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Want to become the Northwest Territories’ next senator?

Canadian Senate Chamber
The Senate Chamber in Ottawa. Saffron Blaze/Wikimedia

The process of finding a new senator for the Northwest Territories has begun.

Nick Sibbeston held the position until November last year, when he stepped down. “I am losing some of the enthusiasm that I had earlier on and I just thought it would be an opportunity for someone new to come into the Senate for the North,” he said at the time.

But who will that someone be?

That answer could come from just-about anywhere. You must be aged between 30 and 75, and you must be a Canadian citizen, and there are a couple of other requirements you have to meet. Otherwise, the process is quite open. It’s an appointment, not an election, so you’re essentially interviewing for a job.



In full: Explore the requirements and application process

If you really want the job, here are the main criteria you’ll need to satisfy.

  1. You are an independent, non-partisan resident of the NWT (you’ll need to disclose any past political involvement and activities, but they wouldn’t disqualify you);
  2. You know what the Senate does, what your job will be, and how Canadian governance works;
  3. You’re a nice person. (You “must demonstrate outstanding personal qualities” according to the application form.)
  4. You know enough to make a real contribution to the Senate. The guidelines say the successful applicant will have the knowledge to contribute “not only in their chosen profession or area of expertise, but the wide range of other issues that come before the Senate.”
  5. You have a lot of experience EITHER a) in public service, b) helping your community some other way, or c) as a leader in your field.


If you think you fit the bill, you have until April 3, 2018 to apply. You also need to send them your resumé and three references. You can also nominate someone else if you think you know the ideal candidate.



When Cabin Radio publicized this process on-air on Tuesday, Gail Cyr – who tried to become the territory’s MP in 2015 and was also shortlisted to replace George Tuccaro as NWT Commissioner – announced her candidature in response.

Cyr was a Yellowknife city councillor for 10 years, spent more than a decade as executive director of the NWT Native Court Workers Association, and has served as a special advisor to the NWT’s minister responsible for women.

Cyr is the only candidate we’re aware of to date. All applications are considered by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.