The Senate relies on administrative and procedural support to function efficiently and serve Canadians. The Senate Administration provides the services that allow senators to accomplish their work, for example, support in procedure, security, financial administration, human resources, communications and building maintenance.
Three senior officers of the administration lead the Senate’s commitment to the modern, effective management of its internal affairs: the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, and the Chief Corporate Services Officer.
Another key position is the Usher of the Black Rod, a senior parliamentary officer who serves as personal attendant and messenger to the Queen in Parliament and as a senior protocol official.
Senators are also supported by staff in their respective offices.
Members of the Executive Committee
Interim Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments, and Chief Legislative Services Officer
Staff: Jessica J. Richardson (Chief of Staff)
On December 31, 2020, Gérald Lafrenière was appointed by Order in Council as the 16th Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments on an interim basis and will serve during pleasure until a new appointment to the position is made. He also serves as Chief Legislative Services Officer, which oversees the legislative sector of the Senate Administration, composed of the Office of the Usher of the Black Rod, the Chamber Operations and Procedure Office, Committees Directorate, Communications Directorate, Corporate Security Directorate, and the Parliamentary Exchanges and Protocol division of the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate.
The position of Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments is a Governor in Council appointment made pursuant to paragraph 130(b) of the Public Service Employment Act and reports to the Speaker of the Senate. The position supports all aspects of the legislative process and oversees the legislative services provided by the Senate. The role of Clerk of the Parliaments is custodian of all original Acts and is responsible for certifying true copies of these Acts.
The Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments and Chief Legislative Services Officer is one of three senior executive positions responsible for the overall management of the Senate Administration and shares this responsibility with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel as well as the Chief Corporate Services Officer. Together, they are accountable to the Senate through the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Mr. Lafrenière brings a wealth of experience to this position. His distinguished career on Parliament Hill began in 1994 as a legal analyst at the Library of Parliament. Since joining the Senate in 2004 as a Procedural Clerk, he has worked within various directorates in the institution, assuming roles at the Committees Directorate (Deputy Principal Clerk), International and Interparliamentary Affairs (Principal Clerk), and Governance and Strategic Planning (Director). He has also been a Table Officer since 2008. Mr. Lafrenière has provided procedural advice to the Speaker of the Senate, the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, standing committees, as well as to individual Senators.
Mr. Lafrenière has been a member of the Law Society of Ontario since 1994. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law (LL.B.) from the University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from the Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface. He is also a member of the Association of Clerks-at-the-Table.
Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel
Staff: Chloé O’Shaughnessy (Executive Advisor)
Philippe Hallée was appointed as the 10th Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of the Senate on March 25, 2019.
As Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, Mr. Hallée is the chief legal adviser to the Senate. He heads the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, the Senate’s in-house legal department. His office is responsible for providing non-partisan legal services in relation to the legislative process to the Senate, the Speaker of the Senate, standing and special Senate committees, and individual senators on the many areas of the law engaged in the course of parliamentary business. This includes the law on the privileges, immunities, and powers of Parliament and its members. His office also provides expert legislative drafting services to assist senators in their constitutional mandate to deliberate on all matters within the legislative authority of the federal Parliament.
As Law Clerk, Mr. Hallée arranges for the preparation of parchments of Senate bills, the engrossing of Senate amendments to House of Commons bills, and the publication of all Senate government bills and senator’s public and private bills.
Furthermore, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel provides corporate counsel functions to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, in diverse areas such as labour law, contracting, and policy development.
A senior executive of the Senate Administration, Mr. Hallée is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the Legal Sector of the Senate, which includes the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel and the Human Resources Directorate.
He also has shared responsibility in the overall governance, accountability and management of the Senate Administration. The Executive Committee ensures that the Administration provides the support and services required to enable the Senate and all senators to fulfill their parliamentary duties and constitutional responsibilities.
Mr. Hallée has been a member of the Barreau du Québec since 1991. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law (LL.B.) from the Université de Sherbrooke, and a diploma in French legislative drafting and a certificate in Public Sector Leadership and Governance from the University of Ottawa.
Mr. Hallée joined the Senate from the Privy Council Office, where he was Director of Legal Operations from 2016 to 2019. He previously had a 20-year career at the Department of Justice Canada in various positions of increasing responsibility, including Chief Legislative Counsel of Canada from 2012 to 2016.
As Chief Legislative Counsel, Mr. Hallée helped to facilitate the transmission of data between the Department of Justice, the House of Commons, the Senate and the Canada Gazette, leading to a more harmonized and efficient drafting and publication practice for government bills and regulations. Previously, he had spearheaded the initiative to modernize the format of federal Acts and regulations which led to the current format of legislative texts.
Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
Staff: Marie-Jules Morris Bourgouin (Strategic Advisor)
On November 20, 2017, Pascale Legault was appointed Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee of Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration as well as a member of the Executive Committee.
The Chief Corporate Services Officer and Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration is a senior executive of the Senate Administration who is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the corporate services sector as well as the Internal Economy Secretariat. The sector includes four directorates including Finance and Procurement, Information Services, Property and Services, and Policy and Planning. In addition, she supports the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration as its most senior corporate and procedural advisor. The Committee oversees and directs the internal management and affairs of the Senate.
As a member of the Executive Committee, Ms. Legault has shared responsibility in the overall governance, accountability and management of the Senate Administration. The Executive Committee ensures that the Administration provides the support and services required to enable the Senate and all senators to efficiently fulfill their parliamentary duties and constitutional responsibilities.
Ms. Legault joined the Senate as Chief Financial Officer and Director of the Finance and Procurement Directorate in 2015. She has over 20 years of experience in management both with the private and public sector. Having held senior management positions, including Chief Financial Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, Director General in Financial Management at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Principal Director with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.
Ms. Legault is an accredited Chartered Professional Accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Quebec.
The Usher of the Black Rod
John Gregory Peters, M.V.O.
The Usher of the Black Rod is a senior parliamentary officer appointed by the Governor in Council. The Black Rod, as the Usher is known to senators, is a senior protocol officer in Parliament and a floor officer of the Senate. J. Greg Peters is the 16th Usher of the Black Rod since Confederation.
The name Usher of the Black Rod comes from the ebony cane that Black Rod carries as a symbol of authority. Under a 600-year-old parliamentary tradition, the Black Rod is the personal attendant and messenger of the Sovereign or the Sovereign’s representative when either is in Parliament.