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Are you required to register in the federal registry of lobbyists?

Are you receiving or expecting to receive payment or a salary for activities that may include communication with a federal public office holder?

Watch this video for a quick summary

Do I need to register?


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Are you asking yourself if you need to register as a lobbyist under the federal Lobbying Act? The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying is here to help.

There are three main questions that help to determine if registration is needed.

1. Are you paid to lobby?

A person must be paid to communicate with the federal government to be a lobbyist under the Lobbying Act.

Volunteers and citizens acting on their own behalf do not need to register.

Other levels of government, including Aboriginal governments, are also exempt.

There are two types of lobbyists:

  • Consultants are paid individuals hired by clients to lobby federal officials. This could include those serving on boards of directors.
  • In-house lobbyists are paid employees of a corporation or organization who communicate with federal officials on behalf of their employer.

2. Are you communicating with a “federal public office holder?”

This group includes almost anyone who works for the federal government:

  • employees in federal departments and agencies
  • members of Parliament and senators and their staff
  • officials appointed by the federal government, except federal judges
  • members of federal boards, commissions, and tribunals and their employees
  • members of Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • and Canadian Armed Forces.

This communication can be direct, such as in writing or orally.

It can also be indirect, such as grass-root campaigns.

3. Are you communicating about changing the state of play?

This means communicating with a federal public office holder about changing or influencing federal laws, policies, programs, regulations or the awarding of federal grants and contributions and other financial benefits.

Communicating for a client about the awarding of a federal contract is also lobbying for consultant lobbyists.

Consultant lobbyists must also register if they arrange a meeting between a public office holder and another person.

The requirement to register is triggered for the consultant lobbyist as soon as they agree to any lobbying activity, even if they don’t lobby right away.

It does not include simple requests for information or clarification of the application of an existing federal law, policy, or regulation.

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you may need to register as a lobbyist.

Remember you don’t have to have lobbyist in your job title or lobbying in your job description to have to register.

For example, an engineer who explains her employer’s position on a safety policy to federal regulators may be lobbying under the Lobbying Act.

If you still have questions or are unsure whether or not you need to register, please visit or call 613-957-2760 for more information.

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