As we reach the halfway mark of the campaign, most parties have now released their full platforms. We can now better understand their promised approaches to a key issue in elections and everyday governance: lobbying regulation.
Current federal law requires that lobbying activity be inscribed on a public registry, subject to a complicated array of thresholds and exceptions. For "in-house lobbying" done for the benefit of one's employer, registration is only required once the "significant part of duties" threshold is surpassed. Once registered, the names of government officials lobbied each month must also be reported, but only if the official is sufficiently senior, and subject again to a complicated set of exceptions.
- Registration: The current registration threshold for in-house lobbyists has been criticized by the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. The Commissioner has proposed that federal law be changed to require in-house lobbyists to be registered by default, subject to limited exceptions that would make the federal jurisdiction one of the strictest in Canada for in-house lobbyists.
The Conservative platform proposes "requiring all corporations and other organizations that lobby to register", which suggests abolishing the threshold altogether. It's unclear whether this plan would provide for a limited set of exceptions as the Commissioner has proposed.
- Reporting: The Commissioner has also proposed simplifying and expanding the monthly reporting requirements. For instance, under her proposal, if a senior official is lobbied, all other officials present must also be named in the monthly report.
The Conservative platform also proposes requiring all
corporations and other organization that lobby to report their
The Conservative and New Democrat platforms also call for a ban on lobbying by an entity (and, in the NDP platform, an individual) that has been charged with a criminal offence.
No other specific changes are proposed to federal lobbying law in the major party platforms. However, the federal Lobbying Act is overdue for review by Parliament, so the 44th Parliament may nonetheless review and consider amendments to the act.
Readers may also wish to review the major parties' full platforms, which are linked below:
- Bloc Québécois (available in French only)
- Conservative Party of Canada[Also available in French]
- Green Party of Canada [Also available in French ], which is being released in parts
- Liberal Party of Canada [Also available in French]
- New Democratic Party [Also available in French]
We are continuing to monitor this issue closely. If you have questions about lobbying law in Canada, please contact the author or your regular Fasken lawyer. If you have any questions regarding #Election44, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.