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.
Guidance – Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct
Today, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying (OCL) released several new guidances related to the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists. The updated guidances replace the current documents and cover important topics including political activities (Rule 9), gifts (Rule 10) and conflict of interest resulting from preferential access (Rule 7 & 8).
There are no major shifts in policy in the new guidances. Overall, we are pleased to see brevity and more clarity in the new guidances and believe this will make them easier to understand and enforce. While the new versions do not address all issues raised by members in the past, they do take significant steps in the right direction addressing several of the key pain points previously identified by the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC), on behalf of our members. After several years without change, we appreciate the Commissioner’s efforts to undertake these revisions at this time.
The OCL consulted with both government stakeholders and industry, including GRIC, in developing these updated guidances. On behalf of GRIC members, we were able to affect change in several areas during the consultation which we feel has resulted in clearer, simpler and more useful guidance on these rules for the benefit of the government relations community. GRIC collaborated with our partners at the Public Affairs Association of Canada (PAAC) to inform our recommendations to the OCL.
You can access the new guidance documents here https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/h_00015.html
Prince Edward Island Lobbyists Registration Act: Overview
For PEI lobbyists, the Lobbyists Registration Act and Regulations are scheduled to come into force April 1, 2019. Read more on the Department of Justice and Public Safety webpage at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/justice-and-public-safety/prince-edward-island-lobbyists-registration-act-overview
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Lobbying
The Commissioner of Lobbying Canada, Nancy Bélanger, tabled her 2017-18 Annual Report. The report covers the period of April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, and is the first Annual Report from Commissioner Bélanger since her appointment on December 30, 2017.
You can find the Commissioner’s Annual Report here: https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/01462.html
Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for British Columbia News Release
The Province of British Columbia announced today that an amendment to the Lobbyists Registration Act will come into force on May 1, 2018. For more information please visit https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/publications/news/
Update from the Office of the Integrity Commissioner
For Ontario lobbyists, an important update from the Office of the Integrity Commissioner: Guidance for Lobbyists on Political Activity. Read more here http://www.oico.on.ca/home/lobbyists-registration/guidance-for-lobbyists-on-political-activity.
Prime Minister nominates new federal Lobbying Commissioner
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the nomination of Nancy Bélanger as the next Commissioner of Lobbying.
Ms. Bélanger currently serves as Deputy Commissioner, Legal Services and Public Affairs, with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. Her legal career with the federal Public Service spans more than two decades, including six years as General Counsel for the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. In the past decade, she has served in the offices of two Agents of Parliament. In 2007, she joined the senior management team as General Counsel at the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. In July 2013, she became General Counsel and Director of Legal Services for the Office of the Information Commissioner, a position she held until August 2017 when she became Deputy Commissioner, Legal Services and Public Affairs.
Ms. Bélanger’s nomination will need to be approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada. She is being nominated for a term of seven years.
GRIC has had a productive working relationship with Commissioner Karen Shepherd over the years, which we have greatly appreciated. We look forward to pursuing the same with Ms. Bélanger following approval of her nomination by Parliament.
We will continue to keep GRIC members updated as the nomination process unfolds.
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Update from the Office of the Integrity Commissioner
For Ontario lobbyists, an important update from the Office of the Integrity Commissioner (OIC): Guidance for Lobbyists on Gifts & Benefits.
Lobbyists should be cautious about offering a gift to or paying for a meal for a public office holder. Offering a gift or benefit may lead to the individual being placed in a real or potential conflict of interest, either at the time or in the future. If that happens, a lobbyist could be found to be non-compliant with the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998.
The OIC has prepared a resource to assist lobbyists on the issue of gifts. Read more here http://www.oico.on.ca/home/lobbyists-registration/resources/guidance—gifts
Submission to the Treasury Board Secretariat
On October 29, 2017, the Treasury Board Secretariat wrapped up their consultation on the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management.
The Government Relations Institute of Canada took this opportunity to reiterate our view that there should be improved regulatory alignment between the Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbying Act, to ensure clarity and address ongoing confusion.
You can find our submission posted at http://open.canada.ca/en/appendices
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.
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