The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct
The first version of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (the Code) came into effect on March 1, 1997. In 2015, the Commissioner of Lobbying amended the Code, following a public consultation. The Code was referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in spring 2015, before being published in the Canada Gazette. This version of the Code came into force on December 1, 2015.
The purpose of the Code is to assure the Canadian public that lobbying is done ethically and with the highest standards with a view to conserving and enhancing public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government decision-making. In this regard, the Code complements the registration requirements of the Lobbying Act, which came into force on July 2, 2008.
Lobbyists — individuals who are paid to communicate with federal public office holders — are required to comply with the code. The term "public office holder" applies to virtually anyone occupying a position in the federal government. It includes members of the Senate and the House of Commons and their staff, officers and employees of federal departments and agencies, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The preamble of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct states its purposes and situates the Code in a broader context. The preamble is followed by a body of overriding principles and a set of specific rules. The principles set out the goals and objectives to be attained, without establishing precise standards. The accompanying rules provide more detailed requirements for behaviour related to the principles in applied situations.
The Commissioner of Lobbying has the authority to administer and enforce the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct if there is an alleged breach of either a principle or a rule of the Code.