A Guide to Registration (Page 1 of 7)

1. Introduction

This manual provides an overview of the lobbyist registration process.

1.1 Document Structure and Conventions

The document breaks down into seven chapters:

The annexes provide a glossary, as well as links to the Registrant User Agreement.


To facilitate navigation, the document contains a large number of hyperlinks,


Two types of Notes are used to draw the reader's attention to items of particular interest:

The Information Note is designed to draw attention to items of interest. This is a sample Information Note.

The Action Note is intended to highlight action items for the lobbyist's attention. This is a sample Action Note.

1.2 Lobbying Act–Purpose and Description

The Lobbying Act (the Act) provides for the public registration of those individuals who are paid, by an employer or a client, to communicate with public office holders (POHs) with regard to certain matters as described in the legislation. Public office holders are defined in the Act as virtually all persons occupying an elected or appointed position in the Government of Canada, including members of the House of Commons and the Senate and their staff, as well as officers and employees of federal departments and agencies, members of the Canadian Forces and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The Act is based on four key principles:

  • Free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest.
  • Lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity.
  • It is desirable that public office holders and the public be able to know who is engaged in lobbying activities.
  • A system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government.

Individuals must be registered if they lobby, i.e., if they communicate with federal POHs, for payment, with regard to:

  • the making, developing or amending of federal legislative proposals, bills or resolutions, regulations, policies or programs;
  • the awarding of federal grants, contributions or other financial benefits; and
  • in the case of consultant lobbyists, the awarding of a federal government contract and arranging a meeting between a POH and any other person.

Interpretation Bulletin on Communicating with Federal Public Office Holders

1.3 Regulations

The Lobbying Act defined designated public office holders (DPOHs) to include ministers, ministers of state and ministerial staff, deputy heads, associate deputy heads and assistant deputy ministers and those of comparable ranks throughout the public service. The Designated Public Office Holder Regulations extended this definition to include fourteen additional positions or classes of positions.

Positions and classes of positions

  1. Chief of the Defence Staff
  2. Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
  3. Chief of Maritime Staff
  4. Chief of Land Staff
  5. Chief of Air Staff
  6. Chief of Military Personnel
  7. Judge Advocate General
  8. Any position of Senior Advisor to the Privy Council to which the office holder is appointed by the Governor in Council
  9. Deputy Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs) Privy Council Office
  10. Comptroller General of Canada
  11. Any position to which the office holder is appointed pursuant to paragraph 127.1(1)(a) or (b) of the Public Service Employment Act
  12. The position of member of the House of Commons
  13. The position of member of the Senate
  14. Any position on the staff of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons or on the staff of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, that is occupied by a person appointed pursuant to subsection 128(1) of the Public Service Employment Act

Interpretation Bulletin on Communicating with Designated Public Office Holders

The Lobbyists Registration Regulations set the form and manner in which lobbyists must file returns required by the Lobbying Act. Returns disclose information regarding the lobbying activities of registrants. The Regulations also set out additional information to be disclosed in returns, beyond what is required by the Lobbying Act. They set the time frames to respond to a request by the Commissioner for correction or clarification of information submitted in returns. The Regulations also describe the type of communication that will trigger monthly communication reports. The form and manner of registration set out in the Lobbyists Registration Regulations are reflected in the Lobbyists Registration System interface that is provided to users of the system.

1.4 OCL Mandate

The Commissioner of Lobbying is an independent Agent of Parliament, appointed by Parliament under the Lobbying Act for a term of seven years. The purpose of the Act is to ensure transparency and accountability in the lobbying of public office holders in order to contribute to confidence in the integrity of government decision-making.

The mandate of the Commissioner is threefold:

  • Establish and maintain the Registry of Lobbyists, which contains and makes public the information disclosed by lobbyists;
  • Develop and implement educational programs to foster public awareness of the requirements of the Act; and
  • Conduct reviews and investigations to ensure compliance with the Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (the Code).

1.5 Registry of Lobbyists and Lobbyists Registration System

The Registration and Client Services Directorate is responsible for developing and maintaining the Lobbyists Registration System (LRS) and the online Registry of Lobbyists. The LRS allows users to register their lobbying activities and perform transactions, such as filing registrations and monthly communication reports. The Registry allows Canadians to search for lobbyists and lobbying activity. Employees of the Registration and Client Services Directorate process lobbyists' registrations and offer client service to registrants, public office holders, and the general public.

All information collected under the Lobbying Act is a matter of public record. The objective of the Registry is to ensure transparency of lobbying activities, so that the general public, the media and public office holders may know who is lobbying the government, for what purpose and in whose interest.

1.6 Service Standards

The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying has developed client service standards for its registration activities.

1.7 Official Languages

The Official Languages Act (OLA) recognizes that English and French have equality of status in all institutions of Parliament and the Government of Canada. The OCL adheres to all OLA requirements and related Treasury Board policies, and is committed to fulfilling the objectives of the Official Languages Program. All services offered to the public are offered in both official languages.

Further information about language rights and obligations can be found at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages website: www.ocol-clo.gc.ca.

1.8 Access to Information and Privacy

The OCL adheres to all relevant legislation and guidelines governing the collection, protection, access and use of information including the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, and related Treasury Board policies.

For information on release of information to the public, please consult the Office of the Privacy Commissioner's website.