An electronic petition ("e-petition") is used to draw attention to an issue of public interest or concern and to request that the House of Commons, the Government of Canada, a Minister of the Crown, or a Member of the Parliament take or refrain from some action. A person preparing and submitting such a request is known as a petitioner.
E-petitions must meet certain requirements established by the rules and practices of the House. The Clerk of Petitions, a non-partisan House of Commons employee, holds the authority to certify that these requirements have been met. In addition to the summary below, rules governing petitions can be found in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons (Standing Order 36). Additionnal information can also be found in House of Commons Procedure and Practice (Chapter 22).
Petitioners cannot directly present a petition to the House of Commons; only a Member of Parliament is able to do so. To have a petition posted on the House of Commons petitions website and eventually presented to the House, it must be authorized for online publication by a member.
Petitions can be prepared and processed as printed documents or in an electronic format. This guide contains information in relation to electronic petitions.
You can search for a petition that is of interest to you by going to the petitions website and searching by keyword, subject, petition number (in the format "e-1234") or by the name of the member of Parliament who has authorized its online publication.
To be a signatory:
The information that you will need to provide as a signatory is:
After providing this information, you will receive an automated email prompting you to confirm your signature. This confirmation must be provided for your signature to be counted. You may only sign a given e-petition once. The Clerk of Petitions has the right to reject any signature of which the validity is in doubt.
The first step towards creating an e-petition is to create an account on the petitions website. You may not use an email address or a device with an IP address associated with the Government of Canada or the Parliament of Canada.
Once your contact information has been submitted, a message with an embedded hyperlink will automatically be sent to your email, prompting you to confirm the creation of your account.
Note: A petitioner may only have one e-petition open for signature in their name at any one time.
A template exists to assist you in your drafting and to ensure that the following guidelines for the text of a petition are respected:
The petition must be addressed to one of the following:
The text of a petition is essentially a request, also called a "prayer", that the addressee take or avoid some concrete action to remedy a grievance or concern. It must be clear and direct, phrased as a request, and not a demand, and must not exceed 250 words.
The petition may include a more detailed description of the grievance or concern, or a statement of opinion, but these alone cannot be received as a petition. Universal Resource Locators (URLs) or any other links or web-based references are not permitted.
A petition must use respectful and moderate language, and not contain improper or unparliamentary language. It should not contain disrespectful or offensive language with respect to the Crown, Parliament and its members, or the courts. It may not include accusations made against the character or conduct of Parliament, the courts, or any other duly constituted authority. A petition must be written in either English or French.
The petition must concern a subject that is within the authority of the Parliament of Canada, the House of Commons, or the Government of Canada. A petition must not concern a purely provincial or municipal matter.
The petition may not concern a matter that is sub judice, i.e., a matter that is the subject of legal proceedings or currently before the courts.
Two e-petitions that are substantially the same may not be open for signature at the same time. An e‑petitioner whose e-petition is substantially the same as another may wait for the first e-petition to close or may amend their e-petition to make it distinctive. A search function is available on the website to identify existing e-petitions.
Before you begin collecting signatures from the general public, the steps listed below must be completed. You will receive an email advising you when the petition progresses through each step.
Once the deadline for signing a petition has closed (i.e., after 30, 60, 90 or 120 days), the Clerk of Petitions will proceed with a final validation of signatures. If there are at least 500 valid signatures, the Clerk of Petitions will issue a certificate to the member of Parliament who authorized the online publication of the petition. It can then be presented to the House by any member. A record of this presentation will appear in the Journals for that day and the petitioner, supporters and signatories of the petition will be advised by email after its presentation.
If an e-petition has not garnered the minimum number of signatures by the closing date, it will proceed no further, but will remain visible online.
The Standing Orders of the House of Commons require the government to respond to every petition presented to the House within 45 calendar days. If the House is not sitting on that day, the response must be presented at the next sitting of the House.
The petitioner, supporters, signatories, and the member of Parliament who authorized the online publication of the e-petition will be notified by email when the response is tabled in the House. A copy will also be found on the petitions website along with the original petition.
At prorogation (the period of time between two sessions of a Parliament), the petitions website remains active and petitioners may continue to submit petitions and gather signatures. However, certified petitions may not be presented to the House until the opening of the new session. Any outstanding government responses to petitions presented in the previous session must be tabled in the subsequent session.
The dissolution of Parliament (the period between the end of a Parliament and the start of a new Parliament after a general election) terminates the e-petitioning process. The petitions website closes at dissolution and all e-petitions not yet presented to the House are closed, and the obligation for the government to respond to all petitions also lapses. All petitioners will receive an email informing them of the status of their petition. Should a petitioner wish to pursue an issue in the form of an e-petition in the next Parliament, they must start the process anew approximately three weeks after the general election, when the petitions website reopens. Any signatures gathered prior to dissolution may not be reused; signatories who wish to support a similar petition in the new Parliament will have to sign again.
The member of Parliament authorizing the online publication of an e-petition does not necessarily endorse the views or information it contains. It is forbidden to promote an e-petition by using the member's name without their written consent.
During the e-petition process, the collection of personal information by the House of Commons on this website is kept to the strict minimum in order to ensure the integrity of the process. Personal information provided by the petitioner, supporters and signatories must be accurate and up-to-date. The use and provision of false information is prohibited.
In creating an e-petitioner account or submitting an e-petition, you must accept the following:
The House of Commons is committed to follow best practices related to the protection of personal information collected, used, disclosed, transmitted and preserved as part of the e-petition process.
The personal information provided on this website will be subject to the following:
In creating an account and submitting an e-petition:
In supporting or signing an e-petition:
Clerk of Petitions
Room 314-C, West Block
House of Commons
Last revised: March 2022
[A petition must be addressed to one of the following – select one:]
[This section is optional: you may here state facts or opinions (known as grievances) supporting your request. A petition may include many grievances, but keep in mind that it may not contain more than 250 words.]
[Here you may identify, in general terms, who the petitioners are. For example: “We the undersigned citizens (or residents) of Canada”; “electors of (name of electoral district)”; “residents of the Province of (name)”; “residents of the City (or Village, etc.) of (name)”.]
[Indicate whom you would like to take action on your request. It is usually the same addressee as above – select one:]
[Set out the request by stating succinctly what action the petitioners wish the addressee to take or refrain from taking.]