How to Petition the Legislative Assembly of Alberta

Petitions provide a way for Albertans to bring issues to the attention of the Legislative Assembly.

A petition is a request for action made by an individual or group residing in the province of Alberta. The right to petition is a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy. However, petitions must adhere to Assembly rules and parliamentary convention in order to be presented to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and no specific action is required by the Assembly in response to a petition.

Petition Requirements

Petitions address the Legislative Assembly as a whole rather than specific groups or individuals such as the government, a political party or an MLA. In the parliamentary sense the government refers only to those in cabinet, or Executive Council, headed by the Premier.

Petitions use language that is moderate but direct, does not criticize, abuse or insult.

Petitions must be submitted in paper or hard copy. Each page of a petition, including both sides of a double-sided page, must include the petition prayer, signature(s) from Alberta residents and a notice of public disclosure, which states that all of the information contained in the petition will become publicly accessible on presentation to the Assembly. Pages that do not comply with the above requirements may not be presented to the Legislative Assembly.

A Request (or “Prayer”)

Petitions clearly state a request that the Legislative Assembly either take or refrain from taking a certain action. This is often referred to as the petition prayer. The prayer may request only that which is within the power and authority of the Assembly.

  • We, the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to pass legislation that will __________.

  • We, the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to urge the government of Alberta to introduce legislation to ____________.

  • We, the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to urge the government of Alberta to inform the federal government that ____________.

Original Signatures

Petitions include the names, addresses and signatures of those who support the petition prayer. The signatures must be from Alberta residents and originals, not stamped, photocopied or digital. A petition must include at least one signature.

Notice of Public Disclosure

All petitions must notify the undersigned that their personal information is made public if the petition is presented to the Legislative Assembly.

A petition must not contain debate or argument and should avoid untrue, misleading or contentious statements, particularly as a means to predetermine the requested remedy.

Petitions address the Assembly and must ask for a remedy that is within its power. A matter under the administration of another level of government must be addressed to the federal, provincial, municipal, territorial or Indigenous government with appropriate jurisdiction. Certain matters that are the responsibility of a municipal government may be referred to in a petition’s prayer if the prayer establishes a direct connection with the Legislative Assembly or a program or service of the government of Alberta.

Recommended approaches:

  • Request the passing of a Bill as opposed to the making of a law. The Legislative Assembly may be asked to pass a Bill but not to make a law, as making a law requires the Legislative Assembly to pass a Bill and the Lieutenant Governor to provide royal assent to the Bill.

  • Ask the Assembly to urge the government to do something if government action is desired. While it is not within the Legislative Assembly’s power to direct the executive branch of government, the Legislative Assembly can urge the executive branch to act or govern in a certain way. This principle applies to Ministers and ministries and to all other levels or branches of government.

A petition may not request a direct expenditure or charge on public revenue. It may not request increased funding for existing government programs or funding for the creation of new government programs.

Recommended approach:

  • A petition may request that the Legislative Assembly urge the government of Alberta to consider increasing funding for a government program or ask for relief from a burdensome situation that requires funds. A petition can seek a reduction of an expenditure with respect to an existing government program or request that an existing program increase its efficiency or change focus.

Petition Template

Petitioners may wish to use this fill-and-print template in PDF. Thoroughly review all petition requirements before drafting the prayer. Once complete, print the hard copy and circulate it for original signatures.
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For more information on petition requirements see chapter 7 of the Standing Orders, the written rules and protocols of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Other parliamentary rules and conventions also apply.

The Petition Process

Step 1

Understand Requirements

Read and understand the requirements for petitions.

Petitions must be presented in paper or hard copy; digital format is not accepted. Petitions that do not meet all of the requirements may not be presented to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Step 2

Draft Petition

Prepare a draft petition that includes the four parts:

  • address
  • prayer
  • allowance for names, addresses and signatures
  • disclosure notice

The petitioner may seek feedback on the format of the petition from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

Step 3

Collect Signatures

Proceed with collecting the names, addresses and original signatures from Alberta residents.

Petitions must include original signatures, but there is no age requirement for those who sign; nor is there a specific deadline or time period for collecting signatures.

Step 4

Find a Presenter  

Ask a private Member to present the petition.

A private Member is any Member who is not part of cabinet. They need not represent the petitioner’s constituency or a constituency that may be the subject of a petition.

Step 5

Submit for Approval  

The private Member delivers the petition to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for approval.

This must be done at least one sitting day before the petition is to be presented.

Step 6

Present to the Legislative Assembly

The private Member presents the petition to the Assembly during the Daily Routine.

Petitions are presented only when the Assembly is sitting.


Steps 5 and 6 are completed by the private Member presenting the petition.

Presenting Petitions

Only Members of the Legislative Assembly may present petitions to the Legislative Assembly.

By convention, private Members present petitions; Ministers do not. Once a Member agrees to present a petition, that Member endorses the petition with a signature at the top of the first page. This endorsement does not signal support for the petition prayer; it indicates agreement to present the petition.

When presenting a petition, the Member must limit remarks to the petition prayer, the number of signatures attached and the geographic area represented by the signatories.


Members are not required to present petitions. If one Member declines, petitioners may ask another.

The right of citizens to petition is entrenched in the democratic parliamentary system.

Its roots lie in a medieval tradition where receivers and triers of petitions appointed by the Crown travelled the country to hear the complaints of the people.
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Frequently Asked Questions

No. Only paper petitions with original signatures may be presented to the Legislative Assembly.

No. It does not need to be in a particular layout, but all petitions to the Legislative Assembly must meet the applicable requirements. Petitioners may wish to use the petition template.

No. The presenting of a petition does not mean that the Legislative Assembly has made any decision on the relief requested, and neither the Assembly nor any individual or entity referred to in the request is required to act on a petition.

No. There is no age requirement for those who sign a petition to the Legislative Assembly.

Yes. A petition must include at least one signature.

No. There is no specific deadline or time period for collecting signatures; however, a petition may only be presented to the Assembly when it is sitting. Consult the Assembly calendar to confirm when the Assembly is scheduled to sit. 

No. The private Member who will present the petition to the Assembly does not have to be determined in advance of the petition being circulated for signatures.


Once a petition is presented to the Assembly, it becomes a document of the Assembly and is not returned. For information on presented petitions contact the Journals Office at 780.427.5439