Though part of each week is devoted to debate in the chamber, most of a senator's work is accomplished in committee. Many senators sit on two or more committees and serve on subcommittees as well. They log long hours in meetings and in preparation.
To support senators in their work, pages work between 15 and 20 hours a week when the Senate and committees are sitting, but may be required to work more hours during busy legislative periods. Typically, pages are required to work at least two sittings as well as one or two committees a week.
Pages are expected to arrange their class schedules so as not to conflict with the regular sittings of the Senate. (Regular sitting days are Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.). They must also be prepared to forego a university class when it conflicts with Senate duties.
Once the school year is completed, pages may work between 30 and 35 hours a week until the adjournment of the Senate. They must work a minimum of 500 hours per year to receive full annual compensation.
Pages are required to begin their stay in Ottawa at the end of August for an orientation and training program that introduces them to their job and responsibilities. At that time, they have an opportunity to meet the key people in the parliamentary staff. The training is mandatory and must be attended by all pages.
Pages are remunerated $12,228 divided in 26 equal instalments. Furthermore, upon satisfactory completion of their contract, they receive an additional amount of $1,200. The Deputy Chief Page is remunerated $19,479; the Chief Page is remunerated $21,062. Furthermore, upon satisfactory completion of their contract, both receive an additional amount of $1,200.
The Senate will pay the cost of travel between the pages' place of permanent residence and Ottawa, by the most economical means possible, at the beginning and at the end of their contract.
While in Ottawa, pages are responsible for the costs of their accommodation and for all other related expenses, including tuition fees, books, food, etc. The Senate could make arrangements to reserve rooms in the university residence for pages upon request.
A uniform is provided to each page at the beginning of the contract, and must be returned at the end of their contract.
Senate pages desiring summer employment within the Senate are given consideration if they meet the requirements for the position being staffed. They are remunerated in addition to their salary as a page. Page duties, however, take precedence if the Senate sits.
Senate pages are privileged to gain knowledge in a distinct working environment. For this reason, the University of Ottawa has decided to offer the credits equivalent to a fourth year political science course to students participating in the Senate Page Program. A written essay is required on a specific topic that the page may choose at their discretion, and the page must demonstrate the knowledge acquired throughout the year. The Library of Parliament is available to the pages to assist them with their research. The accreditation program is optional for pages, and the credits are transferable to Carleton University.
Pages have many opportunities to make a difference during their stay in the program. They are encouraged to participate in one or more of the page committees (i.e. Promotion, Outreach, and Yearbook Committees) and are also encouraged to organize volunteer activities for the benefit of the community. Through these committees and activities, pages have a chance to demonstrate their skills and abilities and develop them further.
Each year, the Senate pages have the opportunity to work in the House of Commons as a page for a period of time. This exchange allows pages to experience both chambers from a unique perspective while performing the duties of a page.