Boards of Directors: Application of the Act to outside chairpersons and members

Purpose of Advisory Opinion

This advisory opinion is issued by the Commissioner under the authority of subsection 10(1) of the Lobbying Act (hereafter "the Act"). Its purpose is to state the Commissioner's official view on the application of the Act to outside chairpersons and members of boards of directors.

Commissioner's Opinion

The role of a chairperson or a member of a board of directors is generally to oversee the operations of a company or a non-profit organization. These duties, however, can sometimes involve communications with federal public office holders. If the chairperson or member of the board is not an employee of the company or non-profit organization in an employee-employer relationship and receives remuneration beyond reimbursement of expenses, the requirement for registration as a consultant lobbyist applies to their lobbying activities.

Lobbying activities requiring registration are those communications, whether formal or informal, with federal public office holders for the making, developing or amending of any federal law, regulation, policy or program, or the awarding of any federal monetary grant, contribution, or other financial benefit. As well, registration is required for lobbying for the awarding of any federal contract, or arranging a meeting between a public office holder and another person.

Consultant lobbyists are also required to disclose whether they are lobbying on behalf of a corporation of which they are a member of the board of directors or whether they are lobbying on behalf of an organization of which they are either a member of the organization or a member of its board of directors. Disclosing this information in the Registry of Lobbyists provides a more accurate representation of an individual's lobbying activities.

The requirement for registration under section 7 of the Act as an in-house lobbyist (corporations and organizations) may apply if the chairperson or member of a board of directors of a corporation, company, association, or non-profit organization is also an employee of that organization.

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
Telephone: 613-957-2760
Facsimile:  613-957-3078
E-mail: questionslobbying@lobbycanada.gc.ca

Karen E. Shepherd
Interim Commissioner of Lobbying
February 2009