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Legal obligations of lobbyists

The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act sets obligations the lobbyists have to meet. As the title of the Act indicates, these obligations mainly concern transparency and the proper conduct of lobbying activities.

Transparency of lobbying activities
The transparency of lobbying activities is based on the Lobbyists Registry, which has been in operation since November 2002. In this registry, the lobbyists themselves must declare various information concerning their clients or the businesses and organizations whose interests they represent. Lobbyists must also disclose, among other things, the purpose of their lobbying activities, the period covered by these activities as well as the name of the parliamentary, government or municipal institution to which these activities are directed.

The Lobbyists Registry can be consulted free of charge at any time, on the Internet, at www.lobby.gouv.qc.ca.

Proper lobbying activities
To ensure the proper conduct of lobbying activities, the Act provides for various rules to regulate the practice of lobbying. Some of these rules are within the Act while others are provided in the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists.

Here are some of these rules:
  • consider the public interest when making representations;

     
  • act with professionalism, honesty and integrity;

     
  • ensure the accuracy and validity of the information transmitted;

     
  • respect the right to accurate information in communications meant to influence public opinion;

     
  • refrain from making false or deceptive representations to a public office holder or from deliberately misleading a person;

     
  • not incite the public office holder to contravene the rules of conduct he is required to follow;

     
  • refrain from exerting undue (unreasonable) pressure on a public office holder;

     
  • abstain from any conflict of interest situation or from representing clients whose interests are competitive or conflicting, unless those concerned have given their consent and the public office holder has been notified;

     
  • inform the public office holder of the identity of one's clients and of the subject-matter of one's lobbying activities.
To know all the obligations that must be fulfilled by lobbyists who communicate with a public office holder, see the unabridged version of the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act and of the Code of Conduct of Lobbyists.

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