Many Canadians Continue to Wish for an Elected Senate

More than a third of Canadians think the changes implemented by the prime minister have made the upper house better.  

Vancouver, BC [March 23, 2020] – More than two-in-five Canadians would welcome the possibility of playing a direct role in the selection of the upper house’s members, a new Research Co. poll has found.  

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 45% of Canadians think the country needs a Senate, but citizens should be allowed to take part in the process to choose senators.  

The proportion of Canadians who want to be allowed to participate in selecting the members of the upper house is highest in British Columbia (52%) and Alberta (51%).  

Just over a quarter of Canadians (27%) believe Canada does not need a Senate and would prefer for all legislation to be reviewed and authorized by the House of Commons.  

Only 9% of respondents say Canada needs a Senate and want the current guidelines that call for appointed senators to remain unchanged.  

When given a choice, two-in-five Canadians (40%) say they would prefer to reform the Senate to allow for the direct election of members of the upper house.  

“Support for a reform process that ultimately allows Canadians to cast ballots for Senate candidates grows with age,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While only 33% of Canadians aged 18-to-34 are fond of this idea, the proportion jumps to 39% among those aged 35-to-54 and to 47% among those aged 55 and over.”  

Conversely, three-in-ten Canadians (31%) would rather have a selection committee that would appoint non-partisan Senators, while only 10% would let the prime minister name the new members of the upper house.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has only named senators that were recommended by an arm’s-length advisory body and not directly appointed by him.  

More than a third of Canadians (37%) think the changes implemented by Trudeau have made the Senate of Canada “better” than before, while 30% see no change and 16% believe the state of affairs is “worse” now.  

More than half of Canadians (54%) expect Canadians to one day “definitely” or “probably” be able to elect their senators, while 29% do not think this scenario will materialize.

Photo Credit: Xiaphias 


Results are based on an online study conducted from February 22 to February 25, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full dataset here and download the press release here.

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.