Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



Lobbying to Ottawa Politicians and Bureacrats 101

This blog posting comes from Keith (“Cameron”) Cameron of Lang Michener’s Ottawa office. He knows more about lobbying than most lawyers and, his Ottawa location provides him with access to the Prime Minister’s office and the Members of Parliament and the Senate, as well as the thousands of Canadian bureaucrats.

Accountability is a sign of the times. In fact, federally, before a “designated public office holder” (“DPOH”) will even schedule a meeting to hear your point of view, s/he will very likely consult the public Lobbyist Registry. Therefore, be sure you are duly registered (within ten days) after entering into any consultant lobbyist undertaking and be sure to file your monthly report for all “arranged” communication with a DPOH. Such public registration is a means to recognize lobbying as a legitimate democratic activity and that the public ought to know who is attempting to lobby public officials.

The Canadian federal Lobbyists Registration Act (“LRA”), however, does not define the term “lobbying”. Instead, the LRA uses language to ascertain what constitutes “registerable” lobbying. Two basic tests are used to establish whether acts are registerable lobbying activities. The first, involves “communicating” with a DPOH. The second is whether one is paid to do so.

Exceptions of course apply. For example the following does not require registration:

· “voluntary” lobbying;

· communications with DPOH’s regarding “interpretation, application or enforcement” of existing federal law or policy;

· a “request for information” such as asking about program eligibility criteria or government process;

· submissions made to a parliamentary committee, regulatory body, hearing etc.; and

· open forum communications, where the subject and parties are on the public record.

Furthermore, “in-house lobbyists” do not have to register if less than 20% of his/her overall duties (over a six-month period) or less than 20% of such duties (in a single month) consists of lobbying activities. If you require further information about lobbying activities, please consult Cameron or Manny Montengrino of Lang Michener LLP or the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada.

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