Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Lobbying in Ottawa has changed this fall and non-profit/ association executives would be wise to pay heed. Anyone who bends the ear of Members of Parliament and senators must now register such activities under expanded new regulations that have taken effect. Under the new rules, individuals must register when they lobby any member of Parliament, senator or senior staff in the House of Commons and Senate offices of the leader of the opposition.
Previously, lobbyists only needed to register when they communicated with government ministers and ministers of state, as well as senior bureaucrats such as deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers. The new regulations were released for public consultation in early August and have now come into force.
Under the Lobbying Act, lobbying is defined as any communication with public office holders by an individual who is paid to communicate with office holders on behalf of a person or organization. The subject matter must fall in one of several areas: the development, including legislative amendments and the awarding of grants or contracts.
So, the question association professionals must ask themselves: Are we on top of the rules? As the rules for registering can be complicated, are we better off keeping our government relations activities in-house or can contracting out even a portion of it benefit the organization?
Mark Buzan is Principal of Action Strategies, a GR Consultancy for non-profits. If you have questions on how you feel your organization could benefit from legislative monitoring services or even undertaking a grassroots advocacy initiative. Subscribe now to his Lobbying tips newsletter at www.actionstrategies.ca