On Saturday, January 5, 2008, the Government of Canada published in the Canada Gazette Part I of the proposed regulatory text regarding lobbyist registrations necessary to bring into force the Lobbying Act.
As part of the Federal Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006, the Lobbyist Registration Act was renamed Lobbying Act. The new law includes new provisions to increase the information available to the public regarding who is lobbying designated public office holders, on whose behalf, and in what circumstances. It also creates the office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, with enhanced investigative powers to review individual registrations by lobbyists of their contacts with government.
While these proposed regulations are not expected to increase the number of registrations, it will increase the frequency of communication with the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists and the amount of information provided.
The Lobbying Act will continue to require timely registration of all lobbyists. In addition to the information currently being provided by lobbyists in initial filings, the new regulations will also require lobbyists to disclose the following:
In addition to all existing filing requirements, the new regulations will require that all three categories of lobbyists (consultant, in house corporation, in house organization) file additional returns regarding their communications with designated public office holders.
Designated Public Office Holders
The January 5, 2008, edition of the Canada Gazette, Part 1, also includes Designated Public Office Holder Regulations, which amend the definition of "designated public office holder." The term is currently defined as "ministers, ministerial staff, deputy ministers and chief executives of departments and agencies, and officials in departments and agencies at the ranks of associate deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers."
The government aims to have these new regulations come into force on July 1, 2008. Given that a public consultation process was held leading up to the publication of these proposed regulations, no such process will launched. However, interested parties have 30 days from the publication date (January 5) to provide comments to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat regarding the proposed regulations.
The text of the regulations is available at http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2008/20080105/pdf/g1-14201.pdf.