Nunavut's Deputy Attorney General says the federal government does not have the authority to act alone on pushing ahead with their agenda to reform the Senate.

The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada for clarity on various Senate reform issues, including term limits for senators. Norman Tarnow made the Nunavut submission to the Supreme Court of Canada last week as part of that process.

Ottawa wants to be able to make changes to the rules governing the Senate without consulting the provinces on every one. But in the written submission, Tarnow argues that under the letter of the law, the provinces and territories get a say.

"Canada's territories play no explicit legal role in Canada's amending formula," the territorial government said its filing with the Supreme Court on the issue. "However, as the process of devolution continues, and the territories accrue province-like powers, Canada must take steps to include them in decision-making regarding amendments to the Constitution."

"To do otherwise is to risk the legitimacy of such changes by excluding those  jurisdictions in Canada which have the most immediate need of vocal representation in the federal law-making process," Tarnow said.

Among the issues under discussion are things like term limits and even the outright abolition of the upper chamber.