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Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. Commissariat au lobbying du Canada. The Lobbying Act and In-House Lobbyists (Organizations) Revised: June 2009. Why Do Lobbying Laws Exist ?.

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Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada

Commissariat au lobbying du Canada

The Lobbying ActandIn-House Lobbyists (Organizations)Revised: June 2009

why do lobbying laws exist
Why Do Lobbying Laws Exist ?
  • To address the concern that some have more access than others to government decision-makers, and consequently, more ability to influence decisions.
  • To contribute to confidence in the integrity of government decision-making.
federal legislation in canada
Federal Legislation in Canada
  • From 1965 to 1985, several initiatives relating to public service ethics were introduced in Parliament through Private Members’ Bills.
  • In 1985, these initiatives resulted in Bill C-82, the first Lobbyists Registration Act (LRA) which came into force in 1989.
  • In 1996 an updated LRA came into force, including a Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct (Code).
  • Previous amendments to enhance transparency came into force June 20, 2005.
  • The Federal Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent in December 2006, includes major amendments to the LRA.
  • On July 2, 2008, the Lobbying Act (LA) came into force.
the la preamble
The LA Preamble
  • Free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest.
  • Lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity.
  • It is desirable that public office holders and the public be able to know who is engaged in lobbying activities.
  • The system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government.
what is lobbying
What is Lobbying ?

Lobbying is communicating with a public office holder, for payment in respect of:

  • The development of any legislative proposal,
  • Introduction, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution,
  • Making or amendment of any regulation,
  • Development or amendment of any policy or program,
  • Awarding of any grant, contribution or other financial benefit.
  • In addition, for consultant lobbyists only:
    • Awarding of any contract,
    • Arranging a meeting between a public office holder and any other person.
public office holders poh
Public Office Holders (POH)

Means any officer or employee of Her Majesty in right of Canada and includes:

  • A member of the Senate or the House of Commons and any person on the staff of such a member,
  • A person who is appointed to any office or body 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, and
  • A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
in house lobbyist organizations
In-House Lobbyist (Organizations)


  • A person who is employed by a non-profit entity such as a university, a charity or an association. The entity is registered by its most senior officer as a organization that lobbies, if lobbying constitutes a significant part of the duties of one employee or would constitute a significant part of the duties of one employee if they were performed by only one employee.

Registration Timeframes

  • Registration must be filed by the senior officer responsible not later than two months after the day on which the requirement to file a return first arises.
the other types of lobbyist
The Other Types of Lobbyist

Consultant Lobbyist

  • A person who is hired to communicate on behalf of a client. This individual may be a professional lobbyist but could also be any individual who, in the course of his or her work for a client, communicates with or arranges meetings with a public office holder.

In-House Lobbyist (Corporations)

  • A person who works for compensation in an entity that operates for profit.
registration information
Registration Information

Details about certain individuals who communicate with public office holders, such as:

  • Name and addresses of the employees, employer, organization, corporation or subsidiaries,
  • A summary of the employer’s activities,
  • A description of the organization’s membership,
  • Any government funding received,
  • Name of each employee any part of whose duties is described in paragraph 7.(1)(a),
  • Subject matters of the communications and targeted departments,
  • Indications if employees were previous POH or designated POH with details of their duties,
  • Communication techniques.
what s new in the la for in house lobbyists organizations
What’s New in the LA for In-House Lobbyists (Organizations)
  • A Commissioner of Lobbying
  • Concept of Designated Public Office Holder (DPOH)
  • Mandatory On-line registration
  • Monthly Disclosure of lobbying activities
  • Post-employment prohibition on lobbying for DPOH and designated members of Prime Minister’s transition teams
  • Extension of the period during which possible summary conviction infractions or violations may be investigated and/or prosecuted
  • Doubling of the monetary penalties
commissioner of lobbying
Commissioner of Lobbying
  • Independent Agent of Parliament
  • Authority to enforce the LA and the Code
  • Enhanced investigative powers
  • The explicit duty to provide outreach and educational programs
  • Employees of the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists have become staff of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying
designated public office holders dpoh
Designated Public Office Holders (DPOH)

The LA defines DPOH as:

  • A minister of the Crown or a minister of state and any person employed in his or her office who is appointed under subsection 128(1) of the Public Service Employment Act,
  • Any other public office holder who, in a department within the meaning of paragraph (a), (a.1) or (d) of the definition “department” in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act:
    • occupies the senior executive position, whether by the title of deputy minister, chief executive officer or by some other title, or
    • is an associate deputy minister or an assistant deputy minister or occupies a position of comparable rank, and
    • Any individual who occupies a position that has been designated by regulation under the provisions of the Lobbying Act.
additional designated public office holders dpoh
Additional Designated Public Office Holders (DPOH)

Eleven additional positions or classes of positions as per the Designated Public Office Holder Regulations.

  • Chief of the Defence Staff
  • Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
  • Chief of Maritime Staff
  • Chief of Land Staff
  • Chief of Air Staff
  • Chief of Military Personnel
  • Judge Advocate General
  • Any positions of Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office to which the office holder is appointed by the Governor in Council
  • Deputy Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs) Privy Council Office
  • Comptroller General of Canada
  • Any position to which the office holder is appointed pursuant to paragraph 127.1(1)(a) or (b) of the Public Employment Act
criteria for designation of comparable rank
Criteria for Designation of “Comparable Rank”


For a position to be considered of comparable rank to an associate or assistant deputy minister (ADM), it must meet the following criteria:

1) The position is classified at the EX-04 level or higher;


2) The position’s salary is at the EX-04 or higher*;


3) The position reports directly to a DPOH.

*Please see Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Web site for the most current Executive pay levels.

acting appointments in dpoh positions
Acting Appointments in DPOH Positions

An individual in an acting appointment will be designated as a DPOH if both of the following conditions are met:

  • The acting position is a DPOH position as defined in the Lobbying Act, designated by regulation or a position of comparable rank; and
  • The duration of the acting appointment is longer than four months - over a twelve month period.

If both of these conditions are present, the incumbent will be designated a DPOH, effective the day after the 4-month threshold is reached. The incumbent will be designated a DPOH for the duration of their acting appointment.

on line registration
On-Line Registration
  • Mandatory electronic filing through the Lobbyist Registration System has been prescribed by regulation for:
    • Initial returns
    • Monthly reports
    • Remains free of charge
  • Paper filing authorized under special circumstances:
    • Due to a disability
    • No access to a computer that would allow electronic filing
changes to initial returns
Changes to Initial Returns
  • The initial return filed continues to disclose the information currently required,
  • In addition to indicating if the lobbyist is a former public office holder, the return will also disclose if the lobbyist is a former designated public office holder, the offices held and the date they ceased to hold such public office, and if the lobbyist is exempted from the 5-year prohibition on lobbying, the exemption number issued by the Commissioner of Lobbying,
  • The new Lobbyists Registration Regulations (LRR) will require that the registrant discloses the name and a description to provide details of the subject matter they have identified.
reporting of government funding
Reporting of Government Funding

The LRR new reporting requirements include:

  • Whether the entity in question receives funding from a domestic or foreign government or government agency,
  • The end-date of the entity’s last completed fiscal year,
  • The dollar amount of funding received in the entity’s last completed fiscal year,
  • The name of the entity that is providing the funding,
  • Whether funding is expected in the entity’s current financial year.
monthly disclosures
Monthly Disclosures

Required no later than 15 days after the end of every month if:

  • Communication with a DPOH took place during the month being reported upon,
  • Information contained in an active return is no longer correct or additional information that the lobbyist has become aware of should be included in an active return,
  • The lobbying activities have terminated or no longer require registration,
  • Five months have elapsed since the end of the last month in which a return was filed.
monthly disclosures continued
Monthly Disclosures (Continued)

The monthly returns regarding communications with a DPOH will include:

  • Name and position title/rank,
  • Government institution of the DPOH,
  • Date of the communication,
  • Subject matter of the communication,

The Commissioner may verify with DPOH the content of the monthly return.

communications with a dpoh
Communications with a DPOH

A communication must be disclosed in a monthly report if:

  • It is both oral and arranged,
  • It is requested by the lobbyist,
  • There is a time interval between the request and the communication,
  • The arranged communication is:
    • A phone conversation,
    • A meeting,
    • Any other oral communications.
  • It is initiated by a DPOH when the subject matter refers to the awarding of grants, contributions or other financial benefits and the awarding of any contract.
corrections and proper disclosure of returns
Corrections and Proper Disclosure of Returns
  • As per the LRR, corrections to a return requested by the Commissioner must be submitted within 10 days of the request. In practice, a correction would be required if information is missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
  • The LA allows the Commissioner to request clarification to any return, which must be submitted by the registrant within 30 days of the request.
5 year prohibition on lobbying
5-Year Prohibition on Lobbying

The LA prohibits, for a period of 5 years, former DPOH and designated former members of Prime Minister’s transition teams from:

  • Acting as a consultant lobbyist for the prescribed period,
  • Carry out lobbying activities on behalf of the organization for the prescribed period,
  • Being employed as an in-house lobbyist (corporation) for the prescribed period if lobbying constitute a significant part of the individual’s duties (20% rule).
exemptions to the 5 year prohibition on lobbying
Exemptions to the 5-Year Prohibition on Lobbying
  • It does not apply to any DPOH who occupied their position only because of participation in an employment exchange program such as Interchange Canada.
  • The Commissioner may grant exemptions to the 5-year prohibition in certain situations described in the LA.
penalties breaches of the act
Penalties (Breaches of the Act)
  • Up to $50,000 and/or 6 months in jail on summary conviction
  • Up to $200,000 and/or 2 years in jail on indictment
  • Proceedings by way of summary conviction:
    • may be instituted at any time within, but no later than 5 years after which the Commissioner became aware of the subject matter of the proceedings, and
    • no later than 10 years after which the subject matter of proceedings arose.
lobbyists code of conduct
Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct


  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Openness
  • Professionalism


  • Transparency
  • Confidentiality
  • Conflict of Interest
sanctions breaches of the code
Sanctions (Breaches of the Code)
  • No fines or jail sentences
  • The Commissioner must table investigation reports before both Houses of Parliament.
  • There is no limitation period for investigating breaches of the Code.
the new lobbyists registration system
The New Lobbyists Registration System
  • New registration module
  • Improved search system
  • Registrant and representatives dashboards
  • Historical links
  • Built-in annotation system
  • Communication log module
  • New system architecture
  • Online tutorial

For further information, consult the Lobbying Act Implementation Notice #8 at the OCL website

ocl web site
OCL Web Site
  • Registration Process
  • Interpretation Bulletins
  • Public Registry of Lobbyists
  • Acts, Regulations & Other Documents
  • Lobbying Act Implementation Notices
  • The Lobbying Act – A summary of New Requirements Brochure
  • Archives
  • Media Room
  • PowerPoint Presentations
for more information
For More Information ….

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying 255 Albert Street10th FloorOttawa, Ontario K1A 0R5613-957-2760