I have the thankless task of showing you the mock-ups. I hope you will be more interested in what is before you than in what I will be telling you.
Before I start, I have a few disclaimers.
First of all, the mock-ups we will be presenting to you today are static. The website is not operational. Although it may be tempting to do so, we unfortunately cannot click on the links on the screen. We are simply trying to give you an idea of what the future website will look like.
Second of all, you should keep in mind that the website's design and features may change before the launch. What you are seeing here today and what you will see after the election could be slightly different.
The first two mock-ups show the website's homepage.
The home page will be accessible on the Parliament of Canada website through a link on the second page, just after the first page where you select French or English. The website and the system are simple and easy to understand and to navigate. The home page will also contain four distinct and clear sections. We adopted a look and feel similar to those of upcoming new websites.
The system will automatically detect logins associated with an MP's account, and a “Sponsor” button will appear at the top of the page. We will use the same accounts as those authorized for submitting e-notices. A process to manage access or permissions similar in nature to the ones used to manage e-notices will be put in place.
A sign-in button will be available for those who already have an account to submit petitions. There's also a quick search box to easily find open or archived petitions. It will be possible to link to social media platforms on each page of the website, including on each specific petition web page.
A section of the website will be devoted to all the information about the petition process—guides, user manuals and step-by-step documents. Throughout the website, petitioners will have access to information to help them navigate.
The next image is somewhat different and gives a glimpse of the website's homepage on a mobile device. This will not be a separate application to be downloaded, but rather a light or adapted version of a desktop computer's interface. So the content will be adapted to small screens. The content and the design will also be in line with the current best practices for mobile devices and will be compatible with the vast majority of mobile devices on the market.
The next mock-up is an example of a form for submitting a petition.
We'll go through it from the top to the bottom. An e-petition practical guide will be available to consult or download. There will be plenty of information icons identified by the letter “i” next to the key steps. This page will contain drop-down menus throughout the form to help petitioners frame their petition in a proper way.
As per the committee report, petitioners will be prompted to identify five supporters, with the possibility of identifying up to 10 names to make sure the petition receives five positive answers. If need be, additional supporters above five will receive a notification informing them that the petition has already reached enough supporters. The five supporters and the petitioner will automatically be added to the list of signatories once the petition is published. It means that a published e-petition will automatically start with a total of six signatures.
E-petitioners will be allowed to have one e-petition open for signature and one draft e-petition in the system at any given time. Upon request from an e-petitioner to the clerk of petitions, petitions will be allowed to be withdrawn up to the time of their publication on the website. Petitions already published on the website can be closed and moved to the archived section, but only to be replaced with a second and different petition, as per the committee report.
In order to make sure that no robots sign the petition, security features will be included in the form. It will also be possible to preview and save a draft before submitting the petition.
The next mock-up is the default view of all petitions open for signature. If you click on the option “Sign or view an e-petition” on the homepage, you will be redirected to this page. You could switch between the two main tabs. The first one contains petitions open for signature, in the 120-day period to gather signatures. The second one contains all e-petitions and all the information about the various stages of their progress—for instance, whether they are certified, whether they have been presented in the House, or whether the government has responded to them. That tab even contains older petitions that have been archived.
By default, the petitions will be classified by topic, but they could be sorted in a number of other ways—for instance, by the number of signatures or by their closing date.
We have also included a user-friendly search engine that will help visitors further personalize their searches, such as by the name of an MP sponsoring a petition, by keyword or by full text search.
It will be possible to export data in CSV files—in other words, the types of files used by Excel—and in XML format.
When you click on one of the results, you will be redirected to a detailed page for each petition. We have tried to simplify as much as possible the user options for each petition's detailed page.
Petitioners can also subscribe to an RSS feed on each e-petition web page.
After they sign a petition, signatories will receive an email with a hyperlink they have to click on to confirm their identity.
Once they complete the mandatory fields and click on “submit”, signatories will automatically receive an email to confirm their signature.
The email will contain the date and time by which they have to confirm their signature, a link they will have to click on, as well as the clerk of petitions' contact information.
We have designed a specific interface for members acting as sponsors. After a new request to sponsor a petition is sent by a petitioner, the chosen member receives an email with a link to his or her e-petition web page. He or she may also access this part of the website through the home page.
Members will find three distinct tabs on this page: first, the pending requests, organized from the most urgent to the least one; then the petitions a member has already sponsored; and finally, the declined requests. User guides specifically intended for members of Parliament will also be available.
Once you have clicked on one of the petitions, a new page opens. The prayer of the e-petition is reproduced, as well as the petitioner's contact information, as per the committee's request. Members have the option to provide comments when accepting or declining the requests or simply to contact petitioners directly, using the contact information provided. There will be a 30-day deadline to respond to requests, after which the e-petitioner will be given the opportunity to select another member. The system will automatically send two reminders to the member: a first reminder after 10 days and a final notice three days before the deadline.
All e-petitions published at some point on the website will leave a trace in the archive section, with the relevant notes, response, and final status information.
When analyzing the report, we realized that as things currently stand there will be a discrepancy in the manner in which paper and electronic petitions will be handled at dissolution. Currently, once a paper petition has been certified, it can always be presented in a subsequent Parliament. We consider that a certificate issued for a paper petition remains valid after the election. We therefore suggest to the committee to allow petitions that have reached 500 signatures before an election is called, even if the 120 days are not over, to be certified and presented in a subsequent Parliament, as is currently allowed for paper petitions.
Finally, at dissolution only the options to create, submit, and sign e-petitions will be deactivated. The archived e-petitions, government responses, and other information of a general nature will remain posted for consultation by the public.
That concludes the presentation.
We will be happy to answer your questions.