Created in 2001 as part of the Parliament of Canada Act.
On 1 February 2023, the Speaker of the Senate, the Hon. George J. Furey, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Anthony Rota, announced the appointment of Marie-Célie Agnant for a two-year term as the tenth Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
Many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States have appointed official poets laureate to help expand the understanding and appreciation for written poetry. Canada has also recognized this through the creation of this position.
Nominated candidates must meet eligibility and selection criteria. To ensure that Canada's official languages are equitably represented, the person selected alternates every two years between poets who work primarily in English and poets who work primarily in French. For the 2023-2024 term, the poet will be expected to work primarily in French. Literary artists working in oral traditions are also eligible. The Parliament of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canada’s literary scene and encourages the participation of poets from all communities.
The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons select the Poet Laureate from a list of nominees determined by the Selection Committee which includes:
- the Commissioner of Official Languages
- the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
- the Chair, Canada Council for the Arts and,
- the Parliamentary Librarian as chair
The Poet Laureate receives an annual stipend of $20,000 as well as a budget for travel, programming and administrative expenses.
The Poet Laureate may create work in either official language, and the poetry may be translated or adapted into other languages.
The intellectual property of all work published remains with the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
The Library of Parliament is the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
*The Poet determines their specific activities within these parameters.