The purpose of the Lobbyists Registry is to provide openness and transparency to the public with respect to who is lobbying the Ontario government and about what.
You are required to provide a complete description of your lobbying activities in the registration. Your statements must be clear and concise so that the public can easily identify and understand your lobbying goals. Identifying your lobbying goal is a requirement of the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 and the Integrity Commissioner, as Lobbyists Registrar, can investigate non-compliance with the Act.
- What is a lobbying goal?
To describe your lobbying goal, answer these questions:
What am I lobbying for? What am I seeking from the Ontario government on behalf of my client or my organization/company?
What is the intended outcome I hope to achieve as a result of my communications with the Ontario government?
If you are not seeking a change or you do not have a specific ‘ask’ of the Ontario government, why are you communicating with a public office holder?
For consultant lobbyists, what is your client’s lobbying goals? E.g., A consultant lobbyist’s ‘goal’ may only be to arrange a meeting between their client and a public office holder but what is the meeting about?
Provide this information in your registration.
- WHAT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED IN THE LOBBYING ACTIVITY SECTION OF THE REGISTRATION FORM?
Registrations will be refused if they provide minimal or non-specific information about lobbying activities such as ‘matters pertaining to energy policy’ or ‘discussions around Bill 123’. These descriptions are insufficient. You must state the exact matters or discussions you are referring to. If you are lobbying about a specific bill or program, include the bill’s name and number or the name of the program, in addition to the lobbying goal.
Pay special attention to the information on the registration form to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. For example, if a Bill has passed and you are no longer lobbying about this Bill, this entry should be removed or replaced.
‘Covering the waterfront’
Registrations will be refused if they outline lobbying activities that cover any and all possible outcomes, contain provisos such as ‘include but are not limited to…’ and list all MPPs, ministers’ offices, ministries and/or agencies that one might contact.
A registration that covers all possible outcomes is insufficient unless it also clearly states the current lobbying goal or intended outcome.
Just a list
Registrations will be refused if they provide just a list of subject matters in the lobbying activity section.
Lobbyists will have already selected the subject matter(s) about which they are lobbying in another section of the registration form. Providing a duplicate list of subject matter is not acceptable unless there is a comprehensive goal or intended outcome included.
‘Addressing issues, as they arise’
Registrations will be refused if they include this statement. Specific lobbying goals or intended outcomes of lobbying activities must be listed.
- HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE NOT PROVIDED ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT THE LOBBYING ACTIVITY OF THE REGISTRATION?
If the registration requires further information/clarification, it will be refused by the Registrar and reset to draft status.
An email will be sent to the lobbyist or senior officer and primary contact, if applicable, outlining the deficiencies. A deadline will be given to amend the registration form.
When the amended registration form has been re-submitted and reviewed, an email confirmation will be sent indicating that the registration has been published to the registry.
- WHAT IF I AM ‘MONITORING’ A PARTICULAR GOVERNMENT POLICY OR PIECE OF LEGISLATION ON BEHALF OF MY CLIENT OR ORGANIZATION/COMPANY? MAY I LIST THIS TYPE OF INFORMATION AS MY LOBBYING GOAL?
Keep in mind that ‘monitoring’ legislation or policies is not actually lobbying. However, in the event that you wish to maintain an active registration for transparency purposes be sure to include your objective. What are you monitoring? Remember, as soon as your monitoring activities change or progress, your registration must be updated within 30 calendar days to reflect the specific lobbying goal.
- HOW OFTEN MUST THE REGISTRATION BE UPDATED?
Any changes to your lobbying activities, your lobbying targets or any other information contained in the registration must be disclosed within 30 calendar days by filing a notice of change. You may do this by selecting ‘Change an existing registration (not a renewal)’ when logged in.
It is essential that all lobbyists understand their obligation to keep their registrations up to date. When activity changes, the registration must be reviewed and updated within 30 calendar days.
- DO I NEED TO PROVIDE MONTHLY REPORTS IN THE LOBBYING ACTIVITY SECTION ON SPECIFIC MEETINGS OR COMMUNICATIONS I HAVE WITH A PUBLIC OFFICE HOLDER?
No, you are not required to report on specific meetings you have with a public office holder.
- WHAT IS REQUIRED IN THE LOBBYING ACTIVITY SECTION WHEN I RENEW MY REGISTRATION?
Ensure that your registration captures current lobbying activities and lists the MPPs, ministers’ offices, ministries and/or agencies with whom you are communicating within the renewal period.
- I AM A CONSULTANT LOBBYIST. WHAT IF I AM NOT CURRENTLY LOBBYING, BUT I WISH TO KEEP MY REGISTRATION ACTIVE ‘JUST IN CASE’?
If you are a consultant lobbyist and you are no longer being retained to lobby on behalf of your client (i.e., no longer receiving payment from your client to lobby on their behalf), you are required to terminate your registration within 30 calendar days of completing your lobbying activities.
Your account will remain active, and you can create a new registration if or when your client retains your lobbying services again.