In recent days it has come under close scrutiny, because of some senators making outlandish claims for housing and travel expenses and for not attending meetings and in one case for domestic violence. There is demand for outright abolition of the Senate from many and for reform from some.
It will require the consent of each province, together with the federal parliament to abolish it, but it will only require the federal parliament and the consent of seven provinces, representing 50% of the population of Canada to reform it. The Senate itself can delay such an amendment for 180 days, after which it can be bypassed.
There have been many proposals in the past to reform it and the present Ref/Con. government ( from its Reform Party days) had proposed a triple -e, senate...equal, elected and effective and still do. This is opposed by the other political parties and more importantly by the provinces and so this will not "fly". The larger provinces , Ontario and Quebec do not support the idea that all provinces be equally represented and electing it, is opposed on the grounds that it will compete with the House of Commons for power and create a gridlock in government as is the case in the Unite States with its equal, elected Senate and Rep, by Pop House.
Others have suggested a term limit ( rather the present retirement at 75 yrs.); that the appointment be taken away from the Prime Minister and be given to an independent body; that it (like in Germany) become the representative of the provinces and be given specific powers to do so, (a federal system require a two-house, so there is no getting away with one House); that it be chosen by the provinces to represent their interests ( this will make it untenable with each province reps. being mere extension of provincial interests, but may force them to look for common cause and work out compromises). There are many other suggestions but what must be borne in mind is Canada's uniqueness of linguistic, religious, geographic and economic, regional cleavages.
We do need a House of the Regions as was initially decided. That's where we should begin. Equal representation of the regions ( it was 24 from each of four regions and special consideration for the North), with the regions choosing their representatives, based on national standards and with clear powers to represent regional interests ( the Supreme Court can act as arbiter in disputes, as it does presently in Federal /Provincial disputes). This will make the "second" house equal. elected and effective. Triple "e", but regional, not provincial.
The second house becomeS relevant and reflects the needs of the regions and thus the country and we get rid of the 'albatross' that we presently have.