It is the fundamental right of citizens to petition their elected representatives. Petitions are one way citizens can bring grievances or concerns to the attention of City Council.
A petition is basically a written request signed by citizens that asks City Councillors to do something within their power about a particular issue. Instead of many people writing individual letters to Council, it is much easier to create a petition. One letter is written and people sign it to demonstrate their support.
Even when a petition does not result in an immediate or obvious resolution, petitions are important because they communicate your opinion to Members of Council and other citizens. Petitions are one way to bring public concerns to the Council agenda.
Who can petition City Council?
Anyone who is at least 18 years old and a resident of the City of Greater Sudbury, including businesses and unincorporated associations where the majority of the membership consists of City residents, may petition Council.
Should you petition?
Petitioning Council may not always be your first course of action. Some matters which are operational or administrative are sometimes best resolved by appropriate staff with the City of Greater Sudbury.
What are the rules governing petitions?
At a minimum, a petition must contain the following:
- A statement of purpose. This statement of purpose must be repeated at the top of each page.
- The signatures of a least two citizens currently residing in the City of Greater Sudbury,
- The local addresses of each citizen signing the petition.
- The name of a spokesperson (or “principal petitioner”) including their mailing address, street address and telephone number.
The subject of any petition must be a matter over which Council has the power to act. In other words, the topic must be a municipal responsibility rather than a Provincial or Federal matter.
How do I prepare a petition?
Spokesperson or Principal Petitioner
The “principal petitioner” or “spokesperson” is the person who has initiated or organized the petition on behalf of citizens, businesses or organizations.
If the petition is from a business or organization (unincorporated body), then a duly authorised officer of the business or organization should sign the front page of the petition on behalf of the business or organization. That person’s position within the organization (i.e. owner, president, secretary, treasurer, etc.) should also be included.
This person will be the main contact for the petition. Ensure that the spokesperson’s name is clearly printed and that their mailing address, street address (if it differs) and their telephone number are provided. Please include a daytime telephone number where the spokesperson can be reached between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You may also wish to include the spokesperson’s fax number and an e-mail address.
Style of petition
Petition forms are available from Members of Council, the Office of the City Clerk and online.
- be in English or in French,
- be addressed to City Council
- ask City Council to take some action on the subject matter or concern of the petition,
- identify the principal petitioner or spokesperson,
- include the signature and local address of each petitioner.
Do not attach letters, affidavits or other documents to the petition.
Although a petition requires a minimum of only two signatures to be accepted, the petition will be more representative of public feeling if it is signed by many people.
How can I get a petition presented to City Council?
All petitions should be submitted to a Member of Council who will present the petition on behalf of the petitioners to Council.
The City Clerk will record in the Minutes of the Meeting the name of the Member of Council who presented the petition, who the petition is from, the number of signatories and a short summary of the action requested by the petitioners.
If Council directs the petition to a particular member of staff, then this will also be recorded in the Minutes, including any direction given to staff.
What happens to the petition after it is presented to City Council?
After a petition has been presented, it is forwarded to the appropriate municipal staff for action. For transparency of local government, the first page of the petition will appear on the City of Greater Sudbury website at www.greatersudbury.ca
Once a General Manager has received the terms of a petition, the General Manager can choose the way in which to proceed unless otherwise directed by City Council.
In some cases, the General Manager may order administrative action to be taken in response to a particular grievance.
Is a Petition a “public” document?
Personal information on a petition form is collected under the authority of section 28(2) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of informing City Council of the views of the petition. Personal information will not be used by the City for any purpose other than to ensure it meets Council's requirements for a valid petition and to ensure contact with the spokesperson or principal petitioner. Once submitted to Council, the first page of the petition will appear on the City of Greater Sudbury website at www.greatersudbury.ca
Where can I obtain further information?
Please contact the City Clerk’s Office if you have any questions:
Office of the City Clerk
P.O. Box 5000, Station A
2nd Floor, Tom Davies Square
200 Brady Street
Sudbury ON P3A 5P3
(8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday)
Telephone: 705-674-4455, ext. 2016