Status: Bill 13 received Royal Assent July 18, 2019. Bill 27 introduced June 23, 2020
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General

Overview

Alberta has reinstated Senate nominee elections to allow Albertans to choose who would best represent them in the Senate.

  • Bill 13: The Alberta Senate Election Act came into effect on July 18, 2019 to bring back Senate nominee elections so voters can decide who will best represent them in the Senate and fight for Alberta’s interests in Ottawa.
  • Bill 27: the Senate Election Amendment Act, 2020 was introduced on June 23, 2020 to amend the Alberta Senate Election Act, which allows Senate elections to be held during municipal elections, during provincial elections or stand alone.

Under the previous law, which expired in 2016, Alberta held Senate nominee elections from 1989 until 2012. During this time, 10 nominees were elected and 5 were appointed to the Senate. Alberta currently has 6 representatives in the Senate.

Key changes

Bill 27: The Senate Election Amendment Act, 2020

If passed, Bill 27 would:

  • allow the Minister of Municipal Affair to make directives during a senate election when held in conjunction with a municipal election
  • make minor housekeeping and wording changes to the Alberta Senate Election Act

The Alberta Senate Election Act, 2019 (previously known as Bill 13)

The Alberta Senate Election Act took effect in July 2019 to:

  • allow voters to elect a Senate nominee:
    • as part of provincial or municipal elections
    • as a stand alone process
  • revise procedures and rules to align with the Election Act, the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Actand the Local Authorities Election Act
  • name the registered federal political party that a candidate is aligned with on the ballot
  • limit the number of candidates elected to 3, unless otherwise set out in the election order
  • reduce the number of signatures required for an election nomination from 1,500 to 500
  • limit campaign spending to $500,000 per candidate
  • allow provincial political parties to support candidates, but the party’s spending cannot exceed 20% of the candidate’s spending limit
  • apply third-party advertising rules to Senate nominee elections

Next steps

If passed, Bill 27 would come in effect upon receiving royal assent.

Bill 13, The Alberta Senate Election Act took effect on July 18, 2019.

The next Alberta Senate vacancy is scheduled for March 2021. Once a Senate nominee is elected, the Government of Alberta will provide the name of the Senate nominees to the prime minister for consideration when filling Senate vacancies.

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