Canada: Federal Lobbyists Registration Act Amendments to Come into Force

The amendments will broaden the scope of lobbying activities requiring registration and significantly change the registration requirements in respect of in-house lobbyists employed by corporations.

Amendments to the federal Lobbyists Registration Act (LRA) that received Royal Assent on June 11, 2003 will be proclaimed into force as early as April or May, 2005. Draft regulations to the LRA were published for comment on December 18, 2004. When the regulations are finalized, the relevant amendments to the LRA will be proclaimed in force. The period for public comments ends February 16, 2005. This Osler Update will address the principal effects of the amendments upon corporations.

Key Changes

The key changes introduced by the amendments include:

1. The scope of lobbying activities giving rise to a registration requirement will be broadened.

  • Before the amendments, only communications "in an attempt to influence" a federal public office holder gave rise to a registration requirement. In future, a registration requirement can arise merely from communicating with a federal public office holder, whether one seeks to influence the public office holder or not.
  • Formerly, any communication with a public office holder "in direct response to a written request from the public office holder for advice or comment in respect of a matter" was exempt from registration. It was felt that this exemption was open to abuse, and it will be eliminated. Instead, communications made to a public office holder that are restricted to a request for information will be exempt.

2. The registration requirements applicable to corporations’ in-house lobbyists will be amended significantly:

  • Under the amended LRA, a corporation will be required to register when it employs one or more individuals any part of whose duties includes lobbying, and (i) those duties constitute a significant part of the duties of one individual, or (ii) would constitute a significant part of the duties of one employee if they were performed by only one employee. The office of the Lobbyists Registrar takes the position that a corporation will be required to register when (i) the total time spent lobbying by all paid employees of the corporation adds up to 20% or more of a hypothetical single employee’s time over the previous six months,1 or (ii) if a senior officer contacts a public office holder on a matter that constitutes a lobbying activity, whether or not the total time spent lobbying by all paid employees adds up to 20% or more of a hypothetical single employee’s time. Thus, in the view of the office of the Lobbyists Registrar, a single contact by such a senior officer will trigger the requirement to register. The office of the Lobbyists Registrar has stated that this is an area on which it would appreciate input from those potentially affected.
  • Responsibility for complying with the registration requirement will no longer rest with the senior officer or employee doing the lobbying. Rather, the most senior officer of the corporation who is compensated for his or her duties (generally, the chief executive officer) will be required to register on the corporation’s behalf.
  • The registration will need to provide the names of all senior officers and their direct reports within the corporation any part of whose duties include lobbying, as well as the names of any other employees who lobby as a significant part of their duties. In addition, the registration will need to include a description of any former public offices held by the individuals named on the registration.
  • The registration will need to be filed within two months of the date that the requirement to file it first arises and, if lobbying is ongoing, a renewal registration that satisfies the same disclosure requirements will need to be filed every six months to ensure that the register is correct and up-to-date.
  • If the registrar requests clarification of information provided in a registration, the most senior officer of the corporation who is compensated for his or her duties must provide the registrar with the requested information within 30 days of the request.

3. The definition of "organization" in the amended LRA will now include a trust. Since the registration requirements applicable to corporations will conform with the registration requirements applicable to organizations, trusts will be subject to the same registration requirements as corporations.

Consultant lobbyists who engage in lobbying activity on behalf of a corporation or organization (including a trust) will remain responsible for their own registrations.

What Corporate Officers and Directors Need to Know

Corporate directors should be aware that the office of the Lobbyists Registrar has taken the position that outside directors (i.e, directors that are not employed by the corporation) that are remunerated by the corporation that engage in lobbying activities are subject to the registration requirements applicable to consultant lobbyists. Conversely, where the Chair or an inside director that is employed by the corporation engages in lobbying activities, the Chair or inside director will be considered to be an in-house lobbyist employed by a corporation for purposes of applying the registration requirement.

In our experience, responsibility for government relations most often rests with the vice-president of public affairs, government relations or communications. Nonetheless, it will generally be the chief executive officer, as the most senior compensated employee, who will now be required to make the certification that the information in the registration "is true to the best of my knowledge and belief." In-house counsel, as well as senior officers and other employees who spend a significant part of their time lobbying, will want to alert your chief executive officer that he or she will now have to certify the information provided in the lobbyist registration.


1. In the view of the office of the Lobbyists Registrar, the number of hours or days that would constitute 20% of a hypothetical employee’s time is a question of fact. Application of the 20% threshold is left to the corporation itself to calculate on the basis of the amount of time that would reasonably occupy 20% of the time of a hypothetical single employee of that corporation.

Michael Gough is a partner in Osler's Toronto office, where he specializes in government relations, public law and regulatory affairs. Robert Gates is an associate in the firm's national Tax Department in Toronto. Norman Loveland is the Chair of the firm's Tax Department and managing partner of our Montreal office.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.