The Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act, 2009 will
come into effect on April 1, 2010, enacting several significant
changes to the system of lobbyist registration in British Columbia.
The key changes include:
increased reporting requirements;
changes to the definition of an in-house lobbyist;
new conflict-of-interest provisions; and
expansion of the registrar's powers to investigate and
We suggest that you familiarize yourself with these amendments
to ensure that you and your organization are prepared and in
compliance with these legislated changes. Many of the changes bring
the British Columbia registration system closer to the federal
government registration regime. Highlights of some of the most
notable changes to the statutory regime include:
The definition of lobbying has been widened to include any
lobbying about the privatization of government interests or assets,
and contracting out of the provision of goods or services to
Lobbyists will now be required to report any subcontracted
lobbyists and to disclose whether a lobbyist is a former public
The Act will continue to define two types of lobbyists (in-house
and consultant), with parallel reporting requirements for both.
Changes to the definition of "in-house lobbyist" will
require many more organizations, and many more people within those
organizations, to register their lobbying activities.
Under the new definition, an "in-house lobbyist" will
be an employee whose lobbying or duty to lobby "either alone
or together with other individuals in the organization ... amounts
to at least 100 hours annually." The registrar has indicated
that an Interpretation Bulletin will be published, but it
appears that this new collective accounting of time requires that
if an organization dedicates 100 or more person-hours to lobbying
each year, then every employee who does any lobbying whatsoever
must register. This requirement is much more onerous than the
former definition of "in-house lobbyist," i.e.,
an employee whose lobbying on behalf of the employer comprised a
"significant part" of his/her duties (specifically, 20
per cent or more of his/her time).
An important change is that the most senior paid officer (or
most senior in-house lobbyist, if there are no paid officers) of
both commercial and not-for-profit entities must register all
in-house lobbyists. It remains to be seen if this task can be
completed by others on behalf of the senior officer using a power
Conflicts of Interest
The new provisions also create a prohibition on conflicts of
interest: if two people are associated, one person cannot lobby on
a matter while the other has a contract for paid advice to the
government on the same matter. These associated persons must make a
choice between the two roles.
The most common conflict scenario would involve employees of
large entities — if a company has a contract for paid
advice to the government, no employee of that company would be able
to lobby in relation to the same matter. Large, complex
organizations could face significant concerns under this new
The amendments also provide that the registrar may exempt a
person from the conflict provisions, with or without terms and
conditions, if the registrar is satisfied that it is in the public
interest to do so. It is presently uncertain as to how broadly such
exemptions may be available.
Investigative and Punitive Powers
The amendments provide the Registrar with the specific powers to
conduct administrative investigations into compliance with the Act,
including compelling production of documents and the attendance of
individuals to testify. It will be an offence to obstruct the
Registry. The registrar may now levy administrative sanctions,
including the power to impose sanctions of up to $25,000.
A new, free online lobbyist registration system will be launched
April 1, 2010, when the amendments are brought into force. All new
lobbyists will be required to register and all current lobbyists
will be required to re-register under the new system. A new
user-friendly website is promised, replacing the current primitive
and confusing Web-based system.
Those registering for the first time (or re-registering) need to
obtain a business BC electronic ID. This service is free and is
available at www.bceid.ca/register. We recommend that you apply for
your BC electronic ID well in advance of the due dates for lobbyist
Consultant lobbyists must re-register by April 10, 2010.
Senior officers for non-profit and for-profit organizations
must re-register all in-house lobbyists by May 1, 2010.
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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