Integrity Commissioner Lynn Morrison welcomes the government’s proposal to update Ontario’s lobbying legislation.
“I have been calling for a thoughtful and considered review of the Act, and look forward to participating in the discussions,” Commissioner Morrison said. “This presents us with an opportunity to ensure Ontario’s legislation is again among the best in the country.”
In May the Commissioner released her recommendations for changes to the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998. Among the recommendations she outlined:
- Provide the province’s Lobbyists Registrar with investigative powers.
- Add the ability to impose sanctions, including public disclosure of violations, as well as the authority to issue administrative monetary penalties.
- Combine the two types of in-house lobbyists (persons & partnerships, and organizations). The Commissioner believes the current system is unnecessarily confusing. For example, in-house lobbyists in the first category must register individually; in-house lobbyists in the second are listed on a single form under the name of the organization’s senior officer. A simplified process would increase transparency.
- Eliminate the “significant part of duties” threshold. The Act requires that in-house lobbyists must register only if they spend 20% or more of their time on lobbying activities. The Commissioner recommends that all paid lobbyists should be required to register, regardless of the time spent lobbying.
The full list of the Commissioner’s recommendations can be found at www.oico.on.ca.
An Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Integrity Commissioner is independent of government. The Office has five key responsibilities: Members’ integrity, public service disclosure of wrongdoing (whistle-blowing), expenses review for Cabinet Ministers, Opposition leaders, and 21 of Ontario’s largest agencies,boards and commissions, Ministers’ staff ethical conduct and lobbyists registration.
Cathryn Motherwell, Director