On May 24, 2012, the Ontario Integrity Commissioner called for a
review of the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 (Ontario).
The Integrity Commissioner concurrently serves as the Lobbyist
Registrar of Ontario, and is responsible for the administration of
the Act. The Commissioner first issued a call for a review one year
ago in her annual report.
Provide the Lobbyists Registrar with the power to investigate
complaints and issue penalties, including administrative monetary
penalties, public reporting of contraventions, and restrictions
against lobbying. At present, when the Office receives a complaint,
it follows an informal process to resolve the issue. The
Commissioner believes the ability to receive and review complaints,
along with the penalty provisions, would serve to encourage
Eliminate the "significant part of duties" threshold.
The Act requires that in-house lobbyists must register only if they
spend 20% or more of their time on lobbying activities. The
Commissioner recommends that all paid lobbyists should be required
to register, regardless of the time spent lobbying.
Combine the two types of in-house lobbyists (persons &
partnerships, and organizations). The Commissioner believes the
current system is unnecessarily confusing. For example, in-house
lobbyists in the first category must register individually;
in-house lobbyists in the second are listed on a single form under
the name of the organization's senior officer. A simplified
process would increase transparency.
Require the same type of information from all lobbyists, and
permit the Registrar to introduce new categories of information if
it aligns with the spirit of the Act. This would establish a common
format, and allow the Registrar to ask for more information when
she considers it helpful.
Introduce a restriction to prevent persons who lobby from being
paid to provide advice to government on the same subject
Require former public officers who lobby to register on the
Registry regardless of time spent lobbying and align the
postemployment rules for ministers' staff with the Act.
Clarify that "grass-roots communications" (a type of
indirect communication) is lobbying.
Clarify that in-house lobbyists include directors.
Observers should be aware that there is no requirement to change
the Act. The Commissioner is simply suggesting changes with the
stated goal that "Ontario must strive to achieve the highest
level of transparency possible about lobbying activities."1
Any amendments to the existing legislation would necessitate a
legislative review, complete with committee study, witnesses, and
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