May 2, 2012 •
Lobbying Reporting Begins in Manitoba
On April 30, 2012, the Lobbyists Registration Act came into force in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The act requires lobbyists to file returns using an electronic registry system. Although the act was originally passed in 2008, it came into force only this year upon proclamation, allowing the lobbyist registrar the opportunity to create the system with its online component.
The act categorizes lobbyists as either consultant lobbyists or in-house lobbyists. Consultant lobbyists are individuals who, for pay or other benefit, undertake to lobby on behalf of a client. An in-house lobbyist is defined as an employee, partner, or sole proprietor of an organization who lobbies, or has a duty to lobby, on behalf of the organization. However, to be designated as an in-house lobbyist, an individual’s lobbying or duty to lobby has to constitute a significant part of his or her activities, which the regulations define as meeting or exceeding 100 hours annually. Additionally, if an individual’s lobbying, together with lobbying by others in the organization, meets or exceeds 100 hours annually, the senior officer of the organization must file a return.
The act defines lobby to mean communicating with a public official in an attempt to influence the development of a legislative proposal; introducing a bill or resolution before the assembly; making or amending a regulation; developing, amending, or terminating a program or policy; or awarding a financial benefit. For consultant lobbyists the definition of lobby also includes arranging a meeting with a public official or communicating with a public official in an attempt to influence the award of a contract.
Consultant lobbyists already lobbying before April 30th have 30 days to begin filing. If lobbying begins after April 30th, consultant lobbyists have 10 days to file. A senior officer filing on behalf of an organization with in-house lobbyists has two months in which to file, regardless of whether lobbying begins before or after April 30th. Additionally, the officer must file returns within two months after the end of each six-month period after filing the previous return.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.