Federal Lobbying Act and Registry of Lobbyists

Federal Lobbying Act and Registry of Lobbyists

 

1. Background

On July 2, 2008, the Lobbyists Registration Act was renamed the Lobbying Act. Changes also came into effect, which required that Brock not only register people who engage in Federal lobbying on behalf of the University or seek Federal non-peer reviewed grants, but that it also registers specified oral and arranged communications with designated public office holders.

2. Compliance

Brock is registered under the Lobbying Act through its most senior officer, the President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jack Lightstone, who must register and list personnel within Brock who ‘lobby’ on behalf of the University.

Each month the University must file a Monthly Return reporting any oral and arranged communication with designated public office holders.

Brock University’s Government Relations Office is responsible for ensuring the University’s compliance with the Lobbying Act and its’ related Regulations and files all official disclosures.

Full compliance is important in order to ensure the University’s lobbying efforts are lawful and to avoid penalty.

To assist in filing the required disclosures, a Federal Lobbying Act Communications Disclosure Form has been created and posted on the Brock's website for use by those who engage in Federal lobbying on behalf of the University. If you have any communications to report, please complete the Federal Lobbying Act Communications Disclosure Form by the first day of the month following your communication for inclusion in Brock’s Monthly Return.

3. "Lobbying"

Lobbying as defined by the Act is any oral and arranged communication with a designated public officer holder with respect to the following matters:

  • The development of any legislative proposal by the Government of Canada or by a member of the Senate or the House of Commons
  • The introduction of any Bill or resolution in either House of Commons or the passage, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution that is before either House of Commons
  • The making or amendment of any regulation
  • The development or amendment of any policy or program of the Government of Canada
  • The awarding of any non-peer reviewed grant, contribution or other financial benefit by or on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada

4. Designated Public Office Holders

The Act creates a new class of public office holder known as Designated Public Office Holders (DPOH), and includes:

  • A minister of the Crown or a minister of state and any person employed in his or her office
  • A member of the House of Commons or Senate
  • Any position on the staff of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons or on the staff of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
  • Any other public office holder who either 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
  • 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 position of Senior Advisor to the Privy Council 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 Service Employment Act (i.e. deputy minister, associate deputy minister and positions of equivalent ranks, in addition to deputy head, associate deputy head and positions of equivalent ranks) 

5. Exceptions

A disclosure is not required if:

  • The communication takes place in an open forum in which the subject matters, the names of participants and the name of the government organizations represented are a matter of public record (similar to a Parliament Hill committee meeting which has public minutes)
  • The communication is restricted to a simple request for information, enforcement, interpretation or application of a federal regulation or piece of legislation
  • The DPOH initiates a discussion requesting an individual’s comment or expertise relating to the development, policy, programs or legislation
  • A faculty members is providing independent advice or opinion to a government body but are not speaking on behalf of Brock and outcomes would not directly benefit Brock

Please note, a disclosure is required if communication is necessary to determine what additional information is required in having an application or project approved. If funding is discussed in a DPOH initiated meeting you must report.

6. Penalties

The penalties for failing to comply with the Lobbying Act are up to $50,000.00 or six months in jail on summary conviction or both and up to $200,000.00 or two years in jail on indictment or both. The Act sets a 5-year limitation period for summary conviction from the date the Commissioner became aware of the offence and 10 years after the day the alleged offence occurred. Further, the Commissioner may prohibit a person convicted of an offence under the Act from lobbying for up to 2 years. Additionally if an employee of the University has been successful at arranging funding but is found to be an unregistered Lobbyist, that funding will be lost to the University.

Should you have any questions regarding the Lobbying Act, please contact the Director of Government Relations at: govtrelations@brocku.ca