Crown Corporations and Registrable Activities under the Lobbying Act

Purpose of Advisory Opinion

This advisory opinion is issued by the Commissioner of Lobbying under the authority of subsection 10(1) of the Lobbying Act (hereafter "the Act"). Its purpose is to provide guidance for lobbyists with respect to Crown corporations and registrable activities under the Lobbying Act.

Commissioner's Opinion

Communication between officials employed in a Crown corporation and federal public office holders concerning its mandate, operation, funding and other related matters is not a registrable lobbying activity.

Background

On the Clerk of the Privy Council was asked by the Prime Minister to convey the following governmental expectations concerning the engagement of consultant lobbyists to communicate with Crown corporations, departmental corporations and shared governance organizations:

"Crown corporations, departmental corporations and shared governance organizations for which the Government of Canada has direct responsibilities or which expend funds reported as Government assets in the Public Accounts of Canada should not engage consultant lobbyists to communicate with the Government of Canada. Communication between these organizations and the Government about their mandates, operations, funding and other matters are a regular, ongoing aspect of government operations. The Government believes that accountability and the public interest are best served when its relationship with these organizations is conducted via candid and direct communications between corporate officers and responsible Ministers and their officials, and that the use of consultant lobbyists for this purpose is unnecessary and an inappropriate use of public funds." (Emphasis added)

Crown corporations are government organizations that operate following a private-sector model but usually have a mixture of commercial and public policy objectives. Parent Crown corporations are those directly owned by the Government of Canada and are created by legislation, by letters patent, or by articles of incorporation under the Canada Business Corporations Act. In addition to the parent Crown corporations listed under Schedule III of the Financial Administration Act, nine parent Crown corporations (e.g., Bank of Canada) have their own legislation. An example of a parent Crown corporation is the Canadian Museum of Civilization (see list of Crown corporations in the appendix).

Subsidiary Crown corporations are owned, in whole or in part, by one or more parent Crown corporation. They may be incorporated under provincial rather than federal legislation. Except in cases where a wholly owned subsidiary has been directed by the government to report as a parent Crown corporation, (e.g., The Old Port of Montréal Corporation Inc. or Parc Downsview Park Inc.) all subsidiaries are managed by their parent Crown corporation and other shareholders and report to them rather than to the government.

Following the letter sent by the Clerk, the Commissioner has considered the application of the registration requirements of the Lobbying Act with respect to Crown corporations. The Commissioner takes the view that communication between officials of a Crown corporation and federal public office holders concerning the mandate, operations and funding of the Crown corporation and other related matters, does not fall within the definition of registrable lobbying activity under the Lobbying Act. As a result, Crown corporations are not required to register employees as in-house lobbyists.

Karen E. Shepherd
Commissioner of Lobbying
March 2010


Appendix

List of Crown Corporations Identified by the Clerk of the Privy Council

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List of Crown Corporations Identified by the Clerk of the Privy Council

Wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Development Investment Corporation; deemed parent Crown corporation Return to text

Wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Lands Company Limited; deemed parent Crown corporation Return to text

Portfolio Organization
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadian Dairy Commission
Farm Credit Canada
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation
Canadian Heritage Canada Council for the Arts
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Canadian Museum of Nature
National Arts Centre Corporation
National Gallery of Canada
National Museum of Science and Technology
Telefilm Canada
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Finance Bank of Canada
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
Canada Development Investment Corporation
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
PPP Canada Inc.*
Fisheries and Oceans Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation
Foreign Affairs International Development Research Centre
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Indian Affairs and Northern Development First Nations Statistical Institute
Industry Business Development Bank of Canada
Canadian Tourism Commission
Standards Council of Canada
International Trade Canadian Commercial Corporation
Export Development Canada
Natural Resources Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Cape Breton Development Corporation
Public Works and Government Services Defence Construction (1951) Limited
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Atlantic Pilotage Authority
Blue Water Bridge Authority
Canada Lands Company Limited
Canada Post Corporation
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority
Federal Bridge Corporation Limited
Great Lakes Pilotage Authority
Laurentian Pilotage Authority
Marine Atlantic Inc.
National Capital Commission
Old Port of Montréal Corporation**
Pacific Pilotage Authority
Parc Downsview Park Inc.**
Ridley Terminals Inc.
Royal Canadian Mint
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Treasury Board Public Sector Pension Investment Board