Registration Requirements Related to the Academic Sector

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 academic sector registration requirements.

Commissioner's Opinion

Questions have been raised by the academic sector concerning who must be listed in a registration. Should the registration list only the academic Dean; should it list all senior management at an institution of higher learning (predominantly universities and colleges); or should all professors be listed as well?

All university and college faculty members may not be required to register as in-house lobbyists for the sole reason that the institution communicates with public office holders. It is the most senior officer of the organization who must register and list personnel within the institution who lobby. Similarly, the most senior officer of the organization is required to register the names of staff members responsible for government relations or for securing grant funding (excluding research grants provided by organizations with peer review processes).

The situation differs when faculty members provide independent advice to government bodies but are not speaking on behalf of the institution where they are employed to teach or conduct research. Professors often speak as experts on public policy issues and may not be speaking on behalf of the institution that employs them. Therefore, where faculty members communicate an independent opinion on a matter of public policy, but are not specifically paid by their employer or a third party to express that opinion, registration is not required.

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
Telephone: 613-957-2760
Facsimile: 613-957-3078
Email: QuestionsLobbying@ocl-cal.gc.ca

Karen E. Shepherd
Commissioner of Lobbying
July 2009