How can you recognize a lobbying activity?
As a public office holder within a parliamentary, government or municipal institution, you are called upon to handle a wide variety of files. In certain cases you have to answer people who contact you on behalf of an individual, a group of people, a business or an organization representing special interests.
The purpose of these contacts is often to make representations to modify legislative or administrative measures, revise the scope of a law or regulation, obtain a permit, a licence or a fiinancial benefit, or to adopt a new policy in a specific line of activity. When this is the case, you are in the presence of lobbying activities.
All oral or written communications in an attempt to influence the decision-making of a public office holder, when carried out by a lobbyist, are lobbying activities when they deal with the following objects:
For additional information, consult the Notices of the Commissioner in the Documentation Centre.
- the development, presentation, modification or rejection of a legislative or regulatory proposal, resolution, orientation, program or action plan;
- the issuance of a permit, licence, certificate or other authorization;
- the granting of a contract, other than by way of a call for public tenders, a grant or another financial benefit or the awarding of another form of benefit determined by government;
- the appointment of a public administrator or Deputy Minister;
- the arranging, on behalf of another, of a meeting or interview with a public office holder.
Here is an example in which the decisions of several public office holders are influenced by a lobbyist:
A property developer puchases a lot of several hectares in the vicinity of an urban centre. This lot, now disused, has long been used as a storage site for various industrial products. The developer would like to make it available for recreotourism. The investment required to convert this site reaches several millions of dollars. In order to carry his project through, the developer hires a legal advisor.
Steps are taken with the different public authorities concerned, for example the departmental staff of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks and the Deputy Minister. The advisor commissioned by the developer also informs the mayor, city councillors and the general director of the municipality of the nature of the project. He then begins negotiations on the subject of zoning by-laws, allowed uses and the new infrastructures required for the project's implementation.
The persons contacted at the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs, the mayor and the city councillors as well as the general director of the municipality, all of them public office holders, can thus be influenced by the activities of the advisor hired by the developer, that is to say, the lobbyist.
What is not a lobbying activity?
Among other things, the Act does not consider the following to be lobbying activities:
- representations made within the framework of judicial or adjudicative proceedings;
- representations made within the framework of a parliamentary commission or a municipal assembly open to the public;
- representations made within the framework of public proceedings or proceedings that are a matter of public records (French) (31.95KB);
- representations made as part of labour contract negotiations;
- representations made by a public office holder to another public office holder;
- representations made with the sole purpose of promoting the existence or characteristics of a product;
- representations made in response to a written request from a public office holder;
- representations made in the framewok of calls for public tenders issued under the authority of a public office holder.