March 31, 2020 •

British Columbia Legislative Committees Videoconferencing

British Columbia Legislature

As of March 30, committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, such as the Public Account Committee, continue to meet using videoconferencing. Some of the committee videoconferencing is available for the public to view live on the Assembly’s website. […]

As of March 30, committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, such as the Public Account Committee, continue to meet using videoconferencing.

Some of the committee videoconferencing is available for the public to view live on the Assembly’s website.

On March 23, lawmakers had adjourned their Spring Session to a date they have not yet determined.

Legislators will reconvene at their physical legislative building when the Speaker of the House, after consultation with the government, determines the public interest requires it or when advised by the government.

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March 4, 2020 •

British Columbia In-House Lobbyist Guidance Issued For Upcoming Changes

British Columbia Legislature

British Columbia’s Office of the Registrar issued a guidance document for organizations last month. This in anticipation of the changes to the province’s lobbying laws taking effect on May 4. The guidance document provides an overview for organizations with in-house […]

British Columbia’s Office of the Registrar issued a guidance document for organizations last month.

This in anticipation of the changes to the province’s lobbying laws taking effect on May 4.

The guidance document provides an overview for organizations with in-house lobbyists under the Lobbyists Transparency Act.

Beginning on May 4, the time threshold for requiring in-house lobbyists to register is reduced from 100 hours to 50 hours in the preceding 12-month period.

Time spent preparing to lobby, researching and writing reports, and strategizing would be included in calculating the time threshold required for registration.

However, activities predating a decision to lobbying would “likely not be included in the calculation,” according to the published guidance.

Organizations that are not member-based or that do not have a primary purpose to promote or oppose issues may qualify for the exception.

This is only if the organizations have fewer than six employees and the lobbying activities add up to fewer than 50 hours in the preceding 12-month period.

Examples of organizations unlikely to qualify for the exemption are unions and chambers of commerce.

Presently, a new online Lobbyists Registry is in development to replace the current Lobbyists Registry.

This registry is scheduled to launch on May 4, 2020.

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January 10, 2020 •

Contribution Limits Increased in British Columbia

British Columbia Legislature

Campaign contribution limits increased in British Columbia for 2020 to $1,253.15 for contributions to registered political parties, including their candidates, nomination contestants and registered constituency associations. Additionally, individuals can contribute up to $1,253.15 to independent candidates and leadership contestants, if […]

Campaign contribution limits increased in British Columbia for 2020 to $1,253.15 for contributions to registered political parties, including their candidates, nomination contestants and registered constituency associations.

Additionally, individuals can contribute up to $1,253.15 to independent candidates and leadership contestants, if a leadership contest is called in 2020.

These limits are updated annually.

The previous limits were $1,225.17 in 2019, and $1,200 in 2018.

Also increased to $370 is the limit of a fee paid to attend a leadership convention or other convention of a political party without counting toward the $1,253.15 limit contribution limit.

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December 24, 2019 •

May 4, 2020: British Columbia Lobbying Law Changes Coming

British Columbia Legislature

On May 4, 2020, several key changes of British Columbia’s lobbying law come into effect, including changing the name of the Lobbyist Registration Act to the Lobbyist Transparency Act. The legislation making the changes, Bill 54, Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act, […]

On May 4, 2020, several key changes of British Columbia’s lobbying law come into effect, including changing the name of the Lobbyist Registration Act to the Lobbyist Transparency Act. The legislation making the changes, Bill 54, Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act, 2018, received royal assent on November 27, 2019.

Other coming changes include:

  • Reducing the time threshold for requiring in-house lobbyists to register from 100 hours to 50 hours annually
  • Adding the requirement for lobbyists to complete a monthly return containing details of actual lobbying activities in the previous month by the 15th of each subsequent month
  • Declarations in those returns of what code of conduct the lobbyists has undertaken and where it is available for public viewing

Additionally, a newly enacted prohibition on gifts from lobbyists is included in the bill. However, the prohibition does not apply if the gift is given under the protocol or social obligations normally accompanying the duties of a public office holder and the total value of the gift given, directly or indirectly, is less $100 in a 12-month period.

Beginning in May, the registrar will also have the power to impose a prohibition on lobbying for up to 2 years.

Presently, a new online Lobbyists Registry is in development to replace the current Lobbyists Registry and is scheduled to launch on May 4, 2020.

