Annual Report

The Annual Report of the Toronto Lobbyist Registrar (TLR) for the Year 2019 was adopted by City Council at its meeting held on July 28 and 29, 2020.  View this document in our Reports section.

Highlights from the 2019 Annual Report

  1. The total number of lobbying communications reported in 2019 with all Public Office Holders (POH) was 6,379.
  2. Lobbying Communications Reported Across All Categories of POH in 2019
Employees of the City 2,299 or 36%
Members of Council 2,082 or 33%
Staff of Members of Council 1,832 or 29%
Employees of Local Board 157 or 2%
Members of Local Board 9 or 0%

 

  1. In 2019, the total number of active lobbyist registrations was 2,035, and the total number of active subject matter registrations was 3,019.
  2. There were 41 grass-roots lobbying campaigns launched in 2019.

TLR Staff Continue to Work Remotely

Please be reminded that the requirements of the Toronto Lobbying By-law remain in effect.  Until a notice of change, our office at 375 University Avenue, Suite 201, remains closed and the staff continue to work remotely.

Should you need assistance with the Registry, please contact an Advisor at lobbyistregistrar@toronto.ca.  Should you need the assistance of the Inquiries and Investigations Unit, please contact them at LobbyistRegistrarInquiry@toronto.ca.  The Toronto Lobbyist Registrar remains committed to providing the full services of the office during these extraordinary times.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Lobbyist Registry System (LRS) Upgraded

Important upgrades to the LRS have been made.  The new LRS was deployed in January 2020.  It enables broader search capabilities for all users, and lobbyists are able to manage their registrations on different browser types and through mobile devices.

The TLR offered training sessions for the new LRS just after its launch in early 2020.  Additional training sessions in virtual format are being planned for the remainder of 2020.  Notification of upcoming dates of our future training sessions will be forwarded by email, on our webpage and through our social media platforms.  If you would like to register, be sure to check your email and watch for our notices as space is limited.

Thank you to City Clerk’s IT for their input, support, and collaboration with respect to the upgrades to the LRS.

Planned Implementation of Administrative Sanctions in 2020

The Registrar’s enforcement powers were expanded through the Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2017, with the added authority to impose administrative sanctions, including administrative monetary penalties.  These will expand the range of corrective actions from minor for less grievous infractions, to more punitive measures for more egregious breaches of the Lobbying By-law.  Throughout 2020, the TLR continued the development of the policy and operational requirements for incorporating these administrative monetary penalties into the range of penalties available, in collaboration with the City Manager and City Solicitor.  The implementation of this regime is being planned for late 2020.  Once in place, the range of enforcement measures will be expanded to include: terms and conditions imposed by the Registrar, bans, provincial prosecutions, and administrative monetary penalties.  Various approaches are used to enforce compliance with the Lobbying By-law, including advice and training, reports to Council and prosecutions under the Provincial Offences Act.  These new enforcement tools will be added to the spectrum of corrective actions imposed in the public interest, on an escalating scale, depending on the facts of the case and the seriousness of the breach.

Lobbyist Registrars and Commissioners Network (LRCN)

On September 17, 2020, the Registrar and the Inquires and Investigations Counsel will attend the LRCN’s virtual fall meeting.  They will join various jurisdictions in sharing news and information regarding legislative developments in the oversight of lobbyist registrations, standards of conduct, and duties of investigation and enforcement.  LRCN shares information and best practices regarding emerging trends in lobbying regulation across Canada.

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) 2020 Virtual Conference

On December 1, 2020, TLR staff will participate in the COGEL 2020 Virtual Conference.  TLR staff have participated in this conference with our international colleagues and peers in government ethics and accountability since 2008.

Holiday Season Reminder Regarding the Prohibition of Gifts

As the 2019 holiday season begins, please be mindful of the prohibition on lobbyists providing entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind.

Section 140-42A of the Lobbying By-law provides:

  1. No lobbyist or client of a lobbyist, or any parent, subsidiary, affiliate, officer or employee of any lobbyist or client of a lobbyist shall directly or indirectly offer, provide or bestow entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind to a public office holder.

It is improper conduct for a lobbyist to offer or provide entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind as a form of lobbying.  Doing so may be seen to create goodwill for current or future lobbying activities or to thank a public office holder for past support.  This can create an appearance of personal obligation and place the public office holder in a conflict of interest.

For more information, see the interpretation bulletin Entertainment, Gifts, Meals, Trips or Favours.

City of Toronto Welcomes New Integrity Commissioner

Welcome to Jonathan Batty in his new role as Integrity Commissioner.  Council’s appointment of Commissioner Batty begins on November 30, 2019. Thank you to Valerie Jepson for her service and dedication as Integrity Commissioner over the past five years.  Wishing her continued success in her future endeavours.

The Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) 31st Annual Conference 2019

SOAR held its 31st Annual Conference on November 7, 2019 in Toronto.  The Lobbyist Registrar was a panelist for the conference session entitled “Enhancing Regulators’ Transparency – Open Data, Social Media and More”, where she contributed to a discussion about how regulators can enhance transparency and public access to information they house through their public registries.

Congratulations to Susan Opler, Ombudsman, Ombudsman Toronto, who will be recognized at the December 10, 2019 SOAR Annual General Meeting in Toronto, as the 2019 SOAR Medal recipient.

The Lobbyist Registrar’s Open Data Story is Now Available Through Open Data Toronto

In late October 2019, Open Data Toronto published a guide pertaining to the data analysis of the Toronto Lobbyist Registry’s open data.  The guide is entitled, “Analyzing Lobbyist Data” and can be found at https://open.toronto.ca/.   It provides information about how to prepare and explore data using PowerBI.

Lobbyist Registrars and Commissioners Network (LRCN)

From September 24th to September 26th, the Registrar and the Inquires and Investigations Counsel attended the LRCN’s annual conference, which was hosted by the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, in Ottawa.  They joined various jurisdictions in sharing news and information regarding legislative developments in the oversight of lobbyist registrations, standards of conduct, and duties of investigation and enforcement.  LRCN shares information and best practices regarding emerging trends in lobbying regulation across Canada.  Registrars and Commissioners of Lobbying from across Canada have been meeting and sharing information through this network since 2006.

41st Annual Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) Conference

From December 15 to 18, 2019, Inquiries and Investigations Counsel will attend the 41st Annual COGEL Conference in Chicago, and will be speaking about best practices in regulatory investigations.  He will be joining experts from Canada, the U.S. and the world to provide educational sessions about the latest developments in lobbying regulation.  Toronto Lobbyist Registrar (TLR) staff have participated in this conference with our international colleagues and peers in government ethics and accountability since 2008.  This international organization brings together leaders in the fields of government ethics, freedom of information, elections, lobbying and campaign finance.  COGEL members include governmental entities, educational institutions, and organizations (such as law firms and corporations).

Lobbyist Registry System Upgrades Expected in Early 2020

Our office will be offering training sessions for the new Lobbyist Registry System after its launch in early 2020.  We will be sending notification of the upcoming dates of our future training sessions by email, on our webpage and through our social media platforms.  If you would like to register, be sure to check your email and watch for our notices as space is limited.

Thank you to City Clerk’s IT for their ongoing work on the upgrades to the Lobbyist Registry System, through the State of Good Repair Project (SOGR) approved by Council in 2015.  Important changes and improvements are coming soon.  The SOGR is expected to be completed in early 2020.  Once in place, the new Lobbyist Registry System will enable broader search capabilities for all users, and lobbyists will be able to manage their registrations on different browser types and through mobile devices.

Planned Implementation of Administrative Sanctions in 2020

The Registrar’s enforcement powers were expanded through the Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2017, with the added authority to impose administrative sanctions, including administrative monetary penalties.  These will expand the range of corrective actions from minor for less grievous infractions, to more punitive measures for more egregious breaches of the Lobbying By-law.  In 2019, the TLR continued its development of the policy and operational requirements for incorporating these administrative monetary penalties into the range of penalties available, in collaboration with the City Manager and City Solicitor.  The implementation of this regime is scheduled for early 2020.  Once in place, the range of enforcement measures will be expanded to include: terms and conditions imposed by the Registrar, bans, provincial prosecutions, and administrative monetary penalties.  Various approaches are used to enforce compliance with the Lobbying By-law, including advice and training, reports to Council and prosecutions under the Provincial Offences Act.  These new enforcement tools will be added to the spectrum of corrective actions imposed in the public interest, on an escalating scale, depending on the facts of the case and the seriousness of the breach.

Report to Council on an Inquiry for Prohibited Communications During a Procurement Process

Earlier in 2019, Council received a report on an inquiry into whether communications during the Blackout Period of a procurement were in breach of the Lobbying By-law.  The Vendor was an in-house lobbyist, as defined by s. 140-20 of the Lobbying By-law.  During the Black-out Period, the Vendor contravened s. 140-41A of the Lobbying By-law by communicating with a Public Office Holder who was not permitted by the Purchasing By-law and Tender document to receive communications about the Tender.  Adherence to the Purchasing By-law and all relevant Tender documents is required to preserve the integrity of the City’s procurement processes.  Ensuring all lobbyists comply with s. 140‑41A of the Lobbying By-law guarantees lobbying transparency in the context of the City’s procurement processes.

To read the Report on an Inquiry for Prohibited Communication during a Procurement Process.

 

To search the registry, go to: http://bit.ly/2lsfBev

To help determine if you are required to register, you may refer to the interactive tool on the Toronto Lobbyist Registrar’s website: http://bit.ly/LRInteractiveTool

To update your lobbying activities go to: http://bit.ly/2kuSfBh

Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, staff support is available on site.

To submit a confidential inquiry request, email: LobbyistRegistrarInquiry@toronto.ca.

For instant updates, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

The Report to Council on an Inquiry for Prohibited Communications during a Procurement Process was adopted by City Council at its meeting held on March 27-28, 2019

Changes to Reporting of Communications

We have updated our Lobbyist Registry System to reflect the change in the number of members of Council. When reporting communications with members of Council that took place prior to December 4, 2018, select “Member of Council Before Dec 2018”, then proceed to select the ward of the member and tick the box next to the member’s name about whom you wish to report your communications. In order to report communications with a member of Council that occurred after December 4, 2018, select “Member of Council After Dec 2018”, then proceed to select the ward of the member and tick the box next to the member’s name. If you require assistance with your registration, please contact our office at 416-338-5858.

Holiday Season Reminder Regarding the Prohibition of Gifts

This holiday season please be mindful of the prohibition on lobbyists providing entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind.

Section 140-42A of the Lobbying By-law provides:

A. No lobbyist or client of a lobbyist, or any parent, subsidiary, affiliate, officer or employee of any lobbyist or client of a lobbyist shall directly or indirectly offer, provide or bestow entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind to a public office holder.

Offering or providing entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind as a form of lobbying is improper conduct on the part of the lobbyist. Doing so may be seen to create goodwill for current or future lobbying activities or to thank a public office holder for past support. This can create an appearance of personal obligation and place the public office holder in a conflict of interest.

For more information, see the interpretation bulletin Entertainment, Gifts, Meals, Trips or Favours.

Joint Information Session Held on November 20, 2018

On November 20, 2018, a joint information session for lobbyists was held at City Hall by the Honourable J. David Wake (Integrity Commissioner, Province of Ontario) and Cristina De Caprio (Lobbyist Registrar, City of Toronto). The session was entitled, “It’s About Time: Staying in Compliance with Deadlines & Details” and reviewed the timeliness requirements for registration in both jurisdictions. Topics included when to register, update, renew and terminate registrations as well as the overall importance of following legislated deadlines. Thank you to all session participants.

Lobbyist Registrars and Commissioners Network (LRCN)

The LRCN shares information and best practices regarding emerging trends in lobbying regulation across Canada. Registrars and Commissioners of Lobbying from across Canada have been meeting and sharing information through this network since 2006.

This year the LRCN’s annual conference was hosted by the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar here in Toronto, at City Hall, between September 24 and 26, 2018. The session was well attended and fruitful. Participants from the various jurisdictions shared news and information regarding legislative developments in the oversight of lobbyist registrations, standards of conduct, and duties of investigation and enforcement.

40th Annual COGEL Conference

On December 9-12, 2018, Office of the Lobbyist Registrar’s staff will attend the 40th Annual COGEL Conference. Staff from our office have participated in this conference with our international colleagues and peers in government ethics and accountability since 2008. This international organization brings together leaders in the fields of government ethics, freedom of information, elections, lobbying and campaign finance. COGEL members include governmental entities, educational institutions, and organizations (such as law firms and corporations). Experts from Canada, the U.S. and the world will be providing educational sessions about the latest developments in lobbying regulation.

Lobbyist Registry System Upgrades Expected in Early 2019

A special thank you to City Clerk’s IT for their ongoing work on the upgrades to the Lobbyist Registry System, through the State of Good Repair Project (SOGR) approved by Council in 2015. Important changes and improvements are coming soon. The SOGR is expected to be completed in early 2019. Once in place, the new Lobbyist Registry System will enable broader search capabilities for all users, and lobbyists will be able to manage their registrations on different browser types and through mobile devices.

Our office will be offering training sessions for the new Lobbyist Registry System after its launch in 2019. We will be sending notification of the upcoming dates of our future training sessions by email, on our webpage and through our social media platforms. If you would like to register, be sure to check your email and watch for our notices as space is limited.

New Amendments to the Lobbying By-law

On May 22, 23 and 24, 2018, City Council adopted EX34.11, titled “Report on Outstanding Matters Related to City’s Accountability Offices”.  These amendments to the Lobbying By-law were made in order to clarify and more accurately reflect City Council’s direction regarding lobbying regulation:

  • Clarify that no lobbyist or client of a lobbyist (or related parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers or employees) shall offer, provide or bestow entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind to a public office holder.
  • Revise s. 140-3C(3) to exempt persons making representations on behalf of employee or labour groups when representing employees of the City or a local board (restricted definition):
  • in a manner permitted by a collective agreement or relationship protocol; and
  • when communicating about the negotiation and administration of collective agreements or a relationship protocol.

Ensure that the “blackout period” in the Lobbying By-law references the updates to the Purchasing By-law.

Revised Interpretation Bulletins

Three interpretation bulletins have been revised to include the above amendments.  The revised interpretation bulletins are: Entertainment, Gifts, Meals, Trips or Favours; Employee and Labour Groups; and Lobbying and Procurements, and they can be accessed on our website.

Annual Report

The Annual Report of the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar for the Year 2017 was adopted by City Council at its meeting held on March 27, 2018. View this document in our Reports section.

Successful Training Session – “Whose Rule Is It Anyway? Advice for Navigating Elections, Gifts and Compliance”

On February 15, 2018, the Honourable J. David Wake (Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar, Province of Ontario) and Cristina De Caprio (Lobbyist Registrar, City of Toronto) held a joint information session for lobbyists regarding elections, gifts and general compliance at Metro Hall. The session explained rules for lobbyists in anticipation of upcoming elections in 2018 in both jurisdictions. The event was well attended and informative.

You may email a request for a copy of the presentations at: LobbyingBylawTraining@toronto.ca

Rules for Lobbyists Related to Political Activity

See the related Interpretation Bulletins: Lobbying and Municipal Elections at the City of Toronto; Lobbying, Municipal Elections And Third Party Advertisers; Entertainment, Gifts, Meals, Trips or Favours; Lobbying During Transition Period from Election Day to Beginning of New Term of Council on our website.

Lobbyist Registrars and Commissioners Network (LRCN)

The LRCN shares information and best practices regarding emerging trends in lobbying regulation across Canada.

We would like to thank the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada for hosting the winter conference of the LRCN as well as extend our congratulations and a warm welcome to the newly appointed Federal Commissioner of Lobbying Nancy Belanger.

The fall conference of the LRCN will be hosted by the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar here in Toronto, at City Hall, between September 24 and 26, 2018.

What’s New?

  • Watch for the launch of the new online registry system early this spring. The new system will be easier to use and will have improved search capabilities as well as mobile device compatibility. It will also support more browsers.
  • Wondering if you are a lobbyist? See our new interactive questionnaire “Do I Need to Register as a Lobbyist?” for information about how the Lobbying By-law may apply to your communications with public office holders.
  • Thank you to our 1100 plus Twitter followers! Please stay with us to learn more about the Lobbying By-law.

About the Registry Insider Newsletter

Registry Insider is a semi-regular newsletter that contains news and updates from Toronto’s Lobbyist Registrar. The statements or opinions that appear in this newsletter reflect the personal views of the authors in their individual capacities and do not represent the views of the Toronto Lobbyist Registrar.