Banner image for the Lobbyist Registrar section.

Lobbying is communicating by a lobbyist with a public office holder about subject matters that are the subject of City government decisions. The Lobbyist Registry allows the public to see who is communicating with public office holders about governmental decisions — decisions that can affect you directly as a citizen of Toronto. Lobbyist Registrar enforces the Code of Conduct and other provisions of the Lobbying By-law that regulate lobbyists’ conduct.

Lobbyists need to register before lobbying a public office holder. Lobbyists must also log in and update your subject matter registration after you communicate with a public office holder. Lobbyists have three days to update their subject matters after communicating with a public office holder.

This questionnaire will help you determine if you are required to register with the City of Toronto Office of the Lobbyist Registrar.

Alternatively, you can print a copy of our flow chart for your records.

Answer the questions asked in the chart below and follow the flow. If you are still unable to determine if you are required to register please contact our office via email at lobbyistregistrar@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-338-5858.

Alternatively, you can use our interactive tool, which can help determine if you are required to register.

This flow chart is a guide to assist registrants using the Lobbyist Registry system determine whether they need to register with the City of Toronto's Lobbyist Registrar.

Registering to lobby is a two-part process. A lobbyist must have an approved lobbyist registration number and an approved subject matter number before lobbying can begin.

Registration is free and completed online.

Registering as a lobbyist is like setting up an account. Once registered, the lobbyist can then register more than one subject matter under this account — one for each different topic or issue they intend to lobby on.

The subject matter must be updated within three (3) business days after each communication.

To begin registering you will need to select the type of lobbyist you are: in-house, consultant, or voluntary. The information you’ll need for registering depends on your type, and you won’t be able to change your classification after registering.

For help determining which type of lobbyist you are, please see Different Lobbyist Classes in the section below. If you still need help, please contact us.

Only an appointed delegate can manage registrations or enter information into the Registry on the senior officer’s or consultant’s behalf. The senior officer or a consultant can appoint a delegate during initial registration or later by logging in and updating the lobbyist registration.

Although you’ll complete most of the registration online, you’ll need to submit two separate documents as part of the process:

Formal request for online registration. The formal request must be made in a letter, signed by the individual who registers. It must include your name and contact information. You can send this signed letter to us by mail, fax, or email (by attaching a scanned image of the signed letter) or deliver it to our office in person.

Certification form. As the final step in your lobbyist registration, you’ll be prompted to download a certification form. You must print, sign and send the form to us. Please note this form must also be witnessed. You can send this signed form by mail, fax, or email (by attaching a scanned image of the signed form) or deliver it to our office in person.

Full registration (approved lobbyist and subject matter registrations) will usually take less than 24 hours; but that depends on how quickly we receive the required documents and whether any changes and/or clarifications are needed prior to approving the registrations.

A note to in-house lobbyists!

If you are an employee, you should not register on behalf of your employer. The most senior officer (see § 140-20, SENIOR OFFICER) of the business or organization that employs you must register.

Online: To register as a lobbyist online please visit the secure Lobbyist Registry site

In Person: Access to a Walk-in Kiosk is available to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the purpose of completing a registration.

Lobbyist Registry Advisors are available to provide information or assistance Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by telephone at 416-338-5858 or by email at lobbyistregistrar@toronto.ca.

Overview of registering as a lobbyist

  • Broad overview video of registering as a lobbyist, adding the required subject matter and updating your registrations – Video

In-House Lobbyists

An in-house lobbyist is defined as either: (a) an employee of an individual, corporation, organization or other person, or a partnership, whose duties include lobbying on behalf of the employer or its subsidiary, (b) the sole proprietor of a business, who is lobbying on behalf of the business, or (c) a partner in a business, who is lobbying on behalf of the partnership.

  • Registering as an In-House Lobbyist – Video
  • Registering your In-House Lobbyist Subject Matter – Video
  • Adding Public Office Holders and Communication Methods – Video
  • Changing or Adding a Delegate – Video
  • Changing the Senior Officer – Video
  • Changing or Extending the Fiscal Year – Video
  • Changing or Extending the End Date – Video
  • Closing the Lobbyist Registration – Video
  • Closing the Subject Matter Registration – Video
  • Withdrawing a Subject Matter Registration – Video

Consultant and Voluntary Lobbyists:

Note that because the online registration forms for consultant and voluntary lobbyists are the same, these videos are helpful to both classes. But be sure to select the correct class of lobbyist when actually registering (if in doubt, please call us at 416-338-5858).

A consultant lobbyist is a person who lobbies on behalf of a client/ business/organization for payment. A consultant lobbyist is also a person who arranges meetings between public office holders and any other person for the purpose of lobbying.

Voluntary lobbyists volunteer to lobby (without payment) for a business or for-profit organization.

