The Commissioner of Lobbying's mandate, derived from the Lobbying Act (the Act), is to ensure transparency of the lobbying of federal public office holders. This contributes to increasing the confidence Canadians have in the integrity of government decision making.
The Commissioner's mandate is threefold:
- maintaining the Registry of Lobbyists, which contains and makes public the registration information disclosed by lobbyists;
- developing and implementing educational programs to foster public awareness of the requirements of the Act; and
- conducting reviews and investigations to ensure compliance with the Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (the Code).
Maintain the Registry of Lobbyists
The Registry of Lobbyists is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the website of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.
The Registry discloses details about who is being paid to communicate with federal public office holders and on what subject matters. It is the central source of information about individuals, not-for-profit organizations and for-profit corporations who lobby the federal government by communicating with elected officials or public servants.
The information contained in the Registry includes:
- who lobbies for which firms, corporations, organizations or associations;
- which parent and subsidiary companies or corporations benefit from lobbying activities;
- the organizational members of coalition groups;
- a general description of the subject matter of lobbying activities, as well as some details;
- which Government of Canada departments or agencies are being contacted;
- the names and descriptions of the specific legislative proposals, bills, regulations, policies, programs of interest and grants, contributions or contracts sought;
- the positions former public office holders have held within the Government of Canada before they started lobbying; and
- information regarding oral and arranged communications with designated public office holders.
This information is publicly available online and is easily searchable by users at no cost.
In accordance with the Act, lobbyists must disclose oral and arranged communications with designated public office holders (DPOHs) on a monthly basis.
The Commissioner's Office has developed client service standards for registration processing times.
Deliver an Education and Awareness Program
The Act provides the Commissioner of Lobbying with an explicit mandate to develop and implement educational programs to foster public awareness of the requirements of the Act, on the part of lobbyists, their clients and public office holders (POHs).
The Commissioner has developed outreach tools to better understand the rationale and requirements of the Act, including:
- Speeches and Presentations
- Advice and Interpretation on the Lobbying Act
- Guidance on the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct
The Commissioner is working to ensure lobbyists are compliant with the Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (the Code). Administrative reviews and investigations are undertaken to examine alleged breaches of the Act or the Code. When the Commissioner concludes an investigation, she must table a Report on Investigation in both Houses of Parliament with her findings, conclusions and reasons for these.
The Commissioner also reviews requests for exemptions from the five-year prohibition on lobbying from former designated public office holders. The Commissioner may grant an exemption only if doing so as will not be contrary to the purposes of the Act. The Office has developed service standards for the exemption review process.