Compliance & Penalties
The Integrity Commissioner, as Ontario’s Lobbyists Registrar, has the power to investigate potential non-compliance with the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998. Individuals who have information about potential non-compliance with the Act can complete an Information Form.
The Act prohibits the Commissioner from releasing any information about ongoing investigations. Statistics and information about concluded investigations can be found in the Office's annual reports.
If the Commissioner reaches a finding of non-compliance with the Act, the Commissioner may impose a penalty by making public the name of the lobbyist, a description of the non-compliance and any other information that the Commissioner considers necessary. The Commissioner may also prohibit a person found to be in non-compliance from lobbying for up to two years.
No person is prohibited from lobbying at this time.
2020 - 2021
Amir Farahi, Consultant Lobbyist
In 2018 and 2019, Amir Farahi failed to comply with the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 as follows:
- He lobbied for three clients without filing a registration as required by the Act. He lobbied for approximately six months for these clients without registering his lobbying;
- He failed to respond to requests for information from the Registrar in two matters;
- He failed to identify his lobbying goals for two clients; and
- He failed to provide the correct business name for one client.
Mr. Farahi’s non-compliance seriously compromised the Act’s goal of transparency about his efforts to seek to influence the government. Mr. Farahi’s non-compliance may have initially been due in part to his lack of awareness of the Act, and his inexperience. However, after a colleague told him he was not registered under the Act, he still failed to take actions to come into compliance for well over a month. And, when he did register, his registrations were incomplete and at times inaccurate. In further breach of the Act, he failed to reply to the Registrar’s request for clarifying information. Overall, Mr. Farahi displayed repeated and troubling inattention to his obligations under the Act.
The Registrar determined that the appropriate penalty was publication of Mr. Farahi’s name and a description of his non-compliance. The Registrar decided that it was not necessary to prohibit him from lobbying because Mr. Farahi has no previous incidents of non-compliance with the Act and the investigation arose because he attempted to comply with the Act. In addition, he had implemented new systems in his office to ensure future compliance with the Act.
Amir Farahi did not breach the Act with respect to another client
In 2019, some media attention focused on Mr. Farahi’s lobbying activities for another client. The Registrar investigated and determined that he did not lobby for the client. Lobbying under the Act is defined as communication with a public office holder in an attempt to influence, and Mr. Farahi did not communicate with any public office holder on behalf of the client. Therefore, he was not in breach of the Act with respect to the client. He was not required to file a registration.
2019 - 2020
Lawrence Gold, Consultant Lobbyist
Lawrence Gold was found not to have registered a lobbying undertaking that involved lobbying communications with several public officers over a five-and-a-half month period, and the arrangement of one meeting between public office holders and representatives of his client. At the time Mr. Gold was given notice of an investigation into the matter, his registration was 395 days overdue. The Lobbyist Registrar found that Mr. Gold’s failure to register was significant and contrary to the public interest. There is a public interest in ensuring that lobbying activity is fully disclosed and transparent. The Registrar found that by failing to provide the registrar with information about his undertaking over an extended period of time, Mr. Gold failed to satisfy the public interest in this matter. The Registrar found that the failure to register resulted through inadvertence, and that he had no previous history of non-compliance. In assessing an appropriate penalty in light of these factors, the Registrar did not think a prohibition was necessary. Notwithstanding the non-compliance, the penalty was therefore confined to publication of Mr. Gold’s name on the Registry and this brief description of the non-compliance.