Effective today, new legislation enables electors in Alberta to conduct citizen initiative and recall petitions

April 07, 2022

EDMONTON – Elections Alberta is implementing the application and petition processes for the Recall Act and Citizen Initiative Act.

Recall Act:

  • Recall is a process to remove a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from office between elections, by collecting signatures in the Member’s electoral division.
  • To make an application for a recall petition, an individual must be an elector who has lived in the electoral division for at least three months prior to the date of the application. An elector must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older and a resident of Alberta.
  • Applications can be accepted as of today until November 29, 2022 (6-months prior to the fixed Election Day of May 29, 2023).
  • To begin the recall process, an application form must be completed and submitted to Elections Alberta. The applicant must provide: the name of the Member of the Legislative Assembly; name of the electoral division; and a statement in 200 words or less indicating the reason for recall. In addition, the applicant must appoint a Chief Financial Officer and provide a $500 application fee.
  • If approved, the applicant has 60-days to collect signatures from 40% of electors in the electoral division, based on the post-election day list of electors. The number of signatures required for each electoral division can be found at: https://www.elections.ab.ca/recall-initiative/recall/number-of-signatures-required-for-recall/.
  • If the petition is successful, a recall vote would occur, in which electors vote on whether they are in support of the Members recall. If the majority of voters in a recall vote wish to recall the MLA, the MLA ceases to hold office and a by-election is called.

Citizen Initiative Act:

  • Electors can use the citizen initiative process to have a legislative or policy proposal introduced in the legislative assembly or to have a constitutional referendum conducted.
  • To make an application for a citizen initiative petition, an individual must be an elector – that is a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older and a resident of Alberta.
  • To begin the citizen initiative petition, an applicant must complete an application form which includes a clear and unambiguous statement on the subject matter of the petition and provide a $500 application fee.
    • The statement provided for a legislative or policy proposal must not contravene sections 1 to 35.1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and must not exceed the jurisdiction of the legislature.
    • The statement for a constitutional referendum proposal must not contravene sections 1 to 35.1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and must set out a question relating to the Constitution of Canada or relating to or arising out of a possible change to the Constitution of Canada, that is factually accurate, and requires a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • If approved, the applicant would have 90-days to collect signatures for their initiative. Successful petitions for legislative or policy proposals require signatures from 10% of electors, while petitions for constitutional referendum proposals require signatures from 20% of electors, with the 20% threshold met in at least two-thirds of Alberta’s electoral divisions. The number of signatures required for each petition type can be found at: https://www.elections.ab.ca/recall-initiative/initiative/number-of-signatures-required-for-initiative.
  • If a petition for a legislative or policy proposal is successful, the petition will be referred to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to introduce in the Legislature. If a petition for a constitutional referendum proposal is successful, the petition will be referred to the Justice and Solicitor General, to refer to the Lieutenant Governor in Council for the purpose of ordering a constitutional referendum.

Application forms, as well as more information about processes and requirements for recall and initiative petitions are available on the Elections Alberta website at https://www.elections.ab.ca/recall-initiative/.

Elections Alberta is an independent, non-partisan office of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections, recalls, citizen initiatives and referenda.

For more information, contact:

Pamela Renwick
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer
Suite 100, 11510 Kingsway Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5G 2Y5
780-427-7191
Pamela.Renwick@elections.ab.ca

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