Work at the Senate

Frequently Asked Questions

Profile creation

How long will it take to create my profile? The time it takes to create a profile will depend on how much information you provide. It is a chance for us to get to know you and learn about your skills, so this is an important part of the process. After you have created your profile, it can be updated as often as you like. You have 60 minutes to complete your profile.
The Senate already has a copy of my resume.  Am I required to create a profile? Yes. Candidates with online profiles will be considered for employment opportunities.
Why are you collecting this personal information and how will it be used? The personal information we collect helps us assess your application. It will be used only for our recruitment and selection processes.
Who will see my profile information? Senate Human Resources staff will be able to view your profile information. If you applied and your application is short-listed for a position, your information will be released to the senator or hiring manager for consideration.
I possess a skill that is not among the choices in your skills profile. How do I add it to my profile? The Skills Profile contains a list of skills that are unique to the requirements of various positions within the Senate. Occasionally, the Senate may add new skills to the list under specific categories. If you do not see a skill listed, you may add it to your resume or cover letter.
How do I indicate more than one contract type or area of expertise preference? We endeavour to match you with the best possible job, which explains the reason you are limited to providing your first choice. Your selections do not impact your application to a job posting.
Do I need to complete the employment equity information? No. This is completely voluntary information and you are under no obligation to participate.
How long will my profile be kept on file? Your profile will stay in the system until you request to have it deactivated.  Please be sure to update your profile regularly.


Application and eligibility

Is the Senate part of the federal public service? No. The Senate is its own separate employer and is not subject to the Public Service Employment Act.
If I apply to work at the Senate, can my application also be considered for employment at the House of Commons or the Library of Parliament?

No. The Senate of Canada, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament are three independent and distinct employers. We are unable to share your application with any other parliamentary or federal institution.

If you are interested in working with another parliamentary or federal institution, you must apply to them directly.
Can I still apply if I do not live in Canada? We recruit the best talent who meet our requirements regardless of where candidates are located. Most jobs require Canadian citizenship or permanent residency. Please ensure that you review the details of the job poster before applying.
What types of security checks are required to work at the Senate? All Senate personnel must obtain a security accreditation by the Senate before the start date of their employment.  If you are considered for a position, you will be asked to complete a security form and be subject to reviews, which include background and security assessments by both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
How long does it take to obtain a security accreditation from the Senate? This depends entirely on your history.
I hold a valid security clearance from a federal department. Am I still required to undergo another security check? Yes. The Senate strives to protect sensitive information and other assets and to otherwise safeguard at all times the general interests of the Senate, of senators and of persons within the Senate Precinct. For that reason, the Senate is required to ensure that all staff, volunteers, and contractors meet the established security levels for their employment. The Senate recognizes valid security clearances issued by other federal departments. If you hold a valid federal security clearance, you are required to attach a copy of your valid security certificate when applying for a security accreditation from the Senate.
Can I still apply to the Senate if I have a criminal record? If you are considered for a position, you must obtain a valid security accreditation from the Senate as a condition of employment. The security assessment will determine whether or not an accreditation will be granted.
How do I apply for
a job?
First, create a profile on the system. You can then apply to a specific job or make your resume searchable by our recruiters for immediate and future opportunities.
The job poster requires that I submit a copy of my degree and transcripts. How do I do this? Under My Documents, you can upload documents to your profile and attach them to a specific job application.
Do you require original copies of my degree? You should always be prepared to present the original or a certified copy of your educational credentials upon request.

Do I need to be bilingual to work at the Senate?

Most positions within the Senate Administration have been identified as being bilingual. The language requirements of all advertised positions – whether in the Senate Administration or within a senator’s office – will be listed on the job poster. Candidates will be asked to demonstrate that they meet the linguistic requirements of the position.
Does the Senate accept second language evaluation results obtained through other organizations or language schools? We only recognize second language test results from the House of Commons, the Public Service Commission and Crown corporations.
I was tested by the Public Service Commission of Canada, but I do not have a copy of my second language results. How can I obtain a copy? You can request a copy of your second language evaluation results by contacting the Public Service Commission. Once you have obtained your results, please upload a copy to your profile under My Documents.
How do I prepare for my second language evaluation? The Public Service Commission provides some online reference material to help you prepare for your evaluation.
How do I find out the status of my application? We endeavour to notify you by e-mail once a decision is made at the completion of each stage of the selection process.
How do I know if I am being considered for a specific position? Whether you applied to a specific job or are being recruited out of our general inventory, our system will keep you informed by e-mail throughout the selection process. It is important to keep your profile updated since we may contact you directly if you are suitable for a vacant position.
There are no vacant positions under Job Opportunities. What do I do? Your first step is to create a profile and upload your resume. Please refer to the Profile Creation section for more information. We can also notify you once a job posting is published if you subscribe to a career alert.
Why are you creating a pool if there are no vacant positions?

We are being proactive and planning for possible future staffing needs.

I was already in a pool for that position. Why is there another job posting for the same position?

The pool expired and a new pool needs to be created. However, your profile never expires unless you ask us to deactivate it.

How long is a pool considered to be valid? What happens after it expires?

