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The Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

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Senate Advisory Working Group on Communications releases Comprehensive report on review of Senate communications

Ottawa (March 24, 2015) – The communications function at the Senate requires modernization, streamlined processes and a stronger connection to Senators themselves. These are the main findings of the report on Senate communications released today by the Senate Advisory Working Group on Communications. The report is the result of a comprehensive, evidence-based functional review that began in September 2014. This morning the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration unanimously endorsed all of the recommendations contained in the report.

“This report signals a new era in communications at the Senate, and is part of the overall modernization of the institution initiated by former Speaker Noël Kinsella and now under the determined leadership of Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin,” said Senator Leo Housakos, chair of the advisory working group. “With the support of Senators, leadership and staff, we are building a more transparent institution that will support meaningful debate on matters Canadians care about.”

The exhaustive review, which featured wide-reaching consultations, found that the Communications Directorate has had responsibility but no authority, while Senators have had authority but no one designated amongst themselves to be responsible for an overall communications planning and execution. Without a central communications authority, and working under Senate rules ill-designed to support a modern communications function, the voice of the institution was weakened.

When implemented, this report and its recommendations will provide the tools needed for a modern communications apparatus. In this regard, job one will be to strike a new Special Committee on Senate Communications which will be responsible for establishing the Senate’s overall communications strategy and directing its implementation.

“Our goal is to ensure that Canadians understand more clearly the important role the Senate plays in Parliament and to communicate it in a way that explains not only what we do but also how we do it and why,” said Senator Dennis Dawson, deputy chair of the working group. “What we are aiming for here is a fundamental overhaul of the way the Senate relates to the citizens of Canada.”

Senators Housakos and Dawson thanked the members of the Advisory Working Group for their commitment and effort throughout the review process as well as everyone else who contributed to its work.

The full report is available at

For more information or to schedule interviews with Senator Housakos and Senator Dawson, please contact:

Sébastien Gariépy
Communications Coordinator
Office of the Leader of the Government in the Senate
Tel: (613) 697-8338

Marc Roy
Director of Communications
Office of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Tel: (613) 947-2798



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