The Senate is calling, rise to the occasion.
Be a part of Model Senate 2024 from Thursday, March 21 to Saturday, March 23, 2024, at the Senate of Canada Building in Ottawa, Ontario.
Get schooled on the Senate, expand your network and feed your passion for public policy.
This event is designed for university and college students who are interested in learning how Parliament works and how senators do their important work. You do not need to be an expert on the Upper Chamber or on parliamentary procedure to participate in this unique opportunity!
Model Senate will teach you new skills through a variety of activities, and connect you with like-minded students from across the country as well as sitting senators who can’t wait to meet you!
As a model senator, you will:
- Gain a deeper understanding of how senators serve Canadians and put your own skills to the test by debating issues on the floor of the Red Chamber or in a Senate committee room.
- Get face time with senators, Senate Administration staff and fellow participants through meet-and-greets and networking opportunities.
- Receive career advice and inspiration, and learn how you can help keep our democratic institutions strong for generations to come.
The deadline to apply is December 31, 2023.
The time commitment
To be selected as a model senator, you must be available — in person, in Ottawa — for all scheduled Model Senate activities on:
- Thursday, March 21, 2024 (from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET)
- Friday, March 22, 2024 (from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET), and
- Saturday, March 23, 2024 (from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET)
To participate, you must also complete a 90-minute, online learning module and attend a mandatory virtual information session in February. Depending on your assigned role, you will also have to draft and submit speaking notes in the weeks leading up to the event.
Key dates and schedule of activities
The schedule of activities below is tentative and subject to change. The entire event will be in person at the Senate of Canada Building in Ottawa.
January 31 to February 8, 2024: Selection and confirmation of participation
- Selected participants will be notified by email by January 31, 2024.
- You will need to confirm your participation by February 8, 2024, at which point you’ll learn what role(s) have been assigned to you.
February 13 to 29, 2024: Training and information sessions
- Before Model Senate, you will have to complete an online module designed to help you understand the basics about the Senate. The module should take approximately 90 minutes to complete.
- You will also be invited to a mandatory virtual information session, where Senate staff can answer your questions about the event and the content covered in the module.
Thursday, March 21, 2024: Senate Social
- Model Senate will kick off with the Senate Social, a networking event where participants can learn about and interact with the people who make up the institution—including senators!
Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, 2024: Senate sitting and committee meeting simulations
- Model senators will take their seats in the Red Chamber and in committee to simulate Senate debates and studies.
- Each day, model senators will see one bill through the legislative process. Bills will be shared with selected participants in February 2024.
- Your assigned role will determine when in the day you will rise to speak, as well as impromptu opportunities to participate in debates. Some participants will be assigned a committee role.
- During the committee simulations, a sitting senator will testify as a witness during the study of a bill at the committee stage. Select model senators will ask questions to further understand the topic, before moving amendments, drafting observations and voting on its passage to third reading.
A light lunch will be provided on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.
Please note that the Senate is not responsible for costs related to additional meals, transportation or accommodation for selected participants.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the eligibility criteria for Model Senate?
To be considered for this unique opportunity, applicants must:
- Be enrolled in a recognized Canadian university or college at the time of the event.
- Be between 18 and 30 years old as of March 21, 2024.
- Complete and submit the online application by December 31, 2023, with proof of enrolment.
How do I apply?
You can apply for Model Senate 2024 by completing and submitting the online application by December 31, 2023.
The application will ask you to provide basic personal information to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. You will also be asked to answer two questions:
- Why do you want to become a model senator?
- What would you like to learn, or what specific skills would you like to develop, during the Model Senate sessions?
You will also need to email us one of the following documents to prove your status as a student at an accredited Canadian university or college:
- Proof of registration (certificate of enrolment), with or without the registrar’s seal (usually available for download on your institution’s student portal)
- Official proof of student status (verification of student status)
I was selected to participate in a previous edition of Model Senate. Can I apply again?
Yes. We’d love to see you again! You can reapply as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
Do I need to be bilingual to participate?
No. Just like in real Senate sittings and committee meetings, live French and English interpretation will be available to all participants. Documentation and live facilitated workshops will be offered in both official languages.
Do I have to redo the online training module if I participated in Model Senate 2023?
Yes. All model senators will need to complete this year’s training module that reflects the Model Senate 2024 programming. Plus, it never hurts to brush up on your Senate knowledge.
Are there any fees associated with Model Senate?
No, there is no fee to apply for or participate in the event! That said, the Senate is not responsible for costs related to meals, transportation or accommodation for selected participants.
Will I get to meet senators?
Yes, you will have the opportunity to meet with some senators and senior Senate officials.
What is the time commitment for participating in the Model Senate?
To be selected as a model senator, you must be available for all scheduled Model Senate activities from Thursday, March 21 to Saturday, March 23, 2024. All activities will take place in person at the Senate of Canada Building in Ottawa, Ontario.
Additionally, selected participants are required to complete a 90-minute online module, attend a virtual information session, and might be required to draft and submit speaking notes in the weeks leading up to the event. Please read the time commitment section above for more details about the Model Senate schedule.
Will food be provided to participants?
A light lunch and refreshments will be provided to model senators on both sitting days. Participants are also welcome and encouraged to bring their own snacks and reusable water bottle.
How can I prepare for the Model Senate?
If you’re selected to participate, you’ll receive guidance on how best to prepare for the event. Speaking opportunities for the Senate sitting and committee simulations will be assigned in advance. Please read the time commitment section above for more information about what will be expected of you.
In the meantime, it never hurts to do a little research yourself! The Senate’s online publications are a great starting point. They cover the Senate’s work, its role within Parliament, the Red Chamber’s main players and the Senate of Canada Building.
We also suggest that you watch live and taped Senate sittings and committee meetings to study senators in action and familiarize yourself with how the Red Chamber operates.
Where can I learn more about the Senate of Canada?
If you’re hungry for more information about the Upper Chamber, check out the following resources:
How can I keep up to date with the Senate of Canada?
Whom should I contact if I have more questions about the Model Senate?
If you have any further questions, please email us at: SENgage@sen.parl.gc.ca.