A pool can exist for up to two years. When it expires, the Senate could decide to hold another job process to create a new pool.

I missed the deadline to apply for a job posting. Can I still apply? We do not accept applications after the closing date.
How do I withdraw my application? You can withdraw your application by selecting the job under My Jobs. If you decide to withdraw, you will not be permitted to re-apply to that specific job posting.


Selection process (General)

What should I do if I need technical assistance or alternative arrangements for exams or interviews? Please let our helpdesk know as soon as possible if you require assistance at any stage of the selection process. We will try to accommodate you as best as we can.
How do you meet with candidates who do not reside in the National Capital Region? We use a web-conferencing service to meet with candidates residing outside the National Capital Region. These candidates will require a phone, computer, webcam and access to the Internet.


Selection process (Senators' offices)

How do I prepare for an interview with a senator?

It is always a good idea to learn about the senator by familiarizing yourself with the issues that are important to him or her. Remember to arrive early for your interview to account for possible delays when going through security.

What is the Services to Senators sector? The Services to Senators sector is a section of the Senate Human Resources department. The non-partisan staff assist senators in recruiting and hiring personnel for their parliamentary offices. They also screen applications against specific job requirements, pre-interview candidates, administer exams, conduct reference checks, and refer qualified candidates to senators for consideration.
Can I apply directly to a senator’s office without creating a profile? Senators have the discretion to recommend any qualified candidate for employment. It is possible to apply directly to a senator’s office. In many cases, senators forward any applications they receive to the Services to Senators sector for first consideration to evaluate the candidate’s competencies. In order to maximize your opportunities, we encourage you to create a profile through our online application system.
Does a referral from a parliamentarian improve my chances of consideration for a job? Only candidates who meet the requirements of the position will be considered. If your application has been referred by a parliamentarian to the Senate, you may indicate this when creating your profile. We will ensure a proper follow-up with the parliamentarian out of courtesy.
How long does a selection process take?
I want to work for a senator affiliated with a specific political party. How do I indicate this on my application? You can indicate your preference in your cover letter.
How often do you recruit for positions in senators’ offices?

We recruit on a regular basis throughout the year. Creating a profile and making your resume searchable allows our recruiters to consider your application when immediate or future opportunities arise.

When will I meet with a recruiter? Recruiters regularly search the system for candidates and will only meet with those whose skills and qualifications are of interest. They will contact you directly should your profile be suitable for a specific position.
A recruiter wants to meet with me. What can I expect? You may be invited to meet with a recruiter to discuss your skills and qualifications, as well as explore your motivation to work for a senator. This informal meeting may take place in person or via our web-conferencing service.
Why do I need to undergo a written assessment? According to the requirements of the position, some abilities must be evaluated in writing such as the ability to communicate in writing at a superior level. The written assessment may also test your knowledge of specific public policy issues or other abilities listed on the job poster.
When and where do I participate in a written assessment? Candidates who pass the initial pre-selection may be invited to participate in a written assessment. They may undergo the assessment at home or at our offices in Ottawa. More information will be provided to you should your application reach this stage of the selection process.
How do I prepare for a written assessment?

Written assessments can assess a number of criteria beyond your writing skills, such as your knowledge of a specific policy issue or your research skills. More information will be provided to you should your application reach this stage of the selection process.

Selection process (Administration)

How do I prepare for an interview for a position in the Senate Administration? If you are invited to an interview, you will be informed at that time what merit criteria will be assessed and will be given additional information about the position.

What are the steps
in an advertised appointment process (competition) for a position within the Senate Administration?

Typically, candidates must undergo a written test, an official language evaluation, an interview and reference checks. In some appointment processes, candidates must undergo a medical and physical test. All candidates must pass our security assessment to be offered a position.

Can I be assessed in the official language
of my choice?

Candidates may choose to be assessed in either English or French.


Final stage

Does the Senate cover relocation expenses? The candidate is always responsible for relocation expenses.

As a federal public servant, can my pensionable time be transferred to the Senate?

Yes. If you are hired for a term over 6 months or on an indeterminate basis (12 or more hours per week) you will continue to contribute to the Public Service Pension Plan.   

As a federal public servant, can my annual leave be transferred to the Senate?

No. Your vacation must be paid out prior to your commencement of employment with the Senate. However, your continuous years of service as a federal public service will be used to calculate your entitlement.

As a federal public servant, can my sick leave be transferred to the Senate?

Yes. Your accumulated sick leave can be transferred.

I have previous military service. Will the Senate recognize these years of service for the calculation of annual leave?

When applicable, the Senate recognizes prior years of military service for the purposes of calculating annual leave, upon submission of supporting evidence.

If I were offered an employment opportunity, where would I work?

Our main offices are located on Parliament Hill and within the downtown core of Ottawa in close proximity to Parliament Hill. Some offices are located in the province of Quebec (Gatineau – Hull sector).

Most personnel working in senators’ offices are based in Ottawa.

How many hours am I expected to work per week?

The standard work week is 35 hours for full-time employees. Part-time employees work less than 35 hours per week. Some positions require employees to work additional hours beyond the standard work week. Other positions may require shift work or irregular hours, mainly evenings and weekends.