Initiative FAQs

Application Process

  • Applications for a citizen initiative petition are submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer. Applicants must provide:

    • A completed Application for Citizen Initiative Petition,
    • Authorized ID demonstrating the elector’s identity and address within Alberta, and
    • The $500 application fee, paid by cash, a certified cheque and/or a bank or postal money order made payable to “Government of Alberta”.
  • The application form, Appointment of Chief Financial Officer and copies of your identification can be submitted electronically. Electronic signatures on all forms must include a date and time stamp. Payment of the application fee may be completed in person at the Elections Alberta office or by mail. All components of the application must be received prior to it being considered for approval.

  • No. Only an elector can apply to have a petition issued.

  • Yes, the $500 application fee will be returned to the proponent following the filing of the required financial disclosure reports within the required timeline.

  • Yes. Each initiative petition is treated independently, however the proposal must not be the same as, or substantially similar to, the topic of an initiative petition currently in process or under review.

  • If the proponent dies, resigns or in the opinion of the Chief Electoral Officer becomes ineligible or incapacitated, the chief financial officer shall provide the required information for a replacement proponent. If the Chief Financial Officer takes over the role of proponent, they must complete the Appointment of Chief Financial Officer for the replacement CFO.

  • No. The Citizen Initiative Act does not allow proponents to have access to the List of Electors.

    Proponents are not required to validate petition signatories to the List of Electors.


  • The proponent may be helped by volunteers to gather signatures. The volunteers are called “canvassers”, and must register as canvassers with Elections Alberta. Elections Alberta issues identification documents to canvassers, who must carry the ID with them when canvassing. The proponent must approve of all canvasser applications. Signatures collected by unregistered canvassers will be disqualified during the petition verification process. Proponents may not pay anyone to collect signatures on an initiative petition.

  • The proponent must submit an Application to Canvass for an Initiative Petition to register each canvasser for the petition. The proponent will be notified by Elections Alberta once the approved canvassers have been registered.

  • Canvassers must be electors. Elector qualifications are:

    • Canadian citizen,
    • at least 18 years old, and
    • ordinarily resident in Alberta.
  • All canvassers must comply with the Canvasser’s Code of Conduct and any guidelines for canvassing issued by the Chief Electoral Officer.

  • Yes. The proponent must complete a canvasser application form to collect signatures.

  • Elections Alberta will issue identification documents to all registered canvassers who must carry it with them and produce it upon request.

  • No. Unlike candidates in elections who have legislated access for campaigning purposes, canvassers are not guaranteed access to rental properties. Access may be granted at the discretion of the landlord.

  • No. There are no provisions under the Citizen Initiative Act to require landlords, businesses or recreation centres to provide access to canvassers. Therefore, permission must be obtained from the property manager or business owner.

  • Yes, as long as you are a registered canvasser.

  • No. Paying an employee to canvass while performing their regular job would be considered an inducement. Compensation in the form of extra vacation or leave is also considered an inducement.

  • No. By law, canvassers must be volunteers. Canvassing while performing a regular job or duties would be considered as being paid for canvassing, or collecting an inducement for canvassing.

  • No. Petition sheets must not be left unattended by a canvasser. The canvasser must personally witness all voters signing their petition sheets.

  • Yes. A separate canvasser application must be completed for each initiative petition.

  • The canvasser should immediately submit all petition sheets to the proponent along with their Canvasser ID badge.

  • There is no provision in the Act for canvassers to check ID of electors/signers.

  • No. Canvassers are volunteers, providing them with lunch, coffee or any other benefit could be considered an inducement and is not permitted.

  • No, canvassers are the responsibility of the proponent. They do not work for Elections Alberta and should not represent themselves as such. Each canvasser must show a canvasser card prepared by Elections Alberta to electors wishing to sign the petition, if requested to do so.

Signing a Petition

  • To be eligible to sign a petition, an individual must be an elector. Elector qualifications are:

    • Canadian citizen,
    • at least 18 years old, and
    • ordinarily resident in Alberta.
  • Initiative petitions can only be signed after the petition has been issued by Elections Alberta. For information about where to sign, contact the proponent of the petition.

  • No. There are no official initiative petitions online. Initiative petitions must be signed by electors, in ink, on official paper petition sheets. Signatures collected in any other way are not accepted.

  • No. You may only sign a petition sheet belonging to another canvasser.

  • No. There are no official initiative petitions online. Initiative petitions must be signed by electors, in ink, on official paper petition sheets. Signatures collected in any other way are not accepted.

  • No. It is an offence under the Citizen Initiative Act to affix a false or forged signature on the petition.

  • An elector signing the petition must:

    • print legibly their surname and given names;
    • supply the physical address where they ordinarily reside at the time of signing;
    • provide their telephone number and/or email address;
    • confirm that they are an elector; and
    • date it on the date which they signed the petition.

    Postal addresses, such as PO box numbers, are not acceptable. Signatures not accompanied by a physical address will not be counted.

  • Signatories must provide either a telephone number or email address on the petition. You may be contacted by Elections Alberta to confirm that you signed the petition or by the proponent to confirm that your information is correct.

  • The Citizen Initiative Act requires that petition sheets be made available for public inspection for one year from the time it is filed or submitted. Electors’ residential address and contact information (phone or email) will be obscured from public inspection.

    Individuals who request to view copies of initiative petition sheets are required to sign a declaration stating that the information viewed will not be used except as permitted under the Citizen Initiative Act.

  • To correct mistakes, neatly put a line through the mistake and make the necessary correction. If the name or address becomes unreadable after the correction, put a line through the petition row and start again on a new row.

  • The proponent may remove any signature from the petition upon the request of the elector. However, the proponent is not compelled to do so. Elections Alberta has no direct control over the signatures on a petition during the canvassing period, and once the petition has been submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Alberta cannot remove a name from the petition.


  • The proponent can submit the petition to the Chief Electoral Officer by mail, courier or in person, but must meet the following rules:

    • Submit all petition sheets at one time. No late submissions or partial submissions will be accepted.
    • Submit only the original signed petition sheets. Photocopies and faxes of signed petition sheets will not be counted.
    • Submit all of the original signed petition sheets, regardless of whether sufficient signatures have been collected.
    • All petition sheets must be received at Elections Alberta by 4:30pm on the 90th day of the initiative petition signing period.
  • The verification period begins as soon as a petition is submitted. If a proponent submits a petition before the end of the 90-day canvassing period, they cannot continue to collect and submit signatures.

  • Elections Alberta will verify the petition within 60 days of the date the petition was submitted.

    The verification process includes:

    • Confirmation that only the petition signature sheets, as provided to the applicant, were used in the collection of signatures;
    • Confirmation that only original signatures have been collected;
    • A review of each signature to ensure that the required information was provided (name, physical address, contact information, date, signature);
    • Confirmation that each page of the petition was witnessed by a registered canvasser, and that the witness signed the required affidavit;
    • A random sampling to confirm that the addresses are within the electoral division; and
    • Contacting a random sampling of electors to confirm that they signed the petition.

    Incomplete or invalid signatures are screened out and are not included in the final count. If it becomes clear during any part of the verification the count will not meet the required signature threshold, no further verification is done.

  • Electors may only sign a citizen initiative petition once. Depending on the circumstances, Elections Alberta may investigate instances of multiple signing. Only an individual’s first signature on a petition will count.

  • There is no provision in the Citizen Initiative Act for observers or scrutineers.