June 13, 2023 •
Effective July 1: Updated Canadian Federal Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct
On July 1, the updated edition of Canada’s federal Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct will come into force.
A new gift limit for lobbyists is imposed, allowing up to $40 for gifts and hospitality for an official they lobby or expect to lobby. The intention of the limit is to avoid the creation of a sense of obligation on the part of the official. The new gift limit has an annual maximum amount of $200, per calendar year, from one lobbying source. Lobbyists may still provide sponsored travel to officials they do not lobby or expect to lobby. However, given the costs of sponsored travel, providing travel to an official by a lobbyist for an official they lobby or expect to lobby could reasonably be seen to create a sense of obligation on the part of that official and be prohibited if over $40. The commissioner, on an annual basis, has the option to take inflation into account in adjusting the individual and annual gift limit amounts.
Lobbyists engaged in certain political work, acting in certain leadership or senior political roles, or fundraising “that could reasonably be seen to be significant to the official” are subject to a cooling-off period. The cooling-off period, for which an individual cannot lobby the official benefited, ranges between 12 to 24 months.
One of the purposes of the new code is to make the rules clear and comprehensive, according to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. The commissioner’s office states that lobbyists obligations are described in “plain language” and will eliminate the need for separate guidance documents.
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