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Overview of requirements for consultant lobbyists

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Commissioner of Lobbying

The mandate of the Commissioner of Lobbying is to:

  • Establish and maintain a publicly‑available registry
  • Raise awareness of lobbyists, public office holders and the public through outreach and educational programs
  • Administer and enforce the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct

Four Underlying Principles

The Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct are based on four 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.
  • The system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government.

The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct

The Commissioner of Lobbying has the authority to develop, administer and enforce a Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

The purpose of the Code is to assure Canadians that lobbying is done ethically and in accordance with the highest standards.

Lobbyists are required to comply with the Code.

What is lobbying?

Three elements define lobbying:

  1. The individual is paid by an employer or a client.
  2. The individual communicates directly (i.e. either in writing or orally) or indirectly (i.e. grass‑roots communication), with a federal public office holder.
  3. The individual communicates about one of the following subjects:
    • Development of any legislative proposal
    • Introduction, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution
    • Making or amendment of any regulation
    • Development or amendment of any policy or program
    • Awarding of any grant, contribution or other financial benefit
    • Awarding of any contract (Consultant lobbyists only)


The individual arranges a meeting between a public office holder and any other person (Consultant lobbyists only).

What is not lobbying?

The following types of oral and written communications are not registrable lobbying activities:

  • submissions to a Parliamentary Committee.
  • communications with a public office holder concerning the enforcement, interpretation or the application of any Act of Parliament or regulation.
  • communications made to a public office holder that are limited to a request for information.

What type of lobbyist are you?

Consultant lobbyist

  • An individual who communicates with a federal public office holder, for payment, on behalf of a client (i.e. another individual, a company or an organization).
  • An individual who arranges a meeting between a public office holder and any other person.
  • Consultant lobbyists are required to register each of their lobbying undertakings no later than 10 days after entering into an undertaking.

In‑House lobbyist

  • Employee of a corporation or an organization who communicates with public office holders on behalf of their employer.
    • The most senior paid employee is responsible for filing a registration for a corporation or organization.
    • Registration is required within two months of when lobbying activities constitute a significant part of the duties of one full‑time employee.

Who is lobbied?

Federal Public Office Holders (POHs) are:

  • Any officers or employees of Her Majesty in right of Canada;
  • Members of the Senate or the House of Commons or members of their staff;
  • GIC appointees, other than a judge receiving a salary under the Judges Act or the lieutenant governor of a province;
  • Officers, directors or employees of any federal board, commission or other tribunal as defined in the Federal Courts Act; and
  • Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP.

The interpretation bulletin – Communication with federal public office holders may also be helpful.

Federal Designated Public Office Holders (DPOHs) are:

  • All MPs and Senators
  • Ministers and their exempt staff
  • Some staff in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition
  • Deputy Ministers
  • Associate and Assistant Deputy Ministers, and those of comparable rank (Interpretation bulletin on Comparable Rank)
  • 7 senior positions in the Armed Forces
  • Comptroller General of Canada
  • Select positions at the Privy Council Office

Registration process

To register:

  1. Go to the Login page
  2. Click on Create an Account
  3. Select the account type that applies to you and fill in all required information
  4. An Account Activation email will be sent to the email you have associated to your account. Click on the account activation link
  5. A Lobbyist Registry introduction email will be sent to you with your account number

More details are found on How to register and report your lobbying activities.

Information disclosed by consultant lobbyists

In initial registrations, consultant lobbyists provide information about:

  • The positions former public office holders have held within the Government of Canada before they started lobbying;
  • Which individuals, corporations, organizations or associations they represent (their clients);
  • Which parent and subsidiary companies benefit from their lobbying activities;
  • The members of the coalition when the client is a coalition;
  • The funding received or expected to be received by their clients from a government or government agency;
  • The names and descriptions of the specific legislative proposals, bills, regulations, policies, programs of interest, grants, contributions and/or contracts sought;
  • Which Government of Canada departments or agencies are being contacted and the communication techniques being used;
  • Whether or not the lobbyists expect to arrange meetings in the course of their undertakings.

