Public petitions, addressed to the House of Commons and presented to the House by its Members, constitute one of the most direct means of communication between the people and Parliament. Petitions may be described as a vehicle for political input, a way of attempting to influence policy-making and legislation and also, a valued means of bringing public concerns to the attention of Parliament.
Petitioning the Crown (and later Parliament) for redress of a grievance originated in the time of the thirteenth-century monarch Edward I. In Canada, provisions for petitions have always been part of the written rules of the House. The rules adopted in 1867 were somewhat expanded in 1910, and operated without substantial modification until 1986 when new guidelines clarified the rules relating to petitions and their presentation.
Certified petitions may be presented in two ways: orally during Routine Proceedings, or by filing them with the Clerk of the House during any sitting of the House. In practice, the majority of petitions are presented during Routine Proceedings.