A Guide to Registration (Page 3 of 7)

Registration Requirements for Consultant Lobbyists

(Section 5 of the Lobbying Act)


Consultants lobbyists are individuals who, for payment and on behalf of one or more clients, communicate with public office holders with regard to certain matters described in the Act. Consultant lobbyists may include government relations professionals, lawyers, notaries, engineers, accountants or other professional advisors who provide lobbying services, among other services, to their clients.

They are also required to register when they arrange a meeting between their client and a federal public office holder, even when they do not participate in this meeting. Consultant lobbyists must therefore register for each undertaking, i.e. for each client, when they lobby for:

  • The making, developing or amending of legislative proposals, bills or resolutions, regulations, policies or programs;
  • The awarding of grants, contributions or other financial benefits;
  • The awarding of contracts; and
  • Arranging a meeting with a public office holder (POH).

A consulting firm may assign several consultant lobbyists to work on the same undertaking for the same client. In such a case, much of the information to be disclosed may end up being common to these consultants. However, each consultant lobbyist is individually responsible for compliance with the Act, and must disclose and certify the information in his or her individual return.

A "client" is an individual, an organization or a corporation on whose behalf the consultant undertakes the lobbying activities and who would be the true beneficiary of the lobbying activities.

An "undertaking" is defined as an agreement or contract, written or verbal, between a client and a consultant lobbyist, within the context of which the lobbyist will seek to communicate with public office holders on behalf of the client. The scope of these agreements or contracts may be very broad and can refer to a variety of lobbying activities or, alternatively, it may be more narrowly focussed on only one activity or one subject matter. Generally speaking, it is preferable that such agreements describe as precisely as possible the nature and the objective of the lobbying activities. They should document as precisely as possible the relationship between consultant lobbyists and their clients. Also, undertakings may be concurrent or sequential.

Agreements or contracts with substantially different nature and objectives may in fact represent brand new undertakings. In such cases, additional registrations would be required.

Individuals who have to file disclosures (or returns) as consultant lobbyists must complete and file a consultant lobbyists disclosure with the Commissioner within 10 days of entering into an undertaking on behalf of a client. Separate disclosures (also referred to as communication monthly reports or entries) will need to be filed for each prescribed communication with a DPOH each month thereafter. The communications entries are separate but simple returns which are linked to, and coherent with, the lobbyist's underlying registration.

As well, the consultant lobbyist will be required to keep the registration current and decide, on a monthly basis, if any changes or amendments to its registration are necessary. In this context, changes to any information previously submitted must be reported no later than 15 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred, in accordance with the requirements for consultant lobbyists registrations.

Thereafter, if no changes to the registration and no monthly DPOH communications reports have been filed for 5 consecutive months following the end of the month in which a return was last filed, then a "six-month return" must be filed and certified by the lobbyist4.

Monthly Communications Reports

Lobbyists must now report monthly about certain oral and arranged communications with DPOHs, (except if initiated by a DPOH), related to the development of policies, programs or legislations. However, oral and arranged communications related to contracts and financial benefits are required to be reported, even when initiated by a DPOH.

The table below summarizes the criteria to be used in order to determine whether or not to report certain communications with DPOHs, (Yes) or (No).

Monthly Communications Reports (or Entries) Communications with DPOHs by Consultant Lobbyistst1
Oral and arranged communication(s) Related to the development of policies, programs or legislations Related to government contracts Related to financial benefits, i.e. grant or contribution
Initiated by the lobbyist: Yes Yes Yes
Initiated by the DPOH: No Yes Yes

The following information must be disclosed for each lobbying undertaking:

  • Name, position title and business address of the lobbyist;
  • Name and business address of the lobbying firm;
  • Client name and business address;
  • An indication of whether or not the lobbyist is a member of the Board of Directors of the corporation or organization, or a member of the association, that is identified in the registration as the client;
  • Name of the principal representative of the client;
  • Name and business address of any person or organization that controls or directs the client's activities;
  • If the client is a corporation, the name and business address of the parent corporation and those subsidiaries which directly benefit from the lobbying;
  • An indication as to whether or not the consultant lobbyist organizes a meeting with a public office holder for the client;
  • If the client is a coalition, the names and business addresses of the corporate and organizational members;
  • If the individual is a former public office holder or a former designated public office holder, a description of the offices held;
  • If the individual is a former public office holder or a former designated public office holder, the period during which those positions were held;
  • If the individual is a former member of a Prime Minister's transition team, the period during which the individual was a member of that team;
  • If applicable, the number of the exemption granted by the Commissioner of Lobbying with regard to the five-year prohibition on lobbying activities;
  • Subject matters including the specific legislative proposal, bill or resolution, regulation, policy, program, grant, contribution, other financial benefit or contract sought, as well as details related to these;
  • Name of each department or other governmental institution lobbied;
  • Source and amount of any government funding provided to the client, as well as information indicating if the client is expecting to receive public funding; and
  • Communication techniques used, including grass-roots lobbying (see FAQs for definition).

Note: Under the Lobbying Act, the payment of contingency or success fees to lobbyists and the receipt of these fees by lobbyists are prohibited.