attention of the Senate. In particular, Senators’ statements should relate to matters which are of public consequence and for which the rules and practices of the Senate provide no immediate means of bringing the matters to the attention of the Senate. In making such statements, a Senator shall not anticipate consideration of any Order of the Day and shall be bound by the usual rules governing the propriety of debate. Matters raised during this period shall not be subject to debate.