Bulletin #4

Publicly Funded Lobbyists Restriction under the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010

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).

 

Summary

Section 4 of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 (BPSAA) restricts the use of public funds to pay for lobbyists. This Bulletin assists consultant lobbyists to determine if their clients are subject to restrictions on using public funds for lobbying set out in the BPSAA.

 

Interpretation                                                

Section 3.1 of the LRA, prohibits consultant lobbyists from lobbying on behalf of clients who are not in compliance with section 4 of the BPSAA. Section 4 of the BPSAA restricts certain entities (clients) from using public funds, which may include funds from revenue generated, to pay for lobbyist services provided by a consultant lobbyist (referred to in this bulletin as “the restriction”). It is an offence under s. 18(7.1) of the LRA, for a consultant lobbyist to carry out lobbying activities for entities that are not in compliance with the restrictions. 

 

The following entities are affected by the restriction:

-all public bodies listed in O.Reg. 147/10 under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006

-Ontario Power Generation and its subsidiaries; and

-Independent Electricity System Operator. 

-hospitals;

-school boards;

-universities;

-colleges;

-children’s aid societies; and

-community care access corporations. 

 

Other entities may be affected by the restriction if they are a “publicly funded organization” that has received $10 million or more in the previous fiscal year from the Ontario government. As set out in s. 1 and s. 4(2)(b) of the BPSAA, a “publicly funded organization” is one that meets the following three criteria:

(1) it is an authority, board, commission, committee, corporation, council, foundation or organization that received public funds in the previous fiscal year from the Government of Ontario, and

(2) the public funds did not include: money paid for goods or services, under a fee for service arrangement or as a loan. 

(3) is not one of the following organizations which are specifically excluded from the definition of “publicly funded organization” in section 1(1) of the BPSAA:

(a) the Office of the Lieutenant Governor,

(b) the Office of the Assembly or the office of an officer of the Assembly,

(c) a ministry of the Government of Ontario,

(d) an agency of the Government of Ontario,

(e) a municipality,

(f) a local board as defined in section 1 of the Municipal Act, 2001 and section 3 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006,

(g) a board of health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act,

(h) an organization that undertakes its activities for the purpose of profit to its shareholders,

(i) a long-term care home, or

(j) any organization excluded through O. Reg. 219/11 under the BPSAA i.e. a district social services administration board or a First Nation.

Consultant lobbyists whose clients are affected by the restriction must file, with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, an attestation that has been signed by their client stating that public funds are not being used to pay for the lobbying services. An attestation form is available on the website of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner*.

 

Application

This Bulletin applies to the following types of lobbyists:

-          consultant lobbyists

 

Relevant Legislation

This Interpretation Bulletin considers the following sections of the LRA: s. 3.1 and s. 4(4) paragraph 14.1

This Interpretation Bulletin also considers the following sections of the BPSAA: s.1 “agency of the Government of Ontario”, “broader public sector organization”, “designated broader public sector organization”, “lobbyist”, “lobbyist services”, “public funds”, “publicly funded organization”; and s.4.

 

History

-First issued: June 24, 2011

-Amended on: July 1, 2016

 

Authority

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.

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