New Lobbying Law for City of Pickering in Ontario, Canada - State and Federal Communications

April 3, 2023  •  

New Lobbying Law for City of Pickering in Ontario, Canada

On March 27, the city of Pickering, in Ontario, Canada, passed a new lobbying law and will become the 10th municipality in Ontario to have a lobbyist registry framework in place. This by-law authorizing a lobbyist registry for the city technically came into force with its passage, but all enforcement and penalties will not take effect until November 1, 2023.

All lobbyists must file a registration (a first filing of a return) regarding lobbying communication within ten business days of the initial communication occurring. A lobbyist must file a return updating any change to their registration immediately. Lobbying is defined as “any communication with a public office holder by an individual who is paid or who represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action including development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before council, a committee of council, or a staff member acting under delegated authority.”

The list of covered public office holders includes members of the city council, officers or employees of the city in management positions, members of local boards or committees established by the city council, and individuals providing professional services to the city during the course of providing such services.

The mandatory registry applies to consultant lobbyists, in-house lobbyists, and certain voluntary lobbyists. Lobbying on a contingency basis is prohibited. Former public office holders are forbidden from lobbying for a period of 12 months after leaving office. Penalties include being barred from lobbying for various periods of time. Additionally, all lobbyists must adhere to a formal Code of Conduct for Lobbyists, which is part of the by-law, during all lobbying activities with public office holders.

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