Also effective on May 4, 2020, the Lobbyists Registration Regulation is repealed and the Lobbyist Transparency Regulation is enacted.

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March 27, 2019 •

Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) By-Election Scheduled for May 6

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons. On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official […]

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons.

On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat became vacant following the resignation of Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned on January 2 to run in a provincial byelection.

On March 24, Elections Canada declared the May election date and announced the opening of its local office in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

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September 19, 2018 •

By-Election For Burnaby South (British Columbia) Seat in House of Commons To Be Announced on Future Date

Sometime before March 18, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Commons representing Burnaby South in the province of British Columbia. On September 17, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, received official […]

Sometime before March 18, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Commons representing Burnaby South in the province of British Columbia.

On September 17, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat for Burnaby South (British Columbia) became vacant following the resignation of Kennedy Stewart, who resigned on September 14 in order to run for mayor of Vancouver.

Under the law, the by-election date must be announced between September 28, 2018, and March 18, 2019, and will signal the start of the by-election period.

According to Elections Canada, the earliest date the by-election can be held is November 5, 2018.

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April 27, 2018 •

British Columbia Lobbyist Revolving Door Amendment Effective May 1

On May 1, revolving door amendments to British Columbia’s Lobbyists Registration Act (LRA) come into force. The new amendment mandates a person who is a former public office holder be prohibited from lobbying, in relation to any matter, for a […]

On May 1, revolving door amendments to British Columbia’s Lobbyists Registration Act (LRA) come into force. The new amendment mandates a person who is a former public office holder be prohibited from lobbying, in relation to any matter, for a period of two years after the date the person left office.

Covered public officials include members of the Executive Council, individuals employed in the members’ offices, and parliamentary secretaries. Covered officials also include individuals who formerly occupied senior executive positions in a ministry, associate deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, and persons in a position of comparable rank in a ministry.

If the registrar is satisfied that it is in the public interest, the registrar may, on request and on any terms or conditions the registrar considers advisable, exempt a person from the revolving door prohibitions.

The new amendments come into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, pursuant to Bill 8, Lobbyist Registration Amendment Act, 2017, which received Royal Asset on November 30, 2017.

On April 26, the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for British Columbia announced it will be temporarily unavailable on May 1 starting at 9:30 a.m. as it makes changes to the registry.

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January 18, 2018 •

February 14 By-election for Kelowna West Seat in BC Legislative Assembly

On February 14, a by-election will be held for Kelowna West electoral district seat of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The seat has remained vacant since August 4 of last year when MLA Christy Clark resigned to leave politics […]

On February 14, a by-election will be held for Kelowna West electoral district seat of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

The seat has remained vacant since August 4 of last year when MLA Christy Clark resigned to leave politics after leading the British Columbia Liberal Party from 2011 to 2017.

Premier John Horgan announced the date for the special election on January 17.

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October 31, 2017 •

Bill Introduced Banning Corporate Contributions in British Columbia’s Municipal Elections

On October 30, a bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia banning corporate and union political contributions for local elections in the Canadian province. Bill 15, Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017, was introduced by Municipal […]

On October 30, a bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia banning corporate and union political contributions for local elections in the Canadian province. Bill 15, Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017, was introduced by Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson.

Among other related changes, the legislation also caps contributions from individual donors to $1,200 for the 2018 elections with contribution limits then indexed for inflation in sequent election years. If passed, the law would be in effect for British Columbia’s October 28, 2018, municipal elections and would be retroactive to October 31, 2017.

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October 6, 2017 •

Revolving Door Legislation Introduced in Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Cabinet Ministers and other public officer holders in British Columbia will be prohibited from lobbying the government of British Columbia for two years after leaving office under a bill proposed in the legislature this week. Attorney-General David Eby, who announced […]

Cabinet Ministers and other public officer holders in British Columbia will be prohibited from lobbying the government of British Columbia for two years after leaving office under a bill proposed in the legislature this week. Attorney-General David Eby, who announced the legislation, said the legislation is intended to “restore public confidence,” according to The Globe and Mail.

The prohibition in the bill applies to former public office holders, which the legislation defines as a former member of the Executive Council and any individual formerly employed in the former member’s former office, other than administrative support staff, or a former parliamentary secretary.

