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Prime Minister announces the appointment of senators

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, appointed the following individuals as independent senators to fill vacancies in the Senate for Ontario:

  • Marnie McBean
  • Paulette Senior
  • Toni Varone

Marnie McBean is a motivational speaker, published author, and one of the most decorated Olympians in Canadian history. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she continues to champion social justice causes and to serve as a role model for young Canadian athletes.

Paulette Senior is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and was previously the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canada. She has devoted her life to breaking down systemic barriers and building up women and girls of diverse backgrounds.

Toni Varone is a businessman and philanthropist. He is the President of the Varone Group and a long-time board member of the Villa Charities Foundation. His life-long civic engagement has been centred on building safe, affordable housing and promoting the social and cultural life of Toronto’s Italian-Canadian community.


“With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Marnie McBean, Paulette Senior, and Toni Varone will be important voices for their communities as Parliament’s newest independent senators. I look forward to working with them and with all senators to make progress on the issues that matter most to Canadians and to help build a better future for everyone.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Senate is the Upper House in Canada’s parliamentary democracy. It unites a diverse group of accomplished Canadians in service of their country. Created to counterbalance representation by population in the House of Commons, the Senate not only defends regional interests, it also creates a space for the voices of historically underrepresented groups like Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities, and women.
  • In 2016, the selection process for senators was opened to all Canadians. Candidate submissions are reviewed by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, which provides recommendations to the Prime Minister. The Board is guided by public, transparent, non-partisan, and merit-based criteria to identify highly qualified candidates.
  • With today’s announcement, there have been 78 independent appointments to the Senate made on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. All of them were recommended by the Board.
  • Under the Canadian Constitution, the Governor General appoints individuals to the Senate. By convention, senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Once appointed by the Governor General, new senators join their peers to examine and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and represent regional, provincial and territorial, and minority interests – important functions in a modern democracy.

Biographical Notes

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