On April 1, 2017, the New Brunswick Lobbyists’ Registration Act was proclaimed into force (the “Act”), requiring active professional consultant or in-house lobbyists to register and file returns with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of New Brunswick. There is a grace period provided for in the legislation for lobbying activities that were being performed as of April 1. For these lobbying activities, the deadline for the filing of the first registration and return is July 1, 2017.
The Act defines lobbying as communication with a public office holder in an attempt to influence a government decision, including the development or amendment of legislation, regulations, government policies or programs, a decision to privatize Crown assets, or the award of any grant or other financial benefit by the province. Public office holders include members of the Legislative Assembly or Executive Council and their staff, members of a District Education Council, directors of a Regional Health Authority and any employee of the public service, including employees of crown corporations.
There are two types of lobbyists’ caught by the Act:
Consultant lobbyists are individuals who, for any form of remuneration or other benefit, undertake to lobby on behalf of a client.
In-house lobbyists are individuals who, as a significant part of their duties as an employee, lobby on behalf of their employer, or, if those duties were combined with the duties of other employees to lobby, would constitute a significant part of the duties of one employee.
The Act requires the registration of consultant lobbyists engaged in lobbying activity (notwithstanding the amount of time spent), and in-house lobbyists who spend twenty percent or more of their time engaged in lobbying activity, as measured over a three month period.
There are exemptions from registration as a lobbyist for government officials and staff, including municipal officials. There is also an exemption from registration for certain types of activity, including submissions made to public legislative committees, and submissions made in relation to the enforcement, interpretation or application of any Act, regulation, policy or program.
All returns are filed online with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner and there is no filing fee.
The return will require the lobbyist to disclose information about their lobbying efforts, including the identity of his or her client or employer, the subject of the lobbying activity, the purpose of the lobbying activity, and the types of communication employed. For a consultant lobbyist, a return must be filed within 15 days after commencing lobbying activity; and for an in-house lobbyist, within 2 months of becoming an in-house lobbyist. Information filed in return will be publicly available online starting July 1. This is the first ever lobbyists’ registry in New Brunswick.