Businesses, not-for-profit organizations, charities, and clients
of consultant lobbyists should take note of the 2012-13 Annual
Report released by the federal Commissioner of Lobbying, Karen
Shepherd, on June 12.1 The report demonstrates
significantly stronger compliance activity and monitoring by the
Office of the Commissioner, with an increased focus on corporations
While the Office continues to educate stakeholders and to build
awareness of lobbyist registration obligations, the report
documents a notable increase in compliance assessments,
administrative reviews, and investigations. The Commissioner and
her Office completed a 100th administrative review this
year, and she tabled two investigation reports in Parliament as
Verifying Compliance by Corporations and Organizations
The 2012-13 Annual Report reveals a growing focus on corporate
compliance. This year, 113 corporations and organizations were sent
advisory letters and subjected to compliance verification after the
Office's monitoring activities revealed that they may be
lobbying federal public office holders. The number is up from last
year, when 73 advisory letters were sent to individuals,
corporations and organizations. This year, letters were sent only
to corporations and organizations, suggesting that the Commissioner
and her Office have shifted the focus of monitoring activities to
corporations and organizations.
Compliance assessments are also routinely conducted to review
the registrations and monthly communication reports submitted by
registrants previously under review for non-compliance. The number
of compliance assessments has nearly doubled, increasing from 43 to
Administrative Reviews of Potential Breaches of the
Lobbying Act or the Lobbyists' Code of
When it becomes aware of a potential breach of the Lobbying
Act or the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, the
Commissioner's Office will, prior to commencing an
investigation, conduct an administrative review. The review results
in an Administrative Review Report, which is used to determine
whether an investigation is warranted. Decisions that the
Commissioner bases on these reports are subject to judicial review
in the Federal Court.2 The annual number of
administrative reviews has increased by 22 per cent.
There are four possible conclusions or outcomes from
The allegation was unfounded.
The allegation was well-founded, but the lobbyist will be made
subject to alternative compliance measures such as education.
A formal investigation is initiated when the breach is serious
and appears to be well-founded.
The matter is referred to the RCMP if there are reasonable
grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under the
Lobbying Act, or any federal or provincial statute.
Investigations by the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner and
Over the past year, the Office was involved in eight
investigations and it initiated three more investigations during
the course of the year. The Lobbying Commissioner also suspended
three investigations in order to refer matters to the RCMP.
In January 2013, the RCMP laid the first ever charge under the
Lobbying Act, alleging that a consultant lobbyist, Andrew
Skaling, had failed to register after undertaking to communicate
with public office holders, for payment, on behalf of the Canadian
Network of Respiratory Care. (See full details of the
historic first charge under Lobbying Act.)
Increased Compliance Efforts and Investigations Should Serve as
The annual report reveals that the Office of the Lobbying
Commissioner is stepping up its monitoring and compliance-related
oversight of corporate and organizational in-house lobbying. This
should serve as a warning to busineses, not-for-profit
corporations, charities, and other organizations: they must
establish better internal compliance mechanisms to deal with the
complex web of lobbying transparency and ethics laws across
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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