As public affairs professionals and consultants or in-house government relations professionals, our focus is on providing context, clarifying the issues, verifying the facts and connecting Canadians with their government. Our work contributes to quality public policy, the creation of jobs, the encouragement of innovation, and meaningful dialogue between citizens, businesses, interest groups and governments.
A list of GRIC’s latest submissions and other items of interest is presented below. Tous les textes ne sont pas disponibles dans les deux langues officielles. Nous nous excusons de cet inconvénient.
GRIC Submission to the Canada Revenue Agency
The Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC) and the Public Affairs Association (PAAC) of Canada submitted comments in support of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Consultation on Political Activities by Registered Charities. Bringing rise to this effort was that many members of both GRIC and PAAC represent charitable organizations or work for them directly.
Online Lobbyist Registry Now Active – Government of Saskatchewan
The Lobbyists Act for Saskatchewan was proclaimed today. The Lobbyist Registry is an important part of maintaining public knowledge on lobbying activities in the Province of Saskatchewan. Lobbyists based inside or outside Saskatchewan have 30 days to register their activities. More information on the Registry and the legislation can be found on the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists’ website.
Once lobbyists begin registering information, the Registry, which is accessed through the website at www.sasklobbyistregistry.ca, will include names of lobbyists, the public office holders they are communicating with, and the activities they are engaging in to attempt to influence decisions. Citizens and other stakeholders are able to search the Registry to see what issues or subjects may be the object of lobbyists and which public office holders have been lobbied.
New Lobbying Rules Coming to Ontario
Amendments to Ontario’s lobbying rules are set to come into force July 1, 2016. These are the significant changes to Ontario’s Lobbyists Registration Act which received Royal Assent in late 2014. The Lobbyist Registrar’s Office has published some news articles detailing what you need to know. For more information on the Ontario’s Lobbyist Registry and how it might affect you, please visit www.oico.on.ca.
New Guidance on Rule 10 Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct – Gifts
The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada (OCL) has posted a new Commissioner’s Guidance for lobbyists regarding the application of Rule 10 of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct – Gifts. The Guidance can be found here: http://www.ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/01183.html. If you have further questions about how to avoid creating a conflict of interest for a public office holder, please contact the OCL.
Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct (2015)
The Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct (2015) was published in the November 7 issue of Canada Gazette. It is available here – http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2015/2015-11-07/html/commis-eng.php#cb10. The new Code comes into force on December 1, 2015. The 1997 Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct remains in force until it is replaced. The Code and guidance documentation can be found on the OCL website – https://ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/01187.html – and as an additional aid, an annotated Code that can be found here – https://ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/h_01185.html.
GRIC has been directly engaged on behalf of members in consultations with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying on both the development of the Code and the guidance materials released on November 7 through meetings, consultations, written submissions, and member roundtables. You can review the GRIC submissions below. We commend the Commissioner for her commitment to engaging stakeholders in meaningful and ongoing dialogue and her willingness to accommodate questions and provide clarity as requested to the extent possible. GRIC has consistently stated that the rules should be simple to follow, transparent and support an accessible policy environment for Parliamentarians and government officials.
Additionally, GRIC organized a briefing session for members with the Commissioner of Lobbying that was held on November 12, 2015 in Ottawa and November 17, 2015 in Calgary. In her presentations, the Commissioner highlighted and explained the changes in the new Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct. At the November 12 session, former Liberal Member of Parliament for the Nova Scotia constituency of Cape Breton Highlands-Canso, Francis LeBlanc moderated a Q&A with the Commissioner. A special acknowledgement to Alberta based GRIC Director Brian Gilbertson, Agrium Inc., and Member Alexis Ksiazkiewicz, University of Alberta, for their efforts in facilitating the Calgary session on November 17.
Commissioner’s Guidance for Lobbyists Regarding the Application of Rule 8 – Political Activities
(June 25, 2015) – Today the Lobbying Commissioner issued revised Guidance for Lobbyists (http://www.ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/01114.html) interested in participating in political campaigns. With member input provided to the Commissioner both following our Annual Meeting of Members earlier this month and through informal engagement, this Guidance provides some amount of additional clarity. GRIC continues to work in partnership with the Public Affairs Association of Canada to represent government and public affairs professionals publicly with governments and regulators.
GRIC Statement on the tabling of a Revised Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct
(May 25, 2015) – Today the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying (OCL) tabled a revised Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct. The Revised Code follows a consultation process on a number of proposed rule changes, in which the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC) and the Public Affairs Association of Canada (PAAC) participated extensively. The revised Code will be formally published in the Canada Gazette in the near future. That publication will include the date the Revised Code comes into effect. Until that time, the existing 1997 Code remains in force.
