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Le commissaire au lobbyisme du Québec veille au respect de la Loi sur la transparence et l'éthique en matière de lobbyisme et au Code de déontologie des lobbyistes.

Confidentiality order

The confidentiality order is an exception covered by the Act (section 49). A confidentiality order is a decision by the Commissioner of Lobbying allowing all or part of the information contained in an inscription to the Lobbyists Registry to be masked. This confidentiality of information is possible when the lobbying activities concern an investment project where the disclosure of the information could cause serious prejudice to the economic or financial interests of your enterprise or your client.

A confidentiality order does not provide an exemption from the obligation to register in the Registry. The only effect of the order is to temporarily prevent the public from learning certain information. When the period of application of the order has elapsed, the information in question becomes public and accessible in the Registry.

Who can obtain an order?

The senior officer of an enterprise, a consultant lobbyist or their duly authorized representative

What is the duration of the confidentiality order?

The duration of a confidentiality order is six months. The Commissioner may extend this duration according to the criteria defined in the Act. However, the Commissioner may lift the confidentiality order, even within the period covered by it, if the grounds that justified the order are no longer valid.

On what ground does the Commissioner make a decision?

The applicant must prove the following points:

  • subject to a confidentiality order;
  • the risk of serious prejudice to economic or financial interests must be probable and not simply possible or hypothetical;
  • the proof of risk of serious prejudice must be based on objective facts; mere allegations, fears or hypotheses are not sufficient;
  • the description of potential serious prejudice to economic or financial interests in question must be stated specifically and not general terms; the applicant must demonstrate that the prejudice could reasonably be expected to occur immediately.

Exemple 1
Henri wishes to invest in the construction of an agri-food megacentre where multiple services would be offered: restaurants, public market, fine groceries and large-surface stores. The development of the project requires an amendment to the zoning by-law. 

Henri has asked all his employees working on this project to sign a confidentiality agreement. The project is a strategic orientation for his enterprise, which is currently operating in the refrigerated food transport industry. He fears losing his current customers if they learn he is abandoning transport to invest in the megacentre. Henri believes that if the information is disclosed in the Registry, his market loss could amount to one million dollars, or half the enterprise's current turnover. A financial report accompanies Henri's application to support his estimates. Will his application for an order be accepted?

Yes
The criteria of section 49 of the Act are met; the application is accepted. 

Example 2
Justine is a consultant lobbyist and represents a client wishing to invest in the construction of a hotel complex on the neighbouring site to the one where this client already operates a hotel. She is intervening with the Ministère du Tourisme to obtain grants. Justine asks the Commissioner of Lobbying to mask her client's name and the subject-matter of her lobbying activities. Given the already difficult relations with the hotel's neighbours, she explains that if this information appears in the Lobbyists Registry, they necessarily will oppose the construction of a second hotel. Will her application for an order be accepted?

No
Even though an investment project is involved, the mere allegation that the project will not be carried out considering the neighbourhood opposition, without other explanations, is insufficient to prove a risk of serious prejudice to her client's economic or financial interests. The application is rejected.

How to apply for a confidentiality order

Step 1: Your application for a confidentiality order must be accompanied by avalid draft of your inscription in the Lobbyists Registry. You must therefore prepare a draft return, including the information you wish to mask, and submit it to the Registry.

Important note: In your draft inscription in the Registry, in Section C - Confidentiality of certain information, you must check [yes].

Section C - Confidentiality of certain information
Is certain information contained in this form the object of a confidentiality order rendered by the Commissioner of Lobbying? 
Yes
No 

Step 2: Complete the confidentiality order application form:

Step 3: Send your form, accompanied by all documents in support of your application, in one of the following ways:

  • online
  • by registered mail or by courier, to the following address:
    Commissaire au lobbyisme du Québec
    70, rue Dalhousie, bur. 220
    Québec (Québec)  G1K 4B2
  • by email, to the following address: ordonnance@commissairelobby.qc.ca
  • by fax, accompanied by a cover page marked "Confidential", to the following number: 418-643-2028

Step 4: To apply for an extension or a renewal, complete one of the following forms:

  • you wish to extend your confidentiality order  Extension form
  • you have already obtained a confidentiality order and its extension, and you wish to maintain the confidentiality of the information  Renewal form