Reporting on Public Office Held – As displayed in the Registry

Public offices held: John Doe

List of Public Offices Held
Position Period Held Last Date Designated Public Office Held
Communication Specialist
Transport Canada, Civil Aviation
January 2004 to March 2014 Not a designated office
Policy Analyst
Health Canada, Generic drugs
June 2001 to April 2003 Not a designated office
Director General
Heritage Canada, Communications
April 1997 to May 2000 Not a designated office

Reporting on Subject Matter – As displayed in the Registry

Lobbying Information | Consultant Details | Lobbyists Details
Subject Matters Subject Matter Details
  • Budget
  • Financial Institutions
  • International Trade

Grant, Contribution or Other Financial Benefit, Policies or Program

  • Seeking funding from Export Development Canada with respect to trade and markets development.

Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution

  • Bank Act (S.C. 1991, c. 46) with respect to Federal Credit Unions

Policies or Program

  • Financial Management Policy regarding Internal Control


  • Access to Funds Regulations regarding the maximum cheque hold period
Communication Techniques Government Institutions
  • Written communication
  • Oral communication

The lobbyist has arranged or expects to arrange one or more meetings on behalf of the client between a public office holder and any other person in the course of this undertaking

  • Bank of Canada
  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
  • Export Development Canada (EDC)
  • Finance Canada (FIN)

Reporting on Government Funding

Government Funding TO BE Reported

  • Government grants
  • Non‑repayable contributions
  • Any other non‑repayable funding

Government Funding NOT TO BE Reported

  • Repayable contributions
  • Loans and loan guarantees
  • Tax credits
  • Remission orders
  • Goods or services contracts

Reporting on Government Funding – As displayed in the Registry

Government Funding

End date of the last completed fisical year:

List of Government Funding
Government Institution Funding Received in Last Financial Year Funding Expected in Current Financial Year
Bank of Canada (BDC) $700,000.00 Yes
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) $1,000,000.00 No

Reporting on Communication Techniques

Identify all communication techniques you use or expect to use:

  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Grass‑roots Communication

What is grass‑roots communication?

Grass‑roots lobbying occurs when, for payment and on behalf of a client or employer, individuals encourage members of the public to communicate with federal public office holders on registrable topics.

Grass‑roots lobbying may include advertisements, mass letter and/or facsimile campaigns, telephone calls to public office holders, public demonstrations, use of websites or communication through social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter.

Grass‑roots communication may trigger the requirement to register even in the absence of direct communication between the individual and public office holders.

Corrections to information you submitted may be required

The registrant may be requested to provide the OCL with corrections to registrations submitted.

In practice, a correction would be required if information is missing, incomplete, or incorrect.

As per the Lobbyists Registration Regulations, corrections to a return must be submitted to the Commissioner within 10 days of the request.

When are registration updates due?

You must update your registration for your client no later than 15 days after the end of every month if:

  • Information contained in an active registration is no longer correct or additional information needs to be added (e.g., a new government institution is being lobbied); or
  • The lobbying activities have terminated.

If you have not updated your registration or submitted a monthly communication report in five months then you must re‑certify your registration by the first day of the sixth month.

When is a monthly communication report required?

A communication with a DPOH on a registrable subject must be disclosed in a monthly report not later than 15 days after the end of every month if:

  • It is both oral and arranged, and
  • It is initiated by someone other than a POH, or
  • It is initiated by a POH and the subject matter relates to the awarding of grants, contributions or other financial benefits, or the awarding of a contract.

Monthly Communication Report – As displayed in the Registry

BCBGI Management Corp

Consultant: John Doe

Designated Public Office Holders who participated in the communication:

  • Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance | Finance Canada (FIN)

Subject matter of communication: Financial Institutions, Budget

Communication date:
Posted date:
Communication number: 327846‑314010

Things to remember

A consultant lobbyist can only have one user account (regardless of changes in employment)

A consultant lobbyist is responsible for submitting and updating a registration for each and every client on whose behalf he/she lobbies within the prescribed timelines:

  • initial registration (within 10 days of undertaking)
  • updates and terminations (15th of the following month)
  • monthly communication reports (15th of the following month)
  • six month return (1st of the sixth month since a return was filed)

Only the consultant lobbyist can certify the information in his/her registration before submitting it to OCL.

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