What is a Petition?
Petitions are used to express public opinion to Edmonton City Council. A petition is a written request signed by electors of the City of Edmonton which is presented to City Council. Petitions that meet all the legislative requirements can be used to request City Council take action on a specific issue.
What is an Elector?
An elector is a person who is qualified to vote in a municipal election according to the Local Authorities Election Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. L-21. An elector:
- is at least 18 years old
- is a Canadian citizen
- has resided in Alberta for the 6 consecutive months preceding the date on which the petition is signed, and
- resides in Edmonton when he or she signed the petition
How do I communicate my views to City Council?
You may prepare and forward:
- Petition seeking a Public Vote on a Bylaw
- Petition for a vote of the Electors on Advertised Bylaws or an Advertised Resolution of Council
- Expression of Interest seeking a Local Improvement
- Petition seeking or opposing Local Improvement Expressions of Interest and Petitions
- Petition seeking or opposing the establishment of a Business Revitalization Zone
- General correspondence to Council
The rules for preparing and filing a petition seeking a public vote are set out in the Municipal Government Act sections 221 to 226 and 232 or 234 may apply.
The Municipal Government Act gives the Chief Administrative Officer for the City (the City Manager) the authority to declare to City Council whether or not the City received a petition containing sufficient valid signatures to require a public vote on a bylaw.
The Municipal Government Act permits the City Manager to delegate any responsibilities to an employee of the City. All matters involving petitions have been delegated to the City Clerk.
When a petition is complete, petitioners should contact the Office of the City Clerk at 780-496-8178 to arrange a time to deliver the petition to the City Clerk’s Office.
The Municipal Government Act requires the City Clerk to review the petition and count the valid signatures. Within 30 days of receiving the petition, the City Clerk must declare whether the petition contains sufficient names to require a vote on a bylaw.
In order to determine whether the petition requires Council to put a bylaw to a vote of the electors, the City Clerk will follow the rules in the Municipal Government Act. Prior to collecting signatures for a petition, please review the legislation to ensure that the petition meets all of the legislative requirements. The Clerk may consider the following matters to ensure that the petition meets the legislative rules.
1. Electors may petition for a new bylaw, or a bylaw to amend or repeal an existing bylaw. The subject matter of the bylaw can be anything within Council’s power, except for matters falling under these parts of the Municipal Government Act:
- Financial Matters (Part 8)
- Assessment of Property (Part 9)
- Taxation (Part 10)
- Sustainable Development (Part 17)
If the subject matter of a petition is one of these matters, a vote on the bylaw requested by the petitioners is not required.
2. If the bylaw requested in the petition is a bylaw amending or repealing an existing City bylaw or resolution, the petition seeking repeal or amendment of that bylaw must be filed with the City Clerk within 60 days of the date on which the bylaw or resolution was passed by Council.
If the petition is presented later than 60 days after Council made its decision to pass the bylaw or resolution, a vote on the requested bylaw is not required.
3. Every page of a petition must have the same “purpose statement,” which sets out what bylaw the petitioners are asking Council to put to a vote.
People Allowed to Sign the Petition
4. Only electors may sign the petition as described above.
Information Electors have to Provide on the Petition
5. Every elector signing the petition must provide the following information:
- the correct municipal address or legal description of the property where he or she resides – business addresses or fictional addresses do not meet the requirement
- the date on which the petition was signed
- their signature
- printed version of their name
If the person signing the petition does not provide this information, the signature cannot be counted.
An elector cannot sign for any other person – only himself or herself.
6. Every signature on the petition must be witnessed by an adult person. The witness must sign the document next to the name of the person whose signature is being witnessed.
7. The witness must swear an affidavit stating that he or she believes that the person who signed the petition was entitled to sign the petition (ie. met the requirements to be an elector).
Dates Signatures Collected
8. The only signatures that can be counted are the ones that were collected 60 days or sooner from the date on which the petitioner delivered the petition to the City Clerk.
Number of Signatures
9. The petitioner must obtain enough signatures from electors to equal ten percent of the City’s population. The City’s population is determined by the City’s most recent official Census. Call the Election and Census Office at 780-442-8683 for the most recent population number.
10. The only names on the petition that can be counted are the ones that:
- were collected 60 days prior to the date when the petition was delivered to the Clerk
- appear on a page with the purpose statement
- include the person’s printed name, residential address (or legal description for the residence), signature, and the date the person signed the petition
- are properly witnessed
- have affidavits from the witnesses properly sworn before someone legally entitled to commission affidavits in Alberta
11. The representative of the petitioners must also sign the petition declaring that he or she is the representative of the petitioners for all purposes.
Petitions against advertised bylaws or resolutions follow the same principles as set out in Public Vote on a Bylaw. Please make note of the different time requirements:
- In the case of a petition against a bylaw or resolution that has been publicly advertised, the petition must be filed with 60 days from the end of advertisement.
- In the case of a petition against proposed bylaws or resolutions dealing with financial administration, the petition must be filed within 15 days of the last day the bylaw or resolution is advertised.
A local improvement is a project that is considered a greater benefit to your part of the neighbourhood rather than to the municipality as a whole. It is typically undertaken near or adjacent to your property. A local improvement might include alley upgrades, the replacement of concrete sidewalks, or the installation of decorative street lighting.
For more information:
see Neighbourhood Renewal or contact 780-944-7663.
Petitions in favour of the establishment of a BRZ
A BRZ is a unique opportunity for businesses to work together to accomplish mutual goals. Customers want safe, interesting and attractive places to shop, dine and conduct business. A BRZ is initiated at the request of a business community.
Sustainable Development provides the municipal coordinating function for Edmonton's BRZs. Staff provide consultative and planning services related to the establishment and ongoing operation of BRZs. Once the petition has been validated, a Bylaw for establishment of the BRZ is presented to City Council for three readings.
Petitions opposed to the establishment of a BRZ
Sustainable Development does not provide a coordinating function for petitions opposing a BRZ. The petition will be headed by a local organizer in the area.
To be sufficient, the petition must be signed by more that 50% of the businesses that would be taxable businesses in the proposed BRZ. The petition must be filed within 60 days PLUS a 7 day mailing period for a total of 67 days from the day a letter stating the request for a BRZ was given to the businesses in the proposed area.
For more information:
see Business Revitalization Zones or contact the Urban Design Section of Sustainable Development at 780-496-6095.
Council correspondence is also used to express public opinion, or public concern, to Council. Should a petition be deemed to have not met legislative requirements (such as insufficient signatures) it then becomes Council correspondence. The correspondence will be presented to the Office of the City Clerk within the timelines set out. The correspondence, or a summary of the correspondence, will be distributed to members of City Council. All information provided on Council, or committee, correspondence will be publicly available.
City Council is not required to do anything in response to Council correspondence; however, it will bring your concerns to the attention of all members of Council.