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Overview of requirements for in-house corporation lobbyists

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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 or written communications are not registrable lobbying activities:

  • submissions to Parliamentary Committees.
  • 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?

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.

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.

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 aslo 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.

Who is responsible for filing returns?

The registrant, that is the officer responsible for filing returns, is the most senior paid employee of a corporation.

This is the officer responsible for registering his/her corporation's lobbying activities.


  • Chairpersons or members of the Board of Directors who are not employees of the corporation, should not be listed as lobbyists in the corporation's registration.
  • An external chairperson or board member who communicates with public office holders on a registrable subject on behalf of the corporation and who receives remuneration from the corporation beyond reimbursement of expenses must register as a consultant lobbyist.

What is a significant part of duties?

The most senior paid officer must file a return when one or more employees communicate with public office holders on registrable topics on behalf of the employer, and the cumulative lobbying activities of all employees constitutes a "Significant Part of Duties," interpreted as 20% or more of one person's time over a one‑month period.

  • Time spent by all employees preparing for communicating, eg (research, writing, planning, travelling, etc.) and actually communicating with public office holders should be considered.

In situations where the time related to lobbying is difficult to estimate, the officer responsible for filing will have to estimate the relative importance of the lobbying activities. Both methods may be used in conjunction if the situation is unclear.

The officer responsible for filing is accountable for the decision as to whether or not a registration is necessary.

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.

What information must be disclosed in a corporation registration?

In an initial registration, the most senior paid officer provides the following information:

  • The corporation's and parent company's contact information;
  • A general description of the corporation's activities;
  • A list of every subsidiary that has a direct interest in the outcome of the corporation's lobbying activities;
  • The names of in‑house lobbyists, the public offices and/or designated public offices held by each within the Government of Canada before they started lobbying;
  • The funding received or expected to be received from any government or government agency;
  • The names and descriptions of the specific legislative proposals, bills, regulations, policies, programs of interest and grants and/or contributions sought;
  • Federal government institutions being contacted;
  • Communication techniques being used.

Reporting on corporation lobbyists

The officer responsible for filing returns must provide two separate lists of employees who communicate with public office holders :

  • A list of employees and senior officers whose lobbying activities represent a significant part of their duties (20% or more).
  • A list of other senior officers not listed above whose lobbying activities represent any part of their duties (less than 20%).

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 2007 to March 2012 Not a designated office
Director General
Environment Canada, Energy Renewal Directorate
June 2000 to April 2006 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 | In‑house Organization Details | Lobbyists Details
Subject Matters Subject Matter Details
  • Agriculture
  • Climate
  • Fisheries
  • Health

Grant, Contribution or Other Financial Benefit, Policies or Program

  • Seeking funding from the Canada Book Fnd (CBF) for marketing and promotion.

Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution

  • Bill C-30, Clean Air Act in respect of quotas for greenhouse gases

Policies or Program

  • Canada’s energy policies with respect to rules governing energy trade between Canada and the United States


  • Amendments to the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations regarding the right to appeal
Communication Techniques Government Institutions
  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
  • Health Canada (HC)
  • Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

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 and / 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
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) $100,820.00 Yes
Health Canada (HC) $300,500.00 No
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) $503,156.00 Yes

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.

Corporations should consider the time spent by employees developing and delivering grass‑roots campaigns when calculating whether they have met the significant part of duties threshold for registration.

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 corporation 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.

Monthly communication report – As displayed in the Registry

Chinook Mines Limited

In‑house Organization

Designated Public Office Holders who participated in the communication:

  • Michael Martin, Deputy Minister | Environment Canada Canada (EC)

Subject matter of communication: Climate

Communication date:
Posted date:
Communication number: 327866‑314030

Things to remember

The most senior paid employee (the Registrant) is the only one accountable for:

  • Making the decision as to whether or not a registration is necessary.
  • Certifying and submitting returns.

The trigger for registration is when lobbying activities constitute a "significant part of duties".

The registrant is responsible for adhering to prescribed timelines:

  • initial registration (no later than two months after the day on which the requirement to file a return arises.)
  • 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)

The corporation must contact OCL when there is a change concerning the most senior officer responsible for filing a return.

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