Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998: proposed regulatory changes
O. Reg 722/98
Proposed new regulation
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998
Summary of Decision:
O. Reg 133/16 (Deemed Service of Notices) was filed with the Registrar of Regulations May 10, 2016. The regulation comes into force July 1, 2016, the day section 13 of Schedule 8 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 comes into force.
O. Reg 722/98 (General) is revoked on July 1, 2016.
February 3, 2016
Summary of Proposal:
The Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 establishes a publicly available lobbyists' registry and regulates the activities of lobbyists at the provincial level in Ontario. Lobbying occurs when a paid individual communicates with a public office holder in an attempt to influence certain governmental or legislative decisions. Lobbyists are required to register with the Lobbyists Registrar, who is the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario.
The Act was amended by Schedule 8 of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014, which received Royal Assent on December 11, 2014. The amendments to the Act have not yet been proclaimed into force. The key changes to the Act include, among other things, new investigative and enforcement powers for the Registrar and new rules for the registration of lobbyists.
Proposed New Regulation
Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) now proposes a new regulation under the Act to help enable the Registrar's new investigative functions. The proposed regulation would prescribe the following:
1. Notice periods with respect to the Registrar's new investigative function.
Sections 17.5, 17.6, and 17.7 of the amended Act require the Registrar to give written notices to persons under specified circumstances. These notices will be required when the Registrar has completed an investigation and believes that a person has not complied with a provision of the act, when an actual finding of non-compliance has been made, and when a decision has been made on reconsideration of a finding or penalty. These written notices may be delivered personally, by e-mail to the address provided by the person, or by registered mail.
TBS proposes a new regulation that would prescribe when written notice given by the Registrar under these sections of the Act would be deemed to have been received.
A notice sent by e-mail would be deemed to have been received on the earlier of:
a. The day the person receives the e-mail, or
b. the first business day after the e-mail is sent.
A notice sent by registered mail would be deemed to have been received on the earlier of:
a. The day the person receives the registered mail, or
b. five business days after the registered mail is sent.
Proposed Revocation of Existing Regulation
TBS also proposes the revocation of Ontario Regulation 722/98 made under the Act in its entirety. Revoking this regulation would result in the deletion of the following provisions:
Currently, sections 1 to 4 of the regulation require fees to be paid when filing a return to the Registrar on paper or by fax. No fees are payable with respect to returns that are filed electronically.
The Registrar collects most registrations online, and has never in fact collected fees for registrations on paper or by fax. Therefore, these provisions are not required. However, note that the power to make regulations with respect to fees remains in the Act to be used if needed: see clauses 19 (b) and (c).
2. Definition of an in-house lobbyist (re: the amount of time spent lobbying)
Currently, sections 5 and 6 of the regulation set out a threshold for what constitutes a "significant part of duties", which is relevant to determining whether registration as an in-house lobbyist is required. The amended Act now sets a threshold of at least 50 hours a year, or such other number of hours as may be prescribed: see subsections 5 (7) and 6 (5). No other number of hours would be prescribed in the regulation.
Corporate Policy and Accountability Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N3
July 1, 2016