The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act exists since 2002.
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I need a confidentiality order
What is a confidentiality order?
A confidentiality order is a decision made by the Lobbyists Commissioner to have all or part of the information contained in a declaration entered in the Lobbyists Registry remain confidential for a specific length of time.
Who issues the confidentiality order?
The Commissioner issues the confidentiality order and can order that certain information, even all information, contained in a declaration to the registry not be made available to the public.
On what basis does the Commissioner make a decision when an application for a confidentiality order is submitted to him?
The order is only issued if the lobbyist can prove that the disclosure of information relative to an investment project and could seriously hinder the economic or financial interests of his client or firm.
Does the issuance of a confidentiality order exempt from having to register in the Lobbyists Registry?
No. The obligation to make a declaration in the Lobbyists Registry remains. The only effect of the confidentiality order is to temporarily prevent the public from having acess to certain information. When the implementation period of the order has expired, this information becomes public and available in the Lobbyists Registry.
How long do the effects of a confidentiality order last?
A confidentiality order is valid for six months. The Lobbyists Commissioner can extend this deadline at the request of the interested party provided the latter complies with the provisions of the Act.
Example of a confidentiality order application which is denied
Justine is a consultant lobbyist and she represents a client wishing to invest several million dollars in the construction of a hotel complex in the city of Beauséjour. This new complex is to be built on a site adjoining the one where this client already operates a luxury hotel.
Justine asks the Lobbyists Commissioner that the name of the client, or the subject-matter of his activities, not be released. In fact, her client maintains that if this information appeared in the lobbyists registry, it would upset neighbourhood residents and embitter already strained relations.
Although, in this example, we are dealing with an investment project, the facts that are called forth fail to support the conclusion that disclosing the lobbying activity could seriously jeopardize the economic or financial interest of Justine's client. The confidentiality order requested will therefore have to be denied and the subject-matter of the lobbying activities will appear in the lobbyists registry.
To carry off his project, Henry's client must get the zoning by-law changed. His fear is that his competitors will foil the project if they learn of its existence in the lobbyists registry. This is what happened to another of Henry's clients last year when he was planning to build a similar centre, but smaller in size, in the same location. Henry does not want this client to suffer the same setback.
In this example, Henry's client draws upon objective facts to prove that the disclosure of the information in the lobbyists registry could seriously jeopardise his economic or financial interests or those of his firm, by bringing to light the construction of the agri-food megacenter.