Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to report every public office holder that I talk to?
Yes. In monthly returns, the names of each designated public office holder with whom you have oral and arranged communication must be listed as well as the names of the departments or other government institutions must be listed.
Do I have to register every time I communicate with a public office holder?
No. A registration may cover a series of separate communications with public office holders on the same issue or subject matter. A monthly return, however, must be filed within 15 days after the end of the month in which an oral and arranged communication occurs with a designated public office holder.
What specific information does the monthly return require?
A monthly return is required after every month in which lobbying took place. The monthly return is to report all lobbying of oral or previously arranged communications and must list:
- the date of the communication with a "Designated Public Office Holder'' (DPOH)
- first name and last name
- position title
- the branch or unit
- the government institution
- the subject matter(s) of the communication
|I know that I have to send a monthly return to the Government Relations Office. Where can I find that Monthly Return Template to disclose my lobbying communications “made orally and arranged in advance” with DPOH’s?|
A Communications Reporting Template is available to download online.
|Is the information we report ever verified?|
Under this new regime, the Commissioner may verify the content of monthly returns directly with the DPOH involved. DPOH’s will have 30 days to respond to a verification request and either confirm or correct the information submitted by the lobbyist. Should the Commissioner find the information submitted to be incorrect or incomplete, the matter will be pursued with the lobbyist.
Examples- Monthly Disclosure
• Example #1: York is registered to lobby Health Canada on a specific policy issue. A VP calls the office of the Minister of Health and arranges for a meeting on the policy with the Minister’s Chief of Staff the following week. The VP and the Minister’s Chief of Staff had met at a sporting event months ago. The meeting between the VP and the Minister’s Chief of Staff takes place as scheduled.
• A return containing details about the meeting with the Chief of Staff must be filed no later than the 15th day of the month following the meeting
• Example #2: York is registered to lobby Environment Canada with respect to proposed legislation that is of interest to a faculty. The Dean of the faculty, who is having lunch at a restaurant, notices an Assistant Deputy Minister from Environment Canada in the coat check. The Dean introduces himself, briefly states his faculty’s interest in the proposed legislation, and arranges to meet the ADM over lunch the following week at the same restaurant. The lunch meeting takes place as scheduled. They discuss the proposed legislation as well as a journal article that a faculty member plans to publish on the topic.
• No monthly return would be required with respect to the meeting in the coat check.
• A return containing certain details about the meeting must be filed no later than the 15th day of the month following the arranged lunch meeting.
• Example #3: York is registered to lobby several departments with respect to changes in tax policy and legislation. An Assistant Deputy Minister at the Department of Finance contacts a faculty member to obtain her views on a proposed tax measure. The faculty member notifies her Dean who is also interested in the tax area. The meeting takes place and is attended by the Dean, who is listed as a lobbyist in York’s registration.
• No return regarding communication with a DPOH would be required for this meeting.
Registration Requirements Related to the Academic Sector
This advisory opinion is issued by the registrar under the authority of subsection 10.(1) of the Lobbyists Registration Act (hereafter "the Act"). The purpose of this opinion is to provide guidance on the application of the Act.
Questions have come from the academic sector, as to whether it is only the academic Dean, all senior management at an institution of higher learning (predominantly universities and colleges) or all professors that must be listed in a registration. All new university faculty members may not be required to register as in-house lobbyists on the sole basis that the institution communicates with public office holders. It is the senior officer of the organization who must register and list personnel within the institution who lobby. Similarly, for staff members responsible for government relations or for securing grant funding (excluding research grants provided by organizations with peer review processes), the senior officer of the organization would be required to register their names.
The situation differs where faculty members provide independent advice to government bodies but do not represent the views or interests of their employers, that is, the institution where they teach or conduct research. The Act respects academic independence. Professors often speak as experts on public policy issues and do not represent the institution where they are principally employed. Therefore, where faculty members communicate an independent opinion on a matter of public policy, and are not paid by their employer or a third party to express that opinion, registration will be not required. When the same faculty members is remunerated to communicate opinion on behalf of a third party, such as a private firm or special interest group, they will be required to disclose such activity under the category of consultant lobbyists.
Similarly, academics with an ownership interest in a commercial venture (or employed in that fashion), related or not to the learning institution for which they work, or in external research ventures, and who communicate with public office holders on behalf of those ventures with an expectation of future financial benefits, will be required to register as in-house lobbyists when communicating, provided that lobbying constitutes a significant part of their duties.
Registrar of Lobbyists
Date Modified: 2008-07-04