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Petitions

Petitions are a way to express public opinion to Strathcona County Council. They are written requests that are organized and signed by electors within Strathcona County; once validated they can be used to request Council take action on a particular issue.  

The content supplied on this page is intended to provide general information regarding petitions and is not a replacement for consulting the legislation or obtaining legal advice. 

What is an elector?

An elector is a person who is qualified to vote in a municipal election in accordance with the Local Authorities Election Act, R.S.A. 2000, c.L-21 , where they are:

  • at least 18 years of age,
  • a Canadian citizen,
  • an Alberta resident for 6 consecutive months prior to the date the petition was signed, and
  • a resident of Strathcona County when signing the petition.

 

How do I communicate my views to County Council? 

There are three types of petitions used in Strathcona County:

  1. Public vote on a bylaw
  2. Local improvement petition
  3. Informal petition or a statement of position
 

1.  Public vote on a bylaw:

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 County (the Chief Commissioner) the authority to declare to County Council whether or not the County received a petition containing sufficient valid signatures to require a public vote on a bylaw.  

When a petition is complete, petitioners should contact Legislative and Legal Services at (780)464-8157 to arrange a time to deliver the petition to the Legislative and Legal Services office.

The Municipal Government Act requires the Director of Legislative and Legal Services to review the petition and count the valid signatures. Within 30 days of receiving the petition, Legislative and Legal Services 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 Director of Legislative and Legal Services 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 Director may consider the following matters to ensure that the petition meets the legislative rules.

 

Subject Matter:

Electors may petition for a new bylaw, or to amend or repeal an existing bylaw. The subject matter of the petition must be within County Council's power, except for the limitations set out in the Municipal Government Act  which are any:

  • Financial matters (part 8)
  • Assessment of property (part 9)
  • Taxation (part 10)
  • Sustainable development (Part 17)

In these circumstances, a vote on the bylaw requested by the petitioners is not required. 

If the bylaw requested in the petition is a bylaw amending or repealing an existing bylaw or resolution, the petition seeking repeal or amendment of that bylaw must be filed with Legislative and Legal Services 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.

 

Purpose Statement:

Each page of the petition must contain a 'purpose statement' which sets out what bylaw the petitioners are asking to vote upon. 

 

People Allowed to Sign the Petition:

Only electors, as described above, may sign the petition.

 

Information Electors must Provide on the Petition:

Every elector signing the petition must additionally provide:

  • their signature;
  • the printed version of their name;
  • the correct municipal address or legal description of the property where they reside;
  • confirmation of residency and eligibility; and
  • the date on which the petition was signed.

 

Witness Obligations:

Every signature collected 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.

The witness must swear an affidavit stating that he or she believes that the person who signed the petition was eligible to sign the petition.

 

Date of Signatures Collected:

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 Legislative and Legal Services.

 

Number of Signatures:

The witnessed signatures must total 10% of the total population of Strathcona County (2015 Census can be found here).

The only names on the petition that can be counted as valid will be those that:

    • were collected within 60 days prior to the date when the petition was delivered to Legislative and Legal Services;
    • appear on a page with a purpose statement;
    • include the persons signature, printed name, correct municipal address, confirmation of residency and eligibility, and the date they signed the petition;
    • are properly witnessed; and 
    • have affidavits from the witnesses properly sworn before someone legally entitled to commission affidavits in Alberta.

 

Representative Statement:

The representative of the petitioners must also sign the petition declaring that he or she is the representative of the petitioners for all purposes.

 

Vote of the Electors on Advertised Bylaws and Resolutions:

Petitions against advertised bylaws or resolutions follow the same principles as set out above 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 within 60 days from the end of the 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.

 

2. Local improvement petition

Local improvement projects are defined in the Municipal Government Act  as projects which are beneficial to an area of a municipality and are paid for by an imposed tax to the benefiting area. Electors of Strathcona County may petition for or against these local improvement projects.

These petitions must be signed by ⅔ of the affected property owners who represent at least ½ of the total assessment of the affected area, according to the last revised assessment roll. For more information please read sections 222-226 of the Municipal Government Act  as well as section 392. You can also contact Strathcona County's GIS branch to determine where the proposed local improvement is and which area benefits from it.

 

 3. Informal petition or statement of position

Informal petitions, also known as statement of positions, can be used to express a public opinion to Strathcona County Council. They cannot oblige Council to take action, but they can be a useful to indicate a public concern.

While there is no legislative requirements regarding statement of positions, the provided guidelines below will help ensure that your concern is easily understood by Council and the administration.

  • A statement of petition must be in legible, understandable writing with at least one person signing, printing their name and providing their address. 
  • The wording must be as brief and clear as possible.
  • If submitting more than one page, please ensure that the entire wording of the statement of position is at the top of each page so it is clear that each person signing is agreeing to the original statement.
  • When multiple people are signing, they must also provide their printed name, address, and date of signing.
  • Designate one person as the contact person and provide their name, address, telephone number and e-mail. 
  • Statements of position can be sent to:
Strathcona County
Legislative and Legal Services
2001 Sherwood Drive,
Sherwood Park, AB
T8A 3W7
 

Once a statement of position is received, the Manager of Legislative Services will forward it to the appropriate department manager. The department manager will then notify the Councillor of the affected area that a statement of position has been received and, depending on the nature of the statement, will do one the following:

  • provide a report to Council seeking direction on the matter;
  • consider the statement of position in making administrative decisions on any matter which has given rise to the informal petition;
  • implement the request contained in the statement of position; or
  • not implement the request in the statement of position.

The Manager of Legislative Services and the department manager will, within their respective areas of responsibility, communicate with the contact person from the statement of position to advise of Council meeting dates, report recommendations, actions or decisions which are made or taken as a result of informal petitions.

 

Additional Information:

These forms are not intended to serve as legal documents but to provide general information about the requirements for petitions and contains sections of the Municipal Government Act that govern the preparation and requirements for petitions.

These forms are meant to be used as a template and are not a replacement for consulting the legislation or obtaining legal counsel. 

  1. Sample Petition (141.4 KB)
  2. Sample Petition for a Local Improvement (64.9 KB)
  3. Sample Petition Against a Local Improvement (135.8 KB)
  4. Sample Statement of Representatives for Petition (114.0 KB)
  5. Sample Affidavit of Execution (120.7 KB)

This link provides additional information regarding the receipt and handling of petitions: Policy GOV-002-014

 

Contact Information: 

Phone: 780-464-8157
Fax: 780-464-8194
Email: jacqueline.roblin@strathcona.ca

Last updated: Monday, January 16, 2017
Page ID: 37643