September, 1993



A petition cannot be presented to the House of Commons unless it has first been submitted by a Member of Parliament to the Clerk of Petitions for certification. In order to be certified, the petition must meet certain requirements established by the rules and practices of the House. The following list sets out guidelines for drafting petitions on matters of public concern.

General Requirements

  1. The petition must be handwritten, typed, printed or photocopied on sheets of paper of usual size, i.e. measuring 21.5 cm x 28 cm (8 1/2 x 11 inches).

  2. The words "To the House of Commons" or To the House of Commons in Parliament assembled" must appear at the beginning of the petition. Petitions to the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister, a Minister, or an individual Member of Parliament are not acceptible.

  3. The petition must be respectful and use temperate language.

  4. The petition must not be altered either by erasing or crossing out words or by adding words (for example by way of comments, however minor, whether by hand or typed, whether between the lines or elsewhere).

  5. No other matter is to be attached or appended to or written on the petition, whether in the form of additional documents, maps, pictures, news articles, explanatory or supporting statements, or requests for support. A return address is allowed.

  6. The petition must concern a subject within the authority of the Parliament of Canada. The petition must not concern a purely provincial or municipal matter or any matter which should be brought before a court of law or a tribunal.


  1. The petition must contain a request , called a "prayer," for Parliament to take some action (or refrain from taking some action) to remedy a grievance. A statement of grievance or a statement of opinion alond cannot be received as a petition. The petition must not, however, demand or insist that Parliament do something.

  2. The prayer should be clear and to the point. Details which the petitioners think important may be included in the statement of grievance.

  3. The "prayer" should avoid directly asking Parliament to do something which would require the expenditure of public funds.

Signatures and addresses

  1. Some signatures and addresses should, if possible, appear on the first sheet with the "prayer." The subject matter of the petition must be indicated on each of the other sheets containing signatures and addresses.

  2. The petition must contain a minimum of 25 valid signatures, each with the address of the petitioner,. The signature of a Member of Parliament is not counted.

  3. Each petitioner must sign his or her own name directly on the petition and must not sign for anyone else. Names should be signed, not printed. Signatures cannot be attached to a sheet (taped or pasted on) or photocopied onto it. If a petitioner cannot sign because of illness or a disability, this must be noted on the petition and the note signed by a witness.

  4. The petitioner's address must be written directly on the petition and not pasted on or reproduced. The petitioner may give his or her full home address or simply the city and province.

  5. Aliens not resident in Canada cannot petition the House of Common of Canada.

Form of petition

  1. The recommended form of a petition to the House of Commons is set out on the last page of this guide. Below is a ficticious model petition.



    We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the following:

    THAT incidents of X are becoming more and more frequent;

    THAT each incident of X harms the public; and

    THAT there would be fewer such incidents if certain leglislative measures were taken.

    THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation against X.

  2. On the other sheets of signatures and addresses, the subject matter of this ficticious petition could be shown as follows: PETITION ASKING PARLIAMENT TO ENACT LEGISLATION AGAINST X.


  1. Only a Member of Parliament can present a petition to the House of Commons. The petitioners must send their petition to the Members with a request to present it to the House. Any Member of Parliament may be asked to present the petition even if he or she does not represent the petitioners.

  2. Nothing in the rules or practice of the House of Commons requires a Member to present a petition he or she has received. The Member may even ask another Member to present the petition.

  3. Members of the public who wish to petition the House of Commons on a matter of public interest are advised to submit a draft petition (without signatures) to a Member of Parliament to see whether it is correctly worded and whether the Member would agree to present it.

  4. A Member may present a petition to the House in either of two ways: by making a brief statement in the House during routine proceedings regarding the origin and subject of the petition, or by filing the petition with the Clerk of the House while the House is sitting. The act of presenting a petition does not necessarily mean that the Member supports it.

  5. If a Member makes a statement in the House when presenting a petition, the statement is reproduced in Hansard, the official record of the debates. A record of each petition presented, whether or not a statement is made, appears in the Votes and Proceedings for that day.

  6. Whenever a petition is presented, a copy is sent to the Government which must table a response in the House within 45 days after the petition has been presented.

    Clerk of Petitions
    Private Members' Business Office
    Tel: (613) 992-9511
    September 1993


    The recommended form of a petition to the House of Commons is set out below. Do not write your petition on this sheet.


    We, the undersigned

    (Here identify in general terms, who the petitioners are, for example:

    • citizens (or residents of Canada)

    • electors of (name of electoral district

    • residents of the Province of...

    • residents of the City (or Village or Township, etc.) of...)

    draw attention of the House to the following:

    THAT (Here briefly state the reasons underlying the request for the intervention of the House by outlining the grievance or problem or by summarizing the facts which the petitioners wish the House to consider.)

    THEREFORE, your petitioners (request that Parliament or call upon Parliament to)

    (Here set out the "prayer" or request by stating succinctly what action the petitioners wish Parliament to take or what action it should refrain from taking.)

    Signatures                    Addresses                   
    (sign your own name,          (Give your full home address
    Do not print.)                or your city and province.) 
    1. ______________________     ___________________________ 
    2. ______________________     ___________________________ 
    3. ______________________     ___________________________ 

    The subject-matter of the petition must be shown on each of the attached sheets of signatures and addresses.

[Gov. Reports]

Created: October 6, 1998
Last modified: September 24, 2002

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