After a Petition is Submitted
Once the signing period is over, the petition is presented to the National Assembly by the MNA chosen to do so. This is sometimes referred to as tabling the petition.
Once tabled, the petition may be examined in parliamentary committee. The Québec government must answer all petitions presented to the National Assembly.
To view a petition whose signing period is over
Presentation to the Assembly
Petitions are presented to the Assembly during Routine Proceedings. An MNA tabling a petition first reads an abstract of it in the House.
The abstract of the petition includes
- a statement of the facts on which the petition is based
- the action requested
- the number of people who signed the petition
- the place of residence of the people who signed the petition (region, electoral division, municipality) or the name of the group they belong to (organization, union or other such body)
Processing and Follow-Up
The presentation of a petition is recorded in the Votes and Proceedings and the Journal des débats (or Hansard), for the Assembly sitting in which it took place.
The original of the petition is kept at the Sittings Service for seven days, where it may be consulted. Once the seven days are up, the Secretary General of the Assembly returns the original, in the format in which it was submitted, to the MNA who presented the petition. The abstract of any electronic petition tabled since 2009 is available at all times on the Assembly’s website, under Consulting a Petition.
Consideration in Parliamentary Committee
Immediately after a petition is presented, the Secretary General of the Assembly sends it to the competent parliamentary committee. If, for example, the petition is on a housing-related subject, the Secretary General will send it to the Committee on Planning and the Public Domain as housing falls within its area of competence.
To view the list of subjects that fall within a committee’s area of competence
A parliamentary committee generally has 15 days after the petition was sent to it to decide whether or not it will consider it. The time limit may be extended in certain circumstances, such as when the committees are considering the Government’s budget estimates.
If a committee decides to consider a petition, it may choose to hear the originator of the petition or the originator’s representatives, as well as any other person or body. On completing its consideration of the petition, the committee must produce a report and table it in the Assembly.
The Government’s Response
The Government must answer all petitions in writing within 30 days.
- If the competent parliamentary committee decides to consider the petition, the 30 days start running on the date the committee tabled its report.
- If the committee decides not to consider the petition, the 30 days start running on the date of the decision.
- If the committee has not made its decision known, the 30 days start running at the end of the 15 days the committee was given to make a decision.
The Government’s response to the petition is tabled in the National Assembly and posted on the Assembly’s website under Consulting a Petition. If the Government does not table its response within the 30-day time limit, the petition is entered as an item of business on the Order Paper and Notices. A Minister must then stand in the House and give the Government’s response to the petition. The oral response is transcribed in the Journal des débats. It is also posted on the Assembly’s website under Consulting a Petition.
If the Assembly Is Prorogued or Dissolved
The prorogation of the Assembly (ending of a session) has no effect on the petition process, except that the 15-day time limit the parliamentary committee has to decide whether or not it will consider a petition may be extended.
However, the dissolution of the Assembly ends any requirement for the Government to respond to a petition.