Salaries of Canadian Senators

Basic salary and extra compensation for members of the Canadian Senate

Senators Only Sign in front of the Canadian flag

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There are normally 105 senators in the Senate of Canada, the upper house of the Parliament of Canada. Canadian senators are not elected. They are appointed by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Salaries of Canadian Senators 2015-16

Like MPs' salaries, the salaries and allowances of Canadian senators are adjusted on April 1 each year.

For the 2015-16 fiscal year, Canadian senators received an increase of 2.7 percent. The increase is still based on an index of wage increases from major settlements of private-sector bargaining units which is maintained by the Labour Program in the federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), however there is a legal requirement that Senators be paid exactly $25,000 less than MPs, so the percentage increase works out a bit higher.

When you look at Senators' salaries, don't forget that while Senators do have a lot of traveling, their working hours aren't as strenuous as those of MPs. They don't have to campaign to get re-elected, and the Senate's schedule is lighter than in the House of Commons. For example, in 2014, the Senate sat on just 83 days.

Base Salary of Canadian Senators

For the fiscal year 2015-16, all Canadian Senators made a basic salary of $142,400. This was up from $138,700, which was the previous term salary.

Extra Compensation for Additional Responsibilities

Senators who have extra responsibilities, such as the Speaker of the Senate, the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, government and opposition whips, and chairs of Senate committees, receive additional compensation. (See chart below.)

Title Additional Salary Total Salary
Senator $142,400
Speaker of the Senate* $ 58,500 $200,900
Leader of the Government in the Senate* $ 80,100 $222,500
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate $ 38,100 $180,500
Government Whip $ 11,600 $154,000
Opposition Whip $ 6,800 $149,200
Government Caucus Chair $ 6,800 $149,200
Opposition Caucus Chair $ 5,800 $148,200
Senate Committee Chair $ 11,600 $154,000
Senate Committee Vice-Chair $ 5,800 $148,200
*The Speaker of the Senate and the Leader of the Government in the Senate also get a car allowance. In addition, the Speaker of the Senate receives a residence allowance.

Canadian Senate Administration

The Canadian Senate remains in the throes of reorganization as it attempts to cope with the  problems that arose from the initial expenses scandal that centered on Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Mac Harb, who are were trial, and Pamela Wallin, who was also under RCMP investigation. Added to that was the impending release of a comprehensive two-year audit by the office of Michael Ferguson, the Auditor General of Canada. That audit covered the expenses of 117 current and former Senators and recommended that about 10 cases were referred to the RCMP for criminal investigation. Another 30 or so cases of "problematic spending" were discovered, primarily having to do with travel or residency expenses. The Senators involved were either required to repay the money or  able to take advantage of a new arbitration system arranged by the Senate. Former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie was named as an independent arbitrator to settle disputes the affected Senators had.

One thing that became clear from Mike Duffy trial was that Senate procedures have been lax and confusing in the past, and will need a lot of effort for the Senate to handle the public outrage and to get things on an even keel. The Senate is continuing to work on improving its processes.

The Senate does publish quarterly expenditure reports for Senators.

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Munroe, Susan. "Salaries of Canadian Senators." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Munroe, Susan. (2020, August 25). Salaries of Canadian Senators. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "Salaries of Canadian Senators." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).