How to Create a Petition

What is a petition?
A petition is a formal request to an authority for redress of a grievance. Public petitions, addressed to the House of Commons and presented to the House by its Members, constitute one of the most direct means of communication between the people and Parliament.

Why would a Canadian submit a petition?
A Canadian can submit a petition to any member of the House of Commons when they want to tell the Government that they and several Canadians believe that the Government should act on a certain topic.

Petitions have been described as a vehicle for political input, a way of attempting to influence policy‑making and legislation and also, judging by their continued popularity, a valued means of bringing public concerns to the attention of Parliament.

*Note* Members are not bound to present petitions and cannot be compelled to do so. However, many Members consider it a duty to present to the House petitions brought forward by constituents.

What type of petitions does the House of Commons accept?
Historically, the House of Commons has always accepted paper petitions, however, in January 2014, there was a motion (M-248) that allowed for electronic petitions (E-petitions).

E-Petition

What is an E-Petition?
An E-Petition is another method to petition the House of Commons. To learn more about how to create an e-petition visit, https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Home/Index

Paper Petition

What is required in a Paper Petition?
In order for a petition to be tabled in the House of Commons, a petition must meet certain requirements in order to be certified.

1. Must be addressed to the 

  • The House of Commons, or 
  • The House of Commons in Parliament Assembled, or 
  • Government of Canada, or
  • Minister of the Crown (i.e. Minister of Ministry Name), or
  • Member of Parliament (so-and-so, Member of Parliament for Riding X)

2. Must contain a Prayer. A Prayer is a clear, proper and respectful request that the House, the government, a Minister or a Member take, or refrain from taking, some sort of action, called the “remedy”, in response to an alleged grievance.

*Note* Petitions without prayers or petitions pertaining to a matter that falls outside the jurisdiction of the House or of the federal government—a matter under the jurisdiction of a provincial or municipal government, for example—cannot be certified for presentation to the House.

3. Petitions must be written, typed, or printed on Paper of Usual Size. Paper of usual size is defined as 8 ½ X 11 (Letter) or 8 ½ X 14 (Legal). Paper on any other size can’t be certified.

4. Must contain minimum 25 original signatures and addresses. Petitions must contain original signatures written directly on the document and not pasted on or otherwise transferred to it. Some signatures and addresses must appear on the first sheet with the text of the prayer. Signatures and addresses may appear on the reverse of the petition. A person’s address must be one of the following.

  • Full Home Address
  • Your city and province
  • Province and Postal Code

Example of a valid Paper Petition

For more information on Public Petition, please visit ourcommons.ca

Last updated: October 31, 2017