What are my responsibilities?
The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act does not prescribe special obligations for public office holders. This is normal since the Act governs the lobbyists' activities but not those of public office holders.
For example, the Act does not require that a public decision-maker check whether or not a lobbyist is registered in the Lobbyists Registry. Lobbyists are the ones who have the duty to declare their activities in the Lobbyists Registry and follow the rules when they lobby public office holders.
Although they have no legal obligations, public office holders would be well advised to adhere to the objectives of the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act. To do so, they can:
- get acquainted with the Act;
- provide managers and other staff members with information regarding the Act;
- target the sectors or programs whose activities are liable to be subject to lobbying;
- draw a picture of the situation by answering the following questions:
- are there lobbyists in their environment?
- who are these lobbyists (engineers, lawyers, urban planners,
government relations officers, etc.)?
- what are the decisions affected by influential communications?
- verify whether lobbyists are registered in the Lobbyists Registry;
- evaluate wether the lobbyists' behaviours are consistent with the Act or the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists;
- invite lobbyists to declare their activities in the registry or comply with the provisions of the Code of Conduct;
- highlight specific problems: people from outside who act as lobbyists and advisors at the same time or members of committees set up by a public organization who take advantage of their situation to lobby within this organization;
- provide for the adoption of rules requiring that those applying for grants indicate if they have hired a lobbyist and, if so, to specify whether he is in the registry;
- pay special attention to the section of the Act providing that a lobbyist may not receive compensation which comes from a grant;
- ensure the safekeeping of information concerning lobbying activities;
- broadly speaking, continue reflecting on issues of ethics and, why not, appoint someone to be in charge of ethical issues in their environment.