Question 1: What is lobbying?
Lobbying is the act of communicating verbally or in writing with an elected official or a public official on behalf of a client, company or organization1 in order to influence one or more of these decisions:
- the development, introduction, amendment or defeat of any legislative or regulatory proposal, resolution, policy, program or action plan;
- the issuance of any permit, licence, certificate or other authorization;
- the awarding of any contract, other than by way of a call for public tenders, or of any grant or other financial benefit, or the granting of any other form of benefit determined by government regulation;
- the appointment of any public office holder within the meaning of the Loi sur le Ministère du Conseil exécutif (member of a board of directors, or member of a government agency or enterprise) or senior public officials (Secretaries-General or Secretaries of the Ministère du Conseil exécutif and the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor, and the deputy ministers).
1Non-profit organizations constituted to serve management, union or professional interests, or those mostly constituted of for-profit enterprises, or representatives of such enterprises, are subject to the Act.
Question 2. Am I a lobbyist and do I have to register with the Lobbyists Registry?
You are a lobbyist if:
- you are working on behalf of a client, an enterprise or an organization;
- you communicate with a parliamentary, government or municipal official or an elected representative;
- you are aiming to influence a legislative, regulatory or administrative decision.
Such communications may be in writing, by telephone or in person.
Question 3. When do lobbyists have to declare their lobbying activities in the Lobbyists Registry?
Consultant lobbyists must register no later than 30 days following the date on which they began their lobbying activities.
In the case of enterprise or organization lobbyists, the most senior officer must register with the Lobbyists Registry within 60 days of starting the lobbying activities. However, this 60-day period applies only to the initial declaration of the enterprise or organization. Subsequently, all other declarations must always be made within a maximum of 30 days.
The most senior officer of an enterprise or organization may request that registry staff complete a proxy form allowing him or her to legally designate another person (duly authorized representative) to prepare, sign and publish the declarations and notices on their behalf.
Question 4. How does one register with the Lobbyists Registry?
Online registration is free.
Procedure to follow:
- Obtain a client code and complete the electronic form by going to the Lobbyists Registry website or by contacting Client Service of the Lobbyists Registry at 1-855-297-5762.
- Complete all the fields of the declaration by giving a true and transparent picture of the lobbying activities being or about to be carried out.
You may also register by means of a paper form. To do so, contact Client Service of the Lobbyists Registry at 1-855-297-5762 or go to the Lobbyists Registry website. An initial declaration or renewal in paper form in the Lobbyists Registry costs $174.
Question 5. What obligations must lobbyists meet?
Lobbyists must conduct their activities in a transparent manner and comply with the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act and Code of Conduct for Lobbyists. Consult the section Legal obligations to learn more. Lobbyists who do not comply with the Act may face penal sanctions, disciplinary sanctions and/or civil action. Consult the section "Non-compliance with the Act" to learn more.
Question 6. Does the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act apply outside Québec?
Public office holders of Québec institutions remain the holders of the office, regardless of where they are located. It is therefore possible that they may be the subject of lobbying activities, even when they are outside Québec.
Below are three situations in which the Act applies to a lobbying activity conducted outside Québec with a Québec public office holder. In all three cases, registration in the lobbyist registry is required.
- A lobbying activity performed by a consultant lobbyist, whether residing or not in Quebec, for a client.
- A lobbying activity by a lobbyist residing in Québec on behalf of a Québec enterprise (constituted in Québec) or a foreign enterprise (not constituted in Québec).
- A lobbying activity by a lobbyist not residing in Québec and acting on behalf of a Québec enterprise.
- A lobbying activity by a lobbyist not residing in Québec and acting on behalf of a foreign enterprise that meets one of the following conditions:
- has their head office in Québec;
- conducts an activity in Québec (operates a business, performs an act in order to make a profit or has an address, including a post office box or a telephone line);
- possesses a building, a mortgage on a building or a mining right (claim) in Québec.