Before a Member can present a petition in the House, the rules of the House of Commons require that it must first be certified correct as to form and content.
Petitions for certification should be sent by a Member to the Clerk of Petitions, Private Members' Business Office, Room 134-C, Centre Block.
The Member submitting the petition should be clearly indicated.
Certification normally takes between three and five working days, though this may vary depending on the volume of petitions being submitted for certification.
Petitions may be submitted for certification during periods of adjournment or prorogation. However, petitions cannot be certified during a dissolution (election period).
A petition meeting the requirements for certification will be returned to the Member with a certificate attached, signed by the Clerk of Petitions.
A certified petition is not to be altered or tampered with in any way; nor is the certificate to be removed.
A petition submitted for certification which does not meet the requirements as to form and content will be returned to the Member with an explanatory note.
The rules of the House require that the government reply to a petition within 45 calendar days. If a petition remains without a response at the expiration of this time, a standing committee of the House is required to look into the Ministry's failure to respond. A certified petition returned to a Member will be accompanied by a form, to be signed by the Member, on which the Member must indicate the committee to which the Ministry's failure to respond will be referred.
This form must accompany the certified petition when the petition is presented in the House.
Any Member of Parliament may be asked to present a petition even if he or she does not represent the petitioners.
Nothing in the rules or practices of the House requires a Member to present a petition he or she has received. The Member may even ask another Member to present the petition.
Once a petition has been certified, any Member may present it. The Member presenting it must endorse the petition by signing the back of the last page of the petition.
It is advisable for a Member to keep a photocopy of at least the first page of a petition for future reference.
A Member wishing a photocopy of a petition already presented in the House should contact the Office of Parliamentary Returns of the Privy Council (Tel. 613-943-5040; Fax 613-943-5051).
A Member may present a certified and endorsed petition in the House on any sitting day during Routine Proceedings when the Speaker calls "Presenting Petitions". A maximum of 15 minutes each sitting day is provided for the presentation of petitions.
Routine Proceedings takes place at 3:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 12:00 noon on Fridays.
To be recognized to present a petition, a Member must be in his or her assigned place.
A Member with more than one petition to present on a given day is advised to present them all when given the floor, as individual Members are recognized by the Chair only once during "Presenting Petitions". This allows more Members to be recognized within the 15‑minute time limit.
When presenting a petition, no debate is permitted. A Member may make a brief factual statement, referring to the petition being duly certified, to its source, to the subject matter of the petition and its request, and the number of signatures it carries. Petitions are not to be read in their entirety. The statement is reproduced in Hansard, the official record of the debates, and a record of the petition appears in the Journals for that day.
A certified petition may also be presented by a Member at any time during a sitting of the House by filing it with a Clerk at the Table in the Chamber, once it has been endorsed by the Member. A record of the petition appears in the Journals for that day.