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The Position

Created in 2001 as part of the Parliament of Canada Act.

  • The Speakers of the Senate and House of Commons appoint the Poet following an open nomination process;
  • Chosen candidates are appointed for a two year term;
  • Appointments to the position alternate between French and English each term.

Call for Nomination

Position of Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2020-2021 - Nomination process closed

Position of Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2022-2023 - The call for nomination will be launched in June 2021

Role of the Poet Laureate

  • To write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions;
  • To Sponsor poetry readings;
  • To advise the Parliamentary Librarian regarding the Library’s collection and acquisitions to enrich its cultural materials and
  • To perform other related duties at the request of the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Commons, or the Parliamentary Librarian.*


Why does Canada have a 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.

How does one become the Poet Laureate?

Nominated candidates must meet eligibility and selection criteria. In order to give equal representation to Canada’s two official languages, Poets Laureate are selected alternately from each official language community. 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.

Who chooses the Poet Laureate?

The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons choose the final candidate from a list of nominees determined by the Selection Committee which includes;
- the Commissioner of Official Languages
- the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
- Chair, Canada Council for the Arts, represented by the Director and CEO and,
- the Parliamentary Librarian as chair

What is the Poet Laureate’s compensation?

The poet receives an annual stipend of $20,000, up to $13,000 in travel expenses annually and a budget for programming, administrative expenses and translation/adaptation of works into Canada’s second official language.

Must the poet write in both official languages?

The Poet Laureate may create work in either official language, and the poetry may be translated/ adapted into the other official language.

Who owns the property rights of the work created by the Poet Laureate?

The intellectual property of all work published remains with the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

To whom does the Poet Laureate report?

The Library of Parliament is the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

*The Poet determines his or her specific activities within these parameters.