Skip to main content

First Session, Forty-first Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-221
An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Property qualifications of Senators)
FIRST READING, MARCH 10, 2016
THE HONOURABLE SENATOR Patterson
4211325-2


SUMMARY
The enactment amends the Constitution Act, 1867 to eliminate the requirement that Senators have a personal net worth of at least four thousand dollars and to eliminate the real property requirement for Senators representing a province other than Quebec.
Available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address:
http://www.parl.gc.ca


1st Session, 41st Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-221
An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Property qualifications of Senators)
Preamble
Whereas the Senate provides representation for groups that are often underrepresented in Parliament, such as Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and women;
Whereas the Constitution of Canada requires that, in order to be qualified for appointment to and to maintain a place in the Senate, a person must own land with a net worth of at least four thousand dollars in the province for which he or she is appointed and must own real and personal property with a combined net worth of at least four thousand dollars;
Whereas a person’s personal circumstances or the availability of real property in a particular location may prevent him or her from owning the required property;
Whereas appointment to the Senate should not be restricted to those who own real and personal property of a minimum net worth;
Whereas the existing property qualifications are inconsistent with the democratic values of modern Canadian society and are no longer appropriate or relevant measures of the fitness of a person to serve in the Senate;
Whereas the Parliament of Canada, by virtue of section 44 of the Constitution Act, 1982, may make laws to amend the Constitution of Canada in relation to the Senate;
Whereas, in the case of Quebec, each of the twenty-four Senators representing the province must be appointed for and must have either their real property qualification in or be resident of a specified Electoral Division;
Whereas the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that a full repeal of paragraph (3) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867 respecting the real property qualification of Senators would require a resolution of the National Assembly of Quebec;
And whereas the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada to repeal paragraph (4) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867 respecting the requirement that Senators have a personal net worth of at least four thousand dollars;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Short Title
Short title
1This Act may be cited as the Constitution Act, 2016 (Property qualifications of Senators).
30 & 31 Victoria, c. 3(U.‍K.‍)
Constitution Act, 1867
2Paragraph (4) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is repealed.
3The Act is amended by adding the following after section 23:
Real property qualification
23A. Paragraph (3) of section 23 ceases to apply, after the coming into force of this section, to Senators representing a province other than Quebec.
4The Declaration of Qualification set out in The Fifth Schedule to the Act is replaced by the following:
Declaration of Qualification
I, A.‍B., do declare and testify that I am by law duly qualified to be appointed a member of the Senate of Canada.
Coordinating Amendments
Amendment
5(1) In this section, Amendment means the repeal of paragraphs (3) and (6) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
(2) If section 3 of this Act comes into force before the Amendment is made, then, on the day on which the Amendment is made, section 23A of the Constitution Act, 1867, as enacted by section 3 of this Act, is repealed.
(3) If the Amendment is made before section 3 of this Act comes into force, then that section 3 is deemed never to have come into force and is repealed.
(4) If section 3 of this Act comes into force on the same day as the Amendment is made, then the Amendment is deemed to have been made before that section 3 and subsection (3) applies as a consequence.
(5) On the first day on which both the Amendment is made and this Act is in force, paragraph 5 of section 31 of the Constitution Act, 1867, is replaced by the following:
(5) If he ceases to be qualified in respect of Residence; provided, that a Senator shall not be deemed to have ceased to be qualified in respect of Residence by reason only of his residing at the Seat of the Government of Canada while holding an Office under that Government requiring his Presence there.
Interpretation
Interpretation
6A reference to the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982 is deemed to include a reference to this Act.
Published under authority of the Senate of Canada



EXPLANATORY NOTES
Constitution Act, 1867
Clause 2: Existing text of relevant portions of section 23:
23. The Qualifications of a Senator shall be as follows:
. . . 
(4) His Real and Personal Property shall be together worth Four thousand Dollars over and above his Debts and Liabilities;
. . . 
Clause 3 : New.
Clause 4: Existing text of the Declaration of Qualification:
I A.‍B. do declare and testify, That I am by Law duly qualified to be appointed a Member of the Senate of Canada [or as the Case may be], and that I am legally or equitably seised as of Freehold for my own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Free and Common Socage [or seised or possessed for my own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Franc-alleu or in Roture (as the Case may be),] in the Province of Nova Scotia [or as the Case may be] of the Value of Four thousand Dollars over and above all Rents, Dues, Debts, Mortgages, Charges, and Incumbrances due or payable out of or charged on or affecting the same, and that I have not collusively or colourably obtained a Title to or become possessed of the said Lands and Tenements or any Part thereof for the Purpose of enabling me to become a Member of the Senate of Canada [or as the Case may be], and that my Real and Personal Property are together worth Four thousand Dollars over and above my Debts and Liabilities.
Clause 5: Existing text of paragraph 5 of section 31:
31. The Place of a Senator shall become vacant in any of the following Cases:
. . . 
(5) If he ceases to be qualified in respect of Property or of Residence; provided, that a Senator shall not be deemed to have ceased to be qualified in respect of Residence by reason only of his residing at the Seat of the Government of Canada while holding an Office under that Government requiring his presence there.
. . . 

Publication Explorer
Publication Explorer
ParlVU