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IllustrationAdopted by the Montréal’s City Council, the Right og Initiative has been in effect since January 2010.

Is there an idea or project that is close to your heart and that you would like to debate with other citizens? The Right of Initiative allows you to obtain a public consultation by filing a petition in the form and within the timeframe provided for under the relevant By-law.

Whether you are a citizen who actively participates in his or her community or a member of a community association, sports club or student or other group, the Right of Initiative gives you the opportunity to propose a novel idea, and to raise awareness of it and validate its relevance over the course of a public consultation.

You may thereby propose new, constructive solutions or innovative, mobilizing projects to respond to the issues and challenges of the city or your borough, and thus contribute to its development. Make sure to read the pamphlet and summary to find out more about the Right of intiative to public consultation.

Two steps are required to initiate a public consultation:

Step 1

Make sure your request is eligible within the parameters of the Right of Initiative.

Step 2

Present a petition signed by the required number of citizens.

Once the first two steps have been completed

The City or borough, as the case may be, will undertake to organize a public consultation concerning the object of your request.

Presenting a draft petition (Step 1)

Obtain the signatures of 25 people ages 15 years or older living on the territory of the city or, as applicable, the borough concerned, supporting your draft petition. Among them, three will be designated to represent the group, including one acting as contact person. Use the corresponding form Step 1 provided to that effect. Once the form has been duly completed, submit the draft petition to the City clerk or, as applicable, to the borough office.

Collecting signatures on the petition (Step 2)

Your draft petition having been deemed admissible, you are now at Step 2, which involves collecting signatures on the petition. The city or borough publishes a notice announcing your petition. A 90-day period, beginning on the date of the publication of the notice, is allocated for collecting signatures.

There is a set number of signatures required, i.e.:
- 15,000 for a petition whose subject falls under central city jurisdiction;
- A maximum of 5,000, or 5% of the population ages 15 years or older, for a subject that falls under borough jurisdiction.

The Right of Initiative is intended for public consultations on major issues mobilizing the community, which explains the required number of signatures. Use the corresponding form Step 2 provided to that effect. If you obtain the required number of signatures within the prescribed period, the city or, as applicable, the borough must hold a public consultation on the subject of the petition.

Who may sign a petition?

All persons aged 15 and over, living in the city or within the borough in question, as the case may be, shall have the right to sign a petition within the parameters of the Right of Initiative.

Ineligible requests

Conditions have been established to use this new right, while certain other subjects are excluded. For example, management-related issues (such as administrative organization, personnel management, collective agreements and matters already before the courts) will not be heard. To consult this list, please see the summary.

Furthermore, the Right of Initiative may not duplicate or replace any existing form of public consultation. This means that any matter for which public consultation, or approval by referendum, is already required under an existing law shall remain within the purview of that law alone. For instance:

  • projects previously under study by the Loi sur l’aménagement et l’urbanisme or the Charte de la Ville de Montréal: for example, the special planning program (SPP) "Quartier des gares"or the real estate project "Carré des Arts".
  • projects previously submitted for consultation to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE): the completion of autoroute 19 or the Turcot Interchange.

Municipal election

No draft petitions may be submitted between January 1 and November 15 in a municipal election year, or during the electoral period in a borough where a partial election is being held.

The Right of Initiative is therefore in addition to existing methods of public consultation.

To ensure sound management of the city’s and its boroughs’ financial and human resources, the maximum number of public consultations that can be held within a given year is limited to:
- three for subjects concerning the city;
- two per borough.

However, the city or a borough may hold additional public consultations pursuant to the Right of Initiative, if it finds that it has the necessary resources

This tool was jointly created by the Task Force on Democracy (2002-2014) and the City of Montréal to provide citizens an additional tool with which to contribute to the development of their city, alongside elected officials.