  • Registering as a Consultant / Voluntary Lobbyist – Video
  • Registering your Consultant / Voluntary Lobbyist Subject Matter – Video
  • Adding Public Office Holders and Communication Methods – Video
  • Changing or Adding a Delegate – Video
  • Changing or Extending the End Date – Video
  • Closing the Lobbyist Registration – Video
  • Closing the Subject Matter Registration – Video
  • Withdrawing a Subject Matter Registration – Video

  • A consultant lobbyist is someone who — for payment — lobbies on behalf of a client (another individual, company, partnership or organization). Additionally, if the consultant lobbyist arranges for a meeting between a public office holder and a third party, that is lobbying. (For the full definition, see §§ 140-11 and 140-1, “LOBBY” of the By-law.)
  • An in-house lobbyist is an employee, partner or sole proprietor who lobbies on behalf of their own employer, business or organization. (For the full definition, see § 140-20 of the By-law.)
  • A voluntary lobbyist is someone who — without payment — lobbies, or causes someone else to lobby, on behalf of a business or organization. Additionally, if the voluntary unpaid lobbyist arranges a meeting between a public office holder and a third party, that is lobbying. (For the full definition, see § 140-27 of the By-law.)

This is a checklist is designed to assist you in gathering the information required prior to registering with the City of Toronto Office of the Lobbyist Registrar

Lobbyist Registration

  • Name, position title and telephone number of the officer responsible for filing returns
  • Name and business address of the corporation.
  • Name and business address of the parent corporation and those subsidiaries that directly benefit from the lobbying
  • Names, titles, business address and telephone number of employees of the corporation who lobby
  • If any employee or senior officer named in the return is a former senior public office holder, a description of the position held with the City of Toronto
  • A general description of the employer’s business or activities
  • Fiscal year required is a 12 month period i.e. January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. If you do not have a fiscal year a 12 month period should be entered
  • Name and telephone number of any individual, business or organization that is funding the lobbying activity with contributions of more than $750 CAD. If the contribution was made on behalf of another individual, business or organization, the contribution source’s name and telephone number

Subject Matter Registration and Report of Communication

  • Subject matter including details about the specific proposal, bill or resolution, regulation, policy, program, grant, contribution, approval or other financial benefit or contract sought
  • Source of any government funding received by the corporation
  • Names of all in-house lobbyists who will be lobbying on this particular subject matter. If a committee will lobby, you need to select the committee and the proposed date of the communication.
  • Whether or not a grass-roots campaign will be used.
  • Name of each elected or appointed official lobbied and communication method used– reported within 3 business days after communication has occurred
  • Position title and division/agency of the employee lobbied – reported within 3 business days after communication has occurred

This is a checklist is designed to assist you in gathering the information required prior to registering with the City of Toronto Office of the Lobbyist Registrar.

Lobbyist Registration

  • Name, position title, business address and telephone number of the lobbyist
  • If the lobbyist is a former senior public office holder, a description of the position held within the City of Toronto
  • Name and business address of the parent corporation and those subsidiaries that directly benefit from the lobbying
  • Name and business address of the lobbying firm
  • If the client is a corporation, the name and business address of the parent corporation and those subsidiaries which directly benefit from the lobbying
  • Any person with significant control of a client must now be identified, Peron with Significant Control defined in s. 140-1 PERSON WITH SIGNIFICANT CONTROL
  • All entities that have an interest in the lobbying activities on behalf of a client
  • If the client is a coalition, the names and business addresses of the corporate and organizational members
  • Name and telephone number of any individual, business or organization that is funding the lobbying activity with contributions of more than $750 CAD. If the contribution was made on behalf of another individual, business or organization, the contribution source’s name and telephone number

Subject Matter Registration and Report of Communication

  • Subject matter including details about the specific proposal, bill or resolution, regulation, policy, program, grant, contribution
  • Source of any government funding provided to the client
  • Communication methods, including grassroots lobbying
  • Position title and division/agency of the employee lobbied – within 3 business days after communication has occurred

When acting in their official capacity, persons in the following groups do not need to register.

  • Not-for-profit community service organizations. (Please note that not-for-profits related to a for-profit interest or that are funded to advance a for-profit interest must register before lobbying.)
  • Municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
  • First Nations councils.
  • Foreign governments.
  • School boards.
  • Numerous exempt municipal level corporations and other bodies. (See Schedules A, B and C of the Lobbying By-law)
  • Public office holders of the City of Toronto.
  • People on the staff of — or making representations on behalf of — unions or other employee or labour groups acting on behalf of employees of the City or a local board (restricted definition) when communicating about normal labour-relations matters. (They do have to register when communicating about activities that aren’t related to normal labour relations.) See Schedules A, B and C of the Lobbying By-law for a list of some of these groups.

Whenever there is a breach or issues of non-compliance with the Lobbying By-law (the By-Law), the Lobbyist Registrar (the Registrar) has the following range of enforcement powers:

  • The Registrar may refuse to accept or may suspend, revoke, or remove a registration. This can happen when a registration fails to comply with the requirements of the By-law or where the lobbyist fails to provide all required or requested information.
  • The Registrar, on finding a breach of the By-law, may impose conditions for registration, continued registration and/or renewal of a registration.

For more details on enforcement powers, please see the Interpretation Bulletin, Enforcement of the Lobbying By-law.