Those listed in the definition also includes any individual who formerly occupied either a senior executive position in a ministry, the position of associate deputy minister, assistant deputy minister or a position of comparable rank in a ministry, or a prescribed position in a Provincial entity.

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September 19, 2017 •

British Columbia Campaign Finance Bills Bans Corporation Contributions

On September 18, British Columbia’s Attorney General David Eby submitted a new campaign bill in the Legislative Assembly that would prohibit corporation and union contributions and limit contributions from individuals to $1,200 a year. The Election Amendment Act, 2017, would […]

On September 18, British Columbia’s Attorney General David Eby submitted a new campaign bill in the Legislative Assembly that would prohibit corporation and union contributions and limit contributions from individuals to $1,200 a year.

The Election Amendment Act, 2017, would also ban out-of-province donations, place a cap on contributions to third-party election advertisers, reduce campaign spending limits for candidates and political parties, provide some public funding for political parties, create new fines and penalties, and require public reporting and set donation limits for specified fundraising functions.

The bill defines “specified fundraising function” to mean a fundraising function attended by a member of the Executive Council, a parliamentary secretary, or a leader of a major political party, and that is held to raise funds for a major political party, a candidate who is a representative of a major political party, a leadership contestant for a major political party, or a constituency association that is the local organization for a major political party.

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June 16, 2017 •

British Columbia Lawmakers Reconvene on June 22

On June 22, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia will resume following an election without any clear mandate for the direction of the government. The provincial election held last month produced no party winning with a majority in the 87-seat […]

On June 22, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia will resume following an election without any clear mandate for the direction of the government.

The provincial election held last month produced no party winning with a majority in the 87-seat Assembly. A proclamation calling for the convening of the Assembly was confirmed by Judith Guichon, the 29th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and the representative of the Crown in the province, and was released on June 12.

A speech from the Throne is expected in the afternoon of the 22nd.

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February 20, 2017 •

Vancouver, British Columbia Councilmember to Request Lobbyist Registry

On February 21, Vancouver, British Columbia, City Councilmember Andrea Reimer intends to request the Council consider a city lobbyist registry. In her notice of motion to the Council, Reimer is asking the municipal legislature to submit a request to the […]

city-councillor-reimer-andreaOn February 21, Vancouver, British Columbia, City Councilmember Andrea Reimer intends to request the Council consider a city lobbyist registry.

In her notice of motion to the Council, Reimer is asking the municipal legislature to submit a request to the province to allow municipalities the ability to register lobbyists, create rules for lobbyist’s conduct in their interactions with elected officials and public servants, and the ability to enforce those rules. Reimer also wants the city to investigate the city of Surrey’s current lobbyist registry to determine the cost impact and any other information Vancouver may find helpful.

British Columbia does not permit municipalities to use the provincial lobbyist registry and has not given municipalities the legal authority to enforce lobbyist rules.

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February 17, 2017 •

Several Campaign Finance Bills Introduced in Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

On February 16, several campaign finance bills were introduced in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Introduced as a private member’s bill by British Columbia’s New Democratic Party Leader John Horgan, the “Get Big Money Out of Politics Act” legislation […]

Coat of Arms of British ColumbiaOn February 16, several campaign finance bills were introduced in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Introduced as a private member’s bill by British Columbia’s New Democratic Party Leader John Horgan, the “Get Big Money Out of Politics Act” legislation bans union and corporate donations to political campaigns, allows only individuals normally residing in British Columbia to make political contributions, and restricts the premier and cabinet ministers from outside income.

Member of the Legislative Assembly Vicki Huntington’s bill, “Cash for Access Elimination Act, 2017,” prohibits members of the Executive Council and their employees from attending fundraising functions, personally soliciting political contributions, or attending or inviting individuals and organizations to attend fundraising functions. Huntington also submitted to the Assembly the “Election Finance Amendment Act, 2017,” which bans corporate and union donations, caps political donations at $1,500 a year, and allows them to be received only from British Columbians. The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act is also amended by this bill.

 

Additional bills introduced yesterday include the “Banning Publicly-funded Campaign Advertisements, 2017,” which bans government advertising during the four months preceding a general election, the “Fairness in Financing Local Government Elections Act, 2017,” which amends the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act to eliminate union and corporate donations in municipal election campaigns, and the “Fixed Fall Election Amendment Act, 2017,” which amends the Constitution Act to move the general election from May to October.

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