January 23, 2020 •
On January 20, a new Lobbyist Registry program and associated By-law and Code of Conduct were approved for Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.
The new lobbying law defines lobbying as any communication with a public office holder by an individual representing a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action, including any development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before the Town Council, a committee of the Council, or staff member acting under delegated authority.
The registry, maintained by the Collingwood’s Accountability Officer acting as the Lobbyist Registrar, will identify three types of lobbyists:
- Consultant lobbyists
- In-house lobbyists
- Voluntary unpaid lobbyists acting on behalf of certain entities
While registration is mandatory, not-for-profit groups are not required to register for lobbying activities, unless the group has paid staff and the communication in question falls under the definition of lobbying.
Additionally, community groups and associations whose communications state a position for a general community benefit, either town-wide or local, do not have to register.
As of January 20, 2020, lobbyists are expected to register their name and the reasons for their contact with a public office holder. However, penalties will not begin to be enforced until June 1, 2020, in order to allow the first five months of the registry to operate as an educational period dedicated to learning how and when to use the tool.