Which subjects are eligible for a public consultation within the framework of the Right of Initiative?
Any matter that normally falls under the jurisdiction of the City or a borough can be the object of a request for public consultation.
What are the limitations of the Right of Initiative?
Certain other subjects are ineligible for consideration. Also, a petition proposal will not be considered for public consultation if it concerns, for example:
- the sharing of powers, the governance or the status of the city
- administrative organization or the distribution of contracts
- budget, fees or taxes
- an urban development project for which a public consultation process or a referendum approval has been established by law
- a project that has already been submitted for public consultation within the previous three years
- a call for tenders, pending or completed, or for which a contract has already been awarded
- a subject pending before the court or a matter that was the object of a judgment or an out-of-court settlement.
See a detailed listing of all subjects excluded. (By-law, Part II, Application, article 3)
How do I make a request?
First of all, you’ll have to fill out the Form Step 1 - Presenting a draft petition (Central, Borough), in which you will be required to:
- confirm that your request is admissible.
- clearly state the subject of your draft petition.
- eliminate anything that may cause confusion, be misleading, or suggest bad faith.
- say why the requested public consultation is in the population’s general interest.
- collect the signatures of at least 25 people aged 15 and over living in the city or the borough, as the case may be. Please take note that this is not a petition, but the validation of your draft petition.
- choose three representatives from your group, one of whom agrees to serve as a contact person.
- submit your completed form to the City clerk, or to the offices of the borough responsible for studying your request. Require a receipt upon delivery.
When can a petition be circulated?
You must first have presented to the City or borough, as the case may be, a draft petition that has been judged admissible.
Within 45 days following confirmation of the admissibility of your draft petition, a notice will be published on the Ville de Montréal website or, in the case of a borough, on the borough’s website and in a local newspaper. The notice will include the deadline for signing the petition and the number of signatures required for it to be considered.
Once the notice has been published, the petition may be circulated.
What form must be used for a petition?
To petition for your Right of Initiative, you must use the Form Step 2 - Collecting signatures on the petition (Central, Borough) that the City has placed at your disposal. No other form or method of electronic signature is acceptable.
Who can sign a petition?
All persons aged 15 and over living in the city or within the borough in question have the right to sign a petition to exercise their right to initiate a public consultation.
It is not necessary to be a Canadian citizen to sign.
Is petitioning permitted on public property?
Legally nothing prohibits signing a petition on public property.
In addition, Article 3 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms of Québec (RSQ, chapter C-12) confirms this right:
Every person is the possessor of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.
However, petitioners should not encourage a crowd from forming that could endanger peace, security or public order.
How much time is allowed to circulate a petition?
The time allowed for collecting signatures is 90 days following the publication of the notice announcing the beginning of the petitioning period.
How many signatures are required to initiate a public consultation?
To be considered valid, the petition must include a minimum of 15,000 signatures for proposals that concern the City, or 5% of the population aged 15 and over, up to a maximum of 5,000 signatures, in the case of a borough.
All persons aged 15 years and over living in the city or borough in question, as the case may be, have the right to sign.
Please see the Table of number of signatures required by each borough.
Why is it that persons aged 15 and over can sign a petition?
To give young people an opportunity to become involved with municipal affairs. The Right of Initiative may therefore serve as a citizenship educational tool for young people.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child actively encourages the participation of young people in decisions that affect their lives, and is one of the defining principles of international declarations concerning sustainable development.
The specific age of 15 for participating in the Right of Initiative was established for practical reasons, since Statistics Canada publishes its findings at five-year intervals and such data remain the only incontestable way of establishing the population of each borough.
Who will hold the public consultation?
For a borough, the consultation will be held by the borough council, one of its committees or any committee or group of designated persons, as the council concerned may decide.
For the City, the consultation will be held by one of the Council Committee (in French) or by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (in French), at the discretion of the executive committee.
How will the public consultation unfold?
First of all, representatives of the City or borough will present information and answer questions from citizens. This is when those who have submitted the request will be required to explain the reasoning behind their request for a public consultation.
Secondly, at least 15 days later, everyone will have the opportunity to express an opinion. Those in charge of the consultation will publish a written report within 90 days following termination of the proceedings.
What is the possible recourse in the case of a disagreement on a decision or the way the Right of Initiative was applied by a borough or the City?
Any complaint relating to application of the Right of Initiative may be submitted to the Ombudsman de Montréal, whose role is to facilitate dialogue and recommend concrete solutions to both citizens and the administration.
Please remember that the Ombudsman is a last resort. All parties involved must seek consensus beforehand. If the dispute persists, the Ombudsman is there to help you.