GRIC and PAAC are encouraged generally that the Revised Code brings a measure of clarity and consistency to some areas that were addressed by stakeholders in this process. In particular, we note the Revised Code responds to GRIC and PAAC’s recommendations with respect to the scope of the Code’s application, to the role of ‘most senior paid officer’ in ensuring compliance, and with respect to some aspects of situations where lobbyists and public office holders have a previous relationship. At the same time, we expect to hear concerns from our members with respect to the Revised Code’s cynical treatment of participation by public office holders in charitable and community events (suggesting that the judgment of MPs and Public Office Holders cannot be trusted if they accept a ticket to a dinner or lunch event).
Similarly, we note the Revised Code continues to assume that elected and appointed officials cannot be trusted to act in the public interest, when dealing with someone with whom they have a previous relationship. However, we are encouraged that OCL has left the door open to considering further specificity around definitions and time frames with respects to gifts and relationships. GRIC and PAAC will continue to assess these rule changes and will work with OCL to ensure they are implemented and interpreted as consistently and transparently as possible. And we also await the introduction of legislation amending both the Lobbying Act and Conflict of Interest Act, as having a material impact on the future of the Code and its interpretation.
Déclaration de l’Institut de relations gouvernementales du Canada sur le dépôt du Code révisé de déontologie des lobbyistes
(25 mai 2015) – Aujourd’hui, le Commissariat au lobbying du Canada (CAL) a déposé une version révisée du Code de déontologie des lobbyistes. Le Code a été révisé suite à un processus de consultation portant sur un certain nombre de changements aux règles, auquel l’Institut de relations gouvernementales du Canada (IRGC) et l’Association des affaires publiques du Canada (AAPC) ont largement participé. Le Code révisé sera officiellement publié dans la Gazette du Canada dans un futur proche. Cette publication comprendra la date à laquelle ce Code révisé prendra effet. D’ici là, la version actuelle de 1997 demeure en force.
L’IRGC et l’AAPC se réjouissent que le Code révisé apporte une mesure de clarté et d’uniformité à certains éléments soulevés par les intervenants lors du processus. Plus particulièrement, nous avons noté que le Code révisé répond aux recommandations de l’IRGC et de l’AAPC en ce qui a trait à la portée de l’application du Code, au rôle de « Premier dirigeant rémunéré » et chargé de la conformité aux règles, et en ce qui concerne certaines situations où les lobbyistes et les titulaires d’une charge publique fédérale entretenaient déjà des liens. Par ailleurs, nous prévoyons que nos membres auront des inquiétudes concernant le traitement cynique envers la participation de titulaires d’une charge publique à des événements caritatifs et communautaires (ce qui sous-entend qu’on ne peut faire confiance au jugement des députés et des titulaires d’une charge publique dans le cas où ils accepteraient un billet à un dîner ou à un déjeuner).
De même, nous notons que le Code révisé continue d’assumer que les représentants élus et nommés ne sont pas dignes de confiance pour agir dans l’intérêt public, lorsqu’ils traitent avec des personnes avec lesquelles ils ont déjà entretenu des liens. Toutefois, nous nous réjouissons que le CAL ait laissé la porte ouverte au caractère spécifique de certaines définitions et de délais concernant les cadeaux et les relations. L’IRGC et l’AAPC continueront d’évaluer ces changements aux règles et travailleront avec le CAL pour faire en sorte qu’ils soient appliqués et interprétés de manière aussi cohérente et transparente que possible. Nous attendons également le dépôt de mesures législatives visant à amender la Loi sur le lobbying et la Loi sur les conflits d’intérêts, lesquelles ont une incidence sur l’avenir du Code et sur son interprétation.
GRIC Submission to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
(December 19, 2014) – Today the Government Relations Institute of Canada and the Public Affairs Association of Canada filed a submission with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, as part of its ongoing review of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct.
The Canadian Advocacy Network
GRIC is a proud supporter of the Canadian Advocacy Network (CAN) and the work it is doing to bring skilled government relations practitioners together with charities and not-for-profits whose good work can be enhanced by our industry’s unique skills. CAN connects charities and not-for-profits with public affairs professionals who offer advice and support on a pro-bono basis.
Are you working in a public affairs/government relations role and are looking to give back to your community? Are you, or is somebody you know, involved with a charity or not-for-profit which is looking for pro-bono help on strategic issues like public affairs, government relations, advocacy? On November 27, 2014, CAN hosted a reception to recognize current volunteers and participating organizations as well as to encourage those who are interested in getting involved! Members of the CAN Board also provided an overview of the regulatory framework governing the interactions between charities and the federal government.Next Page »