Canada: Guide To Doing Business In Canada: Lobbying

Last Updated: November 21 2016
Article by Pierre Pilote

LOBBYING

Communications between individuals representing a corporation or its employees and government officials may be subject to strict reporting requirements. Specific rules apply to the lobbying of officials in the Canadian federal government in some provinces and municipalities. Each of these governmental bodies has its own rules, and it is wise to gain an understanding of them before undertaking communications with government officials.

At the federal level, the Lobbying Act provides that certain types of communications between individuals and "public office holders" must be reported. Under the Act, individuals who work with or deal with governmental officials or employees may have an obligation to disclose information relating to these discussions. Corporate employees may also be subject to the Lobbying Act, depending on the nature of their work and the time invested in interacting with Government of Canada employees, such as politicians, officials and representatives of Canada.

1. Registrable communications

Not all types of communications with public office hold­ers constitute lobbying activities. However, if they fall into one of the following categories, it is likely that the communications should be registered:

  • The development of any legislative proposal by the Government of Canada, or by a member of the Senate or the House of Commons
  • The introduction, passage, amendment or defeat of a bill or resolution in the federal Parliament or in a pro­vincial parliament
  • The making or amendment of any regulation as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act
  • The development or amendment of any policy or pro­gram of the Government of Canada
  • The awarding of any grant, contribution or other finan­cial benefit by or on behalf of the Government of Canada
  • The awarding of any contract by or on behalf of the Government of Canada
  • The arrangement of a meeting between a public office holder and any other person to discuss the subjects above

As well, in some provincial jurisdictions, any com­munications made in the normal course of selling an individual's or a corporation's products or services, or in entering into a contract with a provincial government, are also registrable as lobbying activities.

2. Lobbying

a. Public office holder

Pursuant to the Lobbying Act, the term "public office holder" refers to any officer or employee of the Government of Canada, including:

  • A member of the Senate or the House of Commons and any person on their staff
  • An appointee to any office or body by or with the approval of the governor in council, or a minister of the Crown other than a judge receiving a salary under the Judges Act or the lieutenant-governor of a province
  • An officer, director or employee of any federal board, commission or other tribunal as defined in the Federal Courts Act
  • A member of the Canadian Armed Forces
  • A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

If an individual representing an interest group or the employee of a corporation enters into discussions with a public office holder, they may be considered to be involved in lobbying activities.

b. Designated public office holder

The Lobbying Act includes a specific category of individ­uals called "designated public office holders" (DPOHs), who are defined as officials responsible for high-level decision-making in government. The DPOH category includes the following positions:

  • A minister of the Crown or a minister of state and any person employed in his or her office
  • The leader of the Opposition or the senior staff in the offices of the leader of the Opposition, both in the House of Commons and the Senate
  • A member of Parliament and any person on their staff
  • A senator and any person on their staff
  • Any public office holder who occupies the senior executive position in a department — whether by the title of deputy minister, chief executive officer or by some other similar title
  • An associate deputy minister or an assistant deputy minister, or a person who occupies a position of comparable rank
  • The chief of the defence staff, the vice-chief of the defence staff, the chief of maritime staff, the chief of land staff, the chief of air staff, the chief of military personnel or a judge advocate general
  • Any position of senior adviser to the Privy Council to which the office holder is appointed by the governor in council
  • The comptroller general of Canada

Lobbyists are obligated to provide information to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying about their communications with DPOHs. The Lobbying Act requires lobbyists to produce a monthly report detailing when they lobby a DPOH, need to change their initial registration, or when they terminate or complete their lobbying undertaking. If a lobbyist initiates oral and arranged communication with a DPOH — e.g., a meeting or telephone conference — that amounts to lobbying as defined under the Act, they will need to include it in the report.

The monthly report must provide:

  • The name of the DPOH
  • Position or title of the DPOH
  • The name of the branch or unit, and the name of the department or other governmental organi­zation in which the DPOH is employed
  • The date of the communication
  • The subject matter of the communication

c. Employees or in-house lobbyists

At the corporate level, registration is required when one or more employees communicate with public office holders on behalf of their employer, and those communica­tions constitute a significant part of one employee's duties (or would constitute a significant part of one employee's duties if they were performed by a sin­gle person). This evaluation must be conducted on a monthly basis.

A rule of 20 per cent applies when evaluating whether a significant part of an employ­ee's duties is invested in communications with public office holders. If 20 per cent or more of an employee's time each month — or of a number of employees' total time each month — is allocated to communications with public office holders, the activi­ties are likely registrable.

Evaluating whether 20 per cent or more of an employ­ee's duties are in relation to communications with pub­lic office holders involves tracking time spent in preparation — i.e., in research, drafting, planning, compil­ing, travelling, etc. — and time spent actually commu­nicating with public office holders. For instance, a one-hour meeting may require seven hours of prepara­tion and two hours of travel time. In this case, the time related to lobbying a public office holder would be a total of 10 hours.

Under the Lobbying Act, the legislative reporting obliga­tion (relating to both public office holders and DPOHs) rests with the company employee who occupies the most senior position in the business and who is paid for the performance of these duties — usually the president, CEO or executive director. If a report is not filed, or if it is filed incorrectly, incompletely or late, then liability rests with the CEO, who is then subject to possible investigation or prosecution.

Although a CEO charged with a strict liability offence under the Act could argue that they took all reasonable care and exercised due diligence in order to comply with the Lobbying Act, the onus would lie on them to prove that such care was taken. Of even greater concern than the stiff financial penalties that may be levied under the Lobbying Act is the damage to reputa­tion that would result from having the business' name tainted in the media and by opposition party politicians.

d. Infractions and enforcement

The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying has signifi­cant investigatory powers and a mandate to enforce compliance. As an independent agent of Parliament, the commissioner can ask DPOHs to verify the accu­racy and completeness of contact report information submitted by lobbyists and, if necessary, report to Par­liament the names of those who do not respond.

The commissioner also has the power to prohibit lobby­ists convicted of an offence from communicating with the government as paid lobbyists for up to two years, and can publish the names of violators in parliamentary reports. As well, the Lobbying Act provides for criminal monetary fines of $50,000 on summary convictions for lobbyists who do not comply with the requirements of the Act, and $200,000 on proceedings by way of indictment — not to mention the possibility of up to six months of imprisonment for the former and up to two years of imprisonment for the latter.

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 Mondaq.com.

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

Authors
Events from this Firm
14 Sep 2017, Seminar, Birmingham, UK

Has Cloud replaced traditional outsourcing models? We will compare cloud to outsourcing, consider whether they have effectively become the same thing for many solutions and assess some of the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

18 Sep 2017, Seminar, London, UK

Our annual event as part of the London Design Festival is now in its fifth year. We would be delighted if you are able to join us again.

21 Sep 2017, Seminar, London, UK

Has Cloud replaced traditional outsourcing models? We will compare cloud to outsourcing, consider whether they have effectively become the same thing for many solutions and assess some of the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

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 Mondaq.com’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.

Disclaimer

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.

Registration

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 unsubscribe@mondaq.com 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.

Cookies

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.

Links

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.

Mail-A-Friend

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.

Security

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 webmaster@mondaq.com.

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 EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

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 enquiries@mondaq.com.

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