Frequently Asked Questions
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The LRA sets out registration requirements for individuals and employees lobbying on behalf of clients or employers. Amendments to the act will be in force April 1, 2010. The amendments strengthen reporting requirements for lobbyists and grant the registrar new investigative and enforcement authority.
The online registry allows individuals and organizations to register in accordance with the LRA.
As part of the Province’s commitment to accountable and transparent government, the registry allows public viewing and searching of information about current and past lobbying.
You are lobbying if:
- you are communicating with a public office holder in an attempt to influence:
- the development of any legislative proposal;
- the introduction, amendment, passage or defeat of any bill or resolution;
- the development or enactment of any regulation;
- the development, establishment, amendment or termination of any contract, grant or financial benefit;
- a decision by cabinet to transfer from the Crown all or part of any business that provides goods or services to the Crown, a provincial entity or the public; or
- a decision by cabinet to have the private sector, instead of the Crown, provide goods or services to the Government of British Columbia or a provincial entity;
- you are an in-house lobbyist who arranges a meeting between a public office holder and any other individual for the purpose of attempting to influence any of these matters; or
- you are a consultant lobbyist who arranges a meeting between a public office holder and any other individual.
There are two types of lobbyists: consultant lobbyists and in-house lobbyists.
You are a consultant lobbyist if you enter into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client for payment.
You are an in-house lobbyist if you are an employee, officer or director of an organization:
- who receives a payment for performance of your functions; and
- whose lobbying or duty to lobby on behalf of the organization or an affiliate, either alone or together with others, amounts to at least 100 hours annually or otherwise meets criteria established by the LRA regulations.
You are not considered an in-house lobbyist if:
- you are a member of the legislative assembly (MLA) or cabinet or a staff person of the legislative assembly or cabinet and are acting in an official capacity;
- you are an officer or employee of the legislative assembly appointed under Section 39 of the Constitution Act and are acting in an official capacity;
- you have been appointed under the Public Service Act and are acting in an official capacity;
- you are employed by, or are an officer or director of, a provincial entity and are acting in an official capacity; or
- you are employed by, or are an officer of the legislature, within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and are acting in an official capacity.
An organization includes any of the following, whether incorporated, unincorporated, a sole proprietorship or a partnership:
- a business, trade, industry, professional or voluntary organization;
- a trade union or labour organization;
- a chamber of commerce or board of trade;
- a charitable or non-profit organization, association, society, coalition or interest group;
- a government, other than the B.C. government; or
- any entity (other than a person) on whose behalf a consultant lobbyist undertakes to lobby.
A designated filer is:
- a consultant lobbyist; or,
- in the case of an organization that has an in-house lobbyist:
- the most senior officer of the organization who receives payment for performing their function; or
- if there is no senior officer who receives payment, the most senior in-house lobbyist.
The senior officer is the most senior person in the organization who receives payment to perform their function.
A client is a person or organization on whose behalf a consultant lobbyist undertakes to lobby.
A public office holder is any of the following:
- members of the legislative assembly (MLA) or their staff;
- an officer or employee of the B.C. government;
- a person appointed to any office or body by or with the approval of cabinet (other than a person appointed on the recommendation of the legislative assembly);
- a person appointed to any office or body by or with the approval of a minister of the B.C. government; or
- an officer, director or employee of any government corporation, as defined in the Financial Administration Act.
A public office holder does not include members of the judiciary.
You are a former public office holder if you:
- are a former cabinet member;
- were employed in a former cabinet member’s legislative or constituency office;
- previously occupied a senior executive position in a ministry, including deputy minister, chief executive officer, associate deputy minister, assistant deputy minister or a position of comparable rank in a ministry; or
- formerly occupied specific positions in provincial entities as designated by regulation.
An affiliate is defined in Section 2 of the Business Corporations Act. One corporation is affiliated with another corporation if:
- one is a subsidiary;
- both are subsidiaries of the same corporation; or
- each is controlled by the same person.
Payment includes a contract, promise or agreement to pay money or anything of value, but does not include reimbursed expenses.
An undertaking is an agreement by a consultant lobbyist (not an employee of an organization) to lobby on behalf of a client.
If you have entered into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client, you are a consultant lobbyist and must register within 10 days of entering into that undertaking.
If you or anyone employed by your organization, either alone or together with other individuals employed by the organization, spend 100 or more hours lobbying, the senior officer of the organization must register and list all of the employees involved in lobbying.
- Obtain a business B.C. electronic identification (BCeID) at: www.bceid.ca/register. This service is free.
- Starting April 1, 2010, register your activities with the online lobbyists registry at: https://eservice.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lra/.
- If you cannot obtain a business BCeID, you must register for a basic BCeID. However, if you register for a basic BCeID, you will be required to supply the registrar with a letter on company letterhead requesting access to the registry for the purpose of registering and a PDF copy of government-issued identification (prior to the acceptance of your registration).
After April 1, 2010, registration is free.
If you have an active registration on April 1, 2010, the following rules apply:
- If you are a consultant lobbyist, you must re-register by April 10, 2010.
- If you are an in-house lobbyist, the senior officer of your organization must re-register all in-house lobbyists by May 1, 2010.
18. I am a consultant lobbyist and have been paid to provide lobbying services in the future. Do I need to register?
Yes. You must register within 10 days of entering into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client, whether or not lobbying has actually taken place.
Each registration must include (as appropriate):
- your name and address and whether you are a consultant lobbyist or the designated filer for an organization;
- if you are a consultant lobbyist:
- the name and business of the firm, if any, where you are engaged in business;
- the date you entered into the undertaking with the client and the date the undertaking is scheduled to end; and
- the name of each individual you have engaged to lobby on behalf of the client;
- if you are the designated filer for an organization, the name of each in-house lobbyist in the organization;
- the name and business of the client or organization;
- a summary of the business or activities of the client or organization;
- if the client or organization is a corporation, the name and business address of each affiliate of the corporation;
- if the client or organization is a subsidiary of another corporation, the name and business address of the parent corporation;
- if the client or organization is a member of a coalition, the name and business address of each member of the coalition;
the name of any government or government agency that funds or partly funds the client or organization and the amount of funding;
- information about the subject matter that each lobbyist named in the registration has lobbied or expects to lobby during the relevant period;
- the name of any ministry or provincial entity employing a public office holder that you or any other lobbyist named in the registration has lobbied or expects to lobby;
- the name of any member of the legislative assembly or cabinet minister or their staff that you or any other lobbyist named in the registration has lobbied or expects to lobby;
- a declaration that no lobbyist named in the registration is in violation of the contracting prohibition (Section 2.1); and
- if you or any other lobbyist named in the registration is a former public office holder, the nature and term of the office formerly held.
20. If I have completed my current undertaking as a consultant lobbyist, am I required to update my registration?
Yes. Consultant lobbyists have 30 days from the date the undertaking is completed or terminated to revise the completion date. If you do not update the information in your registration, the online registry will automatically terminate your registration 30 days after the date you indicated your undertaking would expire.
21. Does my organization need to update its registration if I am no longer an in-house lobbyist for them?
Yes. The senior officer has 30 days after you cease to be an in-house lobbyist to change your status and record the date you stopped lobbying.
22. Am I required to update my registration if there are additions or changes to the information in my registration?
Yes. Designated filers have 30 days from the date the change occurred or the date they became aware of the change.
The information and privacy commissioner for the Province of B.C. is also the registrar of lobbyists.
- oversees and enforces compliance with the LRA and regulations;
- maintains the online lobbyists registry;
conducts investigations and hearings;
- ensures public accessibility to the information contained in the online lobbyists registry; and
- promotes compliance through outreach, training and public education.
25. What happens if the registrar believes I have not complied with my legal obligations under the LRA?
If, after completing a preliminary investigation, the registrar believes you have not complied with provisions of the LRA or its regulations, the registrar must advise you of the alleged contravention and provide you an opportunity to respond. If the registrar determines you have not complied with the LRA’s provisions or its regulations, they must inform you there has been a contravention, advise you of the penalty, if any, and inform you of your right to request reconsideration.
Yes. Within 30 days of being notified of the registrar’s decision that you have not complied with the LRA, you may submit a written request to have the registrar reconsider the decision and/or the penalty. You must provide reasons for the request.
The registrar will:
- review the reasons;
- either rescind the decision or confirm or vary the penalty;
- if the penalty amount is confirmed or varied, extend the date by which the penalty must be paid; and
- notify you in writing of the reasons for rescinding the decision or for confirming or varying the penalty.
You must pay the penalty by the date indicated in the decision. Should you fail to do so, the registrar may file a certified copy of the notice imposing the administrative penalty with the Provincial Court of B.C. or B.C. Supreme Court.
Yes. After a hearing in which the registrar determines non-compliance, the registrar must complete a report and deliver that report to the speaker of the legislative assembly for tabling in the house. The report will include the findings, conclusions and reasons for conclusions; the amount of the penalty; and whether, at the time of the report, the penalty was paid. If the registrar considers it to be in the public interest, payment details may be included.
Should the registrar refuse to investigate, cease to investigate, suspend an investigation or determine there is compliance, the registrar may complete a similