Council has enacted an amendment to the Lobbying By-law, extending the limitation period for the commencement of a proceeding in respect of an offence to two years after the time when the subject matter of the proceeding arose.  Prior to the amendment, the limitation period was six months. To review the report to Council.

The Lobbyist Registrar’s Office has issued an Interpretation Bulletin on Employee and Labour Groups.

Please see the Interpretation Bulletin on Employee and Labour Groups.

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.

 

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

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., 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.

Holiday Events and 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 provides:

  1. Lobbyists shall not undertake to lobby in a form or manner that includes offering, providing or bestowing entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind.

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, and thus 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.

What’s New?

  • See the revised Lobbying and Donations to Council Member-Organized Community Events interpretation bulletin.
  • The report serves as a reminder that the Lobbying By-law requires lobbyists to register and report communications with public office holders about the procurement of goods, services or construction and awarding of a contract.  However, the Lobbying By-law restricts communications during an active procurement to only those permitted by the City’s procurement process.  The Lobbying By-law, all relevant documents to the procurement, and the City’s Procurement Policies clearly state this restriction.  From the time the procurement is issued, through to the time of the award, communications regarding the procurement are restricted to the procurement’s official point of contact (“City Contact”).  During the Blackout Period, communications with any public office holder, other than the City Contact, are contraventions of the Lobbying By-law.  Compliance with the Lobbying By-law, and all relevant procurement rules is required to preserve both, lobbying transparency and the integrity of the City’s procurement processes.

    • On December 3-6, 2017, the Registrar and staff attended the 39th Annual COGEL Conference (The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws). This international organization strives to make advances in the fields of governmental ethics, freedom of information, elections, lobbying and campaign finance. Members include governmental entities, educational institutions and organizations (such as law firms and corporations).  The conference was held in Toronto and experts from Canada, the U.S., and the world provided educational sessions about the latest developments in their fields.  The Registrar presented on developments in municipal regulation of lobbying activity in Canada. Inquiries and Investigations Counsel presented on enforcement trends in lobbying regulation.

     

    To search the registry go to the Lobbyist Registry Search App.

    To update your lobbying activities log in to the Lobbyist Registry.

    Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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.

     

Unions

Are unions exempted from registering their lobbying activities? Yes and no.

Only some unions are exempted. A list of exempted unions is found in Schedule B of Chapter 140 of the Municipal Code, Lobbying. Generally, these unions cover employee and labour groups representing employees of the City and local boards (restricted definition).

It is important to note that the exemption is limited. It only covers communications directly related to the unions’ official capacities. Unions provide representation of their members in relation to the employee/employer relationship. Therefore, exempt communications would include those about collective bargaining, compensation, human resources policies, employer-employee committees, work place issues, grievances, mediation and arbitration.

Examples of communications that are not exempt (that the unions listed in Schedule B would be required to register) include those related to: procurement, property taxes, social policies, etc.

Please see the Interpretation Bulletin on unions.

Recent News!

At their July 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2017 meeting, Toronto City Council amended the Lobbying By‑law, extending the limitation period for the commencement of a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act to two years after the time when the subject matter of the proceeding arose. This amendment does not apply if the subject matter of the proceeding arose six months before the July 7, 2017 passing of the By-law.

We are offering a Lobbying By-law Training Session via webinar on September 29, 2017 at Noon. To register for this webinar, please complete and submit the registration form Lobbying By-law Training Session Registration Form 2 Sessions REV

To search the registry go to the Lobbyist Registry Search App.

To update your lobbying activities log in to the Lobbyist Registry.

Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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.

Annual Report

The Annual Report of the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar for the Year 2016 was adopted by City Council at its meeting held on March 28 and 29, 2017. View this document in our Reports section.

Not-For-Profits

The status of not-for-profits under the City of Toronto’s lobbying regulations is a frequently asked question: Are not-for-profits exempt from the Lobbying By-law?

Generally, not-for-profit organizations do not have to register if they lobby while acting in their official capacity. Take, for example, a not-for-profit whose purpose is to provide housing to people with low-incomes. If a member of that not-for-profit is lobbying a public office holder for that purpose, then that member does not need to register. However, if the member lobbies about something unrelated to the purpose of the not-for-profit, the communications would not meet the exemption.

Some not-for-profits are required to register. For example, a not-for-profit that is advancing the financial interests of a for-profit company is required to register. Likewise, for a not-for-profit related to professions, labour groups, business, industry or a for-profit entity. Consultant lobbyists lobbying on behalf of a not-for-profit must also register.

Registration requirements can depend on the type of communication a not-for-profit is engaged in. If they are lobbying about a grant application, award or other financial benefit outside of the normal review process then registration is required. The only exception to this is if the not-for-profit is a community services sector organization.

“Cold Calling” or “Door Knocking” Communications

Please be reminded that communications received through any medium that attempt to sell or promote a service or product to the City, traditionally referred to as “cold calling” or “door knocking” in the selling process, may constitute lobbying and require registration with the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar. Public office holders of the City, which includes all employees, are advised to contact the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar should they be in receipt of such communication.

To search the registry go to the Lobbyist Registry Search App.

To update your lobbying activities log in to the Lobbyist Registry.

Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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 Role of Public Office Holders in Promoting Transparency

The Office of the Lobbyist Registrar (the “OLR”) promotes and enhances the transparency and integrity of City government decision making through public disclosure of lobbying activities and regulation of lobbyists’ conduct.All public office holders have a part to play in promoting and enhancing compliance with the Lobbying By-law (the “By-law”).  It is important for public office holders to discuss the By-law requirements early on in engagements with lobbyists.  An awareness of lobbying requirements and the willingness to communicate these to lobbyists will prevent unnecessary meeting cancellations and last minute rushes to register.  Here is what codes of conduct for public office holders say about their role in lobbying interactions:

  • Members of Council – the Code of Conduct for Members of Council states councillors should not engage knowingly in lobbying communications with someone unless the lobbyist is registered and in compliance with the By-law.
  • Members of local boards and members of adjudicative boards – the Code of Conduct for Members of Local Boards and the Code of Conduct for Members of Adjudicative Boards have lobbying provisions similar to those of councillors’.
  • City employees – The Toronto Public Service By-law states that City employees should be familiar with the requirements and expectations for dealing with lobbyists outlined in the Lobbying By-law.  Moreover, the Lobbying By-law requires City employees involved in a purchasing process to report breaches of the Lobbying By-law to the Registrar.

When lobbyists are assisted in their understanding of their registration and conduct requirements a range of compliance measures can be avoided.  Whenever there is a breach or issues of non-compliance with the By-law, the Registrar has the following range of enforcement powers:

  • The Registrar may refuse to accept or may suspend, revoke or remove a registration.
  • The Registrar may impose conditions for registration, continued registration and/or renewal of a registration.
  • The Registrar may impose a temporary ban on a lobbyist from communicating with public office holders.
  • The Registrar can also prosecute breaches of the By-law under the Provincial Offences Act (POA).  Any person convicted of an offence under the By-law is liable on conviction to a fine of $25,000 to $100,000.

Public office holders have an important role to play in advising the OLR of instances where they are aware of breaches of the By-law or question whether a member of the public should be registered.

How the OLR Assists the Public:

The OLR is here to assist public office holders and lobbyists, as well members of the public.  If help is needed determining whether someone is registered or needs to be registered, or with training for individuals in the application of the Lobbying By-law, please call us at 416-338-5858 or send an email to lobbyistregistrar@toronto.ca.

Please also note that there is a Walk-In Kiosk available at our office for members of the public to register and make updates to their subject matters.  Access to the Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm for the purpose of searching the public registry or completing a registration.

We accept confidential inquiries regarding allegations of potential breaches of the By-law. If you wish to begin the inquiry process, please email: LobbyistRegistrarInquiry@toronto.ca

Other Recent News

Training Sessions – In recent months we have successfully held several training sessions for members of the public. These sessions are a great opportunity for the public to ask questions and for us to listen to their viewpoints and concerns. Information on upcoming sessions is posted on our here. The report highlights that:

  • Information provided through the public registry and to public office holders must be accurate and factual.
  • Lobbyists must not knowingly mislead anyone and should use proper care when providing information to the public and to public office holders.
  • Information provided by lobbyists to the public through the registry must be free of error.
  • When communicating with public office holders, lobbyists must ensure that both the identity of who they are acting on behalf of, and the purpose for the communication, are disclosed correctly.

To search the registry go to the Lobbyist Registry Search App.

To update your lobbying activities log in to the Lobbyist Registry.

Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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.

Holiday Reminder

The Holiday Season is fast approaching. It is a season of entertainment, festivals, gifts, meals indulgence and vacations. Remember, as a registered lobbyist, you are not allowed to offer any entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind to a public office holder. (Read our Interpretation Bulletin on Entertainment, Gifts, Meals, Trips or Favours).

You are also not allowed to lobby a public office holder at a charitable event, community/civic event, or similar public gathering. Only casual communications are allowed at such events. Please also be reminded that a public office holder not only includes an elected official, such as the Mayor and members of council but also includes their staff members; all employees of the City of Toronto; members, staff of members and employees of local boards (Board of Health included) and anyone appointed to an advisory body by City Council, one of its committees or a local board if the body gives advice to Council, a committee or a local board. The above prohibitions apply to all public office holders.

For questions, please contact us at 416-338-5858 or by email at lobbyistregistrar@toronto.ca.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and remember to report all your lobbying communications within three business days of lobbying!

For more information, please visit our website at www.toronto.ca/lobbying. For instant updates, follow us on twitter @TO_LobbyistReg.

Lobbyist Training Sessions

On November 17th and 24th, the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar held one-hour training sessions to provide guidance on – and take questions about – new amendments to the Lobbying By-law. Many lobbyists attended and provided valuable feedback to our staff.

The amendments supplement enforcement powers and also add a new requirement (for consultant lobbyists) to disclose their “ultimate” client. Further sessions are being held throughout December and January and are fully booked.

To read more about the new Lobbying By-law changes, view this site’s section on Guidelines and Regulatory Bulletins.  Please stay tuned to register for future sessions, which will be announced on our website at www.toronto.ca/lobbying and our twitter account @TO_LobbyistReg.

New Interpretation Bulletin on Enforcement Powers

Wondering what can happen if a lobbyist breaches the Lobbying By-law? The Office of the Lobbyist Registrar has released a new interpretation bulletin to explain the range of enforcement powers.

The bulletin explains the two new powers:

  • The power to impose a temporary ban on lobbying for breaches of the Lobbying By-law; and
  • The power to impose conditions for registration, continued registration or renewal of registration.

As always, the preferred approach is to educate lobbyists in advance regarding requirements and to encourage them to seek proactive guidance from our office.  However, if enforcement becomes necessary, these powers will be used on an escalating scale depending on the facts of the case and seriousness of the breach.

You can read the full bulletin on this site’s section covering Guidelines and Regulatory Bulletins.

To search the registry go to the Lobbyist Registry Search App.

To update your lobbying activities log in to the Lobbyist Registry.

Access to a Walk-In Kiosk is available to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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.

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 Office of the Lobbyist Registrar.