What are Canadian Petitions?

Active Petitions


Petition: definition


1. a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority in respect of a particular cause.
2. an appeal or request to a deity or a superior.
3. an application to a court for a writ, judicial action in a suit, etc.

Before you start your petition, there are a number of things you should know.

  1. each level of government has their own rules and guidelines regarding petitions. Be sure you know the rules before you start
  2. ask an elected official to review a draft of your petition before you circulate it
  3. you need an elected official to present your petition to the government body. This person does not have to be your constituency representative. It does make sense though that this is the person who has already reviewed and approved your petition.

Federal Government

The Canadian government recognises digital petitions ONLY if they are registered and administered through the petitions website : https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Home/Index. This link will also bring you to petition templates and instructions.

The federal government also accepts paper petitions. Make sure the issue, ask and signature blocks are the same for each page of the collected signatures.

Provincial Government

The Nova Scotia Provincial Government does NOT accept digital petitions. All petitions must be on paper – that also means a print-out of a digital petition is not acceptable.

The petition must be addressed to the government and not an individual polititian. For example: “The Minister of  Environment and Climate Change” and not Tim Halman.

The petition must include a short description of the issue and state a clear “ask”, preferably in point form.

The House of Assembly does not have a standard form for petitions. A sample template is available from the Clerk’s Office here

For more information, follow this link https://www.nslegislature.ca/get-involved/democratic-participation/petitions/


Municipal government

Petition rules vary across municipalities and local Councils.

The HRM accepts all forms of peititions. The requirements for each form and the method of submitting your petiton can be found via this link: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/preparing-submitting-petitions