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Senate - Procedural Officers and Senior Officials

The senior procedural officers and other officials of the Senate exist to serve Parliament. They are responsible for the administration of the Senate as one of the constituent chambers of Parliament.

The officials of the Senate are:

Clerks of the Senate and Clerks of the Parliaments

As the Senate’s chief administrative officer, the Clerk of the Senate manages the Senate’s day-to-day operation. The Clerk also supports all aspects of the legislative process, from the swearing-in of new Senators to advising the Speaker on parliamentary procedure and interpretation of the rules. As Clerk of the Parliaments, the Clerk is custodian of all original Acts and is responsible for certifying true copies of these Acts.

Ushers of the Black Rod

Originally a member of the royal household and then a parliamentary messenger, the Usher of the Black Rod continues to act as a messenger. It is the Black Rod who informs Members of the House of Commons that they are summoned to the Senate to hear the Speech from the Throne that opens every session of Parliament or to witness the Royal Assent that enacts bills adopted by Parliament into law. The title of the position comes from the ebony stick carried by the Black Rod, which is used to knock on the doors of the House of Commons Chamber to gain admission into that Chamber.

Upon the appointment of the first woman to the position of "Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod" on October 20, 1997, the Senate proposed that the title be changed to "Usher of the Black Rod" (Senate Journals, November 6, 1997).

Senate Ethics Officer (SEO)

The Senate Ethics Officer (SEO), a position created by the Parliament of Canada Act, is an independent, non-partisan officer of the Senate and has the control and management of the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer.

The Senate Ethics Officer is appointed by the Governor in Council, after consultation with the leaders of the recognized parties in the Senate and approval of a resolution in the Senate. The SEO holds the position for a term of seven years and may be removed only by the Governor in Council following an address of the Senate, and only for cause. He or she may be reappointed for subsequent terms of up to seven years each. 

The statute provides that the SEO is to perform the duties and functions assigned by the Senate for governing the conduct of members of the Senate. Thus, the SEO is responsible for administering the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators independently and in collaboration with the Senate Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.