Status: Bill 13 received Royal Assent July 18, 2019
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General

Overview

Bill 13: The Alberta Senate Election Act will 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.

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 13 will restore and improve the previous act to:

  • allow voters to elect a Senate nominee:
    • as part of provincial or municipal elections
    • as a stand alone process
    • with a referendum
  • revise procedures and rules to align with the Election Act, the Election Finance and Contribution Disclosure Act and 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
  • no longer require legislation renewal

Next steps

Bill 13 took effect on July 18, 2019.

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

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