Published by McCarthy Tétrault
McCarthy Tétrault

What Every Stakeholder Needs to Know About Lobbyist Registration

Since taking office last year, Canada’s Liberal government has announced a variety of task forces, advisory processes, and study groups. The issues to be considered range from defence procurement to marijuana legalization to broadcasting regulation. Businesses and other organizations will be invited to participate.

If your organization takes part in a stakeholder consultation or some other advisory process, you may have registration and/or reporting obligations under federal, provincial, or municipal lobbying law. This is the case even if you never actually have a one-on-one meeting with a public office holder.

In this eAlert, we review the lobbying rules that apply to organizations as stakeholders.

  • Communications in direct response to a written request from a public office holder for advice or comment are generally exempt from lobbyist registration. Note, however, that this is not the case federally; such communications may still trigger a corporate registration obligation under the federal Lobbying Act, even if they do not need to be reported on a month-to-month basis.
  • Communications on the public record are not considered lobbying, but communications behind closed doors may be.
  • Under federal, Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta law, an organization must only register when its employees undertake a certain amount of lobbying in a given time period. In Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, and Ottawa, there is no such threshold – an organization must register, depending on the jurisdiction, before or soon after any lobbying takes place.

Read McCarthy Tétrault’s analysis here.

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