Lawyers who engage in lobbying activity on behalf of a client
The Integrity Commissioner as the Lobbyists Registrar maintains an online public record of lobbyists and conducts investigations into non-compliance with the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 (LRA).
This Bulletin clarifies that a lawyer who engages in lobbying on behalf of a client is required to register on the Ontario Lobbyists Registry
There is no exemption in the LRA for lawyers. A lawyer who is retained by a client to engage in lobbying must register as a consultant lobbyist. A lawyer who is an employee of any entity or a paid director with a for-profit entity lobbying on behalf of the entity employer may be required to register as an in-house lobbyist if the 50-hour in-house lobbyist threshold has been reached. (See Interpretation Bulletin #3 for more information on the in-house lobbyist threshold.)
Lobbying refers to time spent communicating with public office holders in an attempt to influence certain government activities. It does not include time spent preparing for such communications such as developing research papers or other resources. For consultant lobbyists, lobbying also includes arranging meetings or attempting to influence the awarding of a contract. The obligation to register under the LRA is consistent with the requirements for lawyers to disclose which interests are being advanced when seeking legislative or administrative changes under Rule 5.6(2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Law Society of Upper Canada).
This Bulletin applies to the following types of lobbyists:
-in-house lobbyists (organizations) and (persons and partnerships)
This Interpretation Bulletin considers the following sections of the LRA: a. 1.1 “lobby”
-First issued: October 28, 2011
-Amended on: July 1, 2016
The Registrar may issue an interpretation bulletin with respect to the enforcement, interpretation or application of the LRA as set out in section 15 of the LRA. It is intended solely to provide information and is not a substitute for independent legal advice. This Bulletin is not a binding statement of how the legislation will be interpreted or applied in a particular circumstance. Final interpretation of the law is the responsibility of the courts.