Annual Report 2010–2011
About the Office
Who We Are
The Commissioner of Lobbying is an independent Agent of Parliament, appointed by Parliament under the Lobbying Act (the Act) for a term of seven years. The purpose of the Act is to ensure transparency and accountability in the lobbying of public office holders, in order to contribute to confidence in the integrity of government decision-making. The Commissioner administers the Act by:
- maintaining the Registry of Lobbyists, which contains and makes public the registration information disclosed by lobbyists, as well as their monthly communications with designated public office holders;
- developing and implementing educational programs to foster public awareness of the requirements of the Act; and
- conducting reviews and investigations to ensure compliance with the Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (the Code).
The Commissioner is supported in her work by the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, which was established in 2008 under the Act. The Commissioner reports annually to Parliament on the administration of the Act and the Code and is required to table reports on any investigations conducted in relation to the Code.
What We Do
Maintain the Registry
The Office works to ensure that the Lobbyists Registration System is an easy-to-use tool for lobbyists to register their lobbying activities. To this end, the system is refined on an ongoing basis. In addition, systems and processes are in place to ensure that interruptions and downtime are kept to a minimum. This allows Canadians access to the Registry of Lobbyists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Deliver an Education and Awareness Program
The Office undertakes many activities to ensure public office holders, lobbyists, their clients and Canadians are aware of the requirements of the Act. We have strategically focused our efforts on key activities to reach the most people in the most cost-effective way possible.
The Office strives to ensure lobbyists are compliant with the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. A system that includes administrative reviews and investigations has been developed to examine alleged breaches of the Act or the Code. Rigorous monitoring and verification processes also contribute to compliance.
The Office, when fully staffed, has 28 full-time employees and an overall budget of about $4.5 million. It is divided into four groups.
- The Office of the Commissioner includes the Commissioner, Legal Counsel, a Senior Advisor, and an Administrative Assistant. The Commissioner has the rank and powers of a deputy head of a federal department. This group provides legal advice and opinions to the Office, as well as financial oversight to fulfill all statutory requirements and to uphold central agency policies.
- The Office of the Deputy Commissioner is responsible for integrated strategic and operational planning, including the coordination and implementation of performance measurement, risk management, and human resources management. This group also provides strategic policy and communications advice, and coordinates all outreach activities. Financial and administrative services for the organization are handled by this group, which also works to address all corporate needs relating to security, facilities management and workplace safety.
- The Registration and Client Services Directorate is responsible for developing and maintaining the Lobbyists Registration System (LRS) and the online Registry of Lobbyists. The LRS allows lobbyists to register their lobbying activities and perform transactions, such as amendments, renewals and terminations. The Registry allows Canadians to search for lobbyists and lobbying activity. Employees of the Registration and Client Services Directorate process lobbyists' registrations and offer client service to registrants, public office holders and the general public.
- The Investigations Directorate is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. Employees in this directorate monitor lobbying activities, verify the accuracy of monthly communication reports submitted by lobbyists, review and investigate allegations of non-compliance, and review applications for exemptions to the five-year prohibition on lobbying for former designated public office holders.