What is an Advisory Opinion?
An Advisory Opinion is a written opinion by the Integrity Commissioner, as Lobbyists Registrar. In an Advisory Opinion, the Commissioner answers questions about an individual’s obligations under the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998.
While the Guide to the Lobbyists Registration Act and the Interpretation Bulletins provide general information about the application of the Act, an Advisory Opinion provides detailed guidance based on the specific facts of a lobbying situation.
When should I request an Advisory Opinion?
You should ask for an Advisory Opinion if you have a specific question about your obligations under the Act. For example, you may be unsure about whether your particular activities are considered lobbying and require registration, or whether you can lobby someone you used to work with, or how to report a client’s government funding on your registration.
The Advisory Opinion will provide you with guidance particular to your situation.
How should I request an Advisory Opinion?
Here are some tips for requesting an Advisory Opinion:
- Your question(s) must be in writing – email is best. Send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your request must be based on a real and current situation. The Commissioner will not give you advice about general or hypothetical matters or about events that have already happened.
- Include all the relevant details. If the Office needs to ask for more information or clarify the situation, it will take longer to consider and prepare the opinion.
- Give the Commissioner as much time as possible to provide the opinion. Some issues can be complex and can take time to assess.
- The Commissioner can give advice only about your obligations. So:
a) If you are lobbying and you have questions about your own obligation to avoid placing public office holders in a conflict of interest, you can ask the Commissioner for advice.
b) If you need advice for a client or a colleague at your firm, ask your client or colleague to send an email to the Office authorizing the request. The client or colleague can also ask the Commissioner for the advice directly.
c) If you work for a company or organization that does its own lobbying and you want to know if you need to register, the senior officer of your company or organization can ask the Commissioner for advice. This is because the senior officer is responsible for registering your lobbying, not you.
What else should I know about Advisory Opinions?
The Commissioner will not publish or share your request for an Advisory Opinion, or the opinion itself.
While the Commissioner takes care to ensure Advisory Opinions are accurate, they are not binding and are not a substitute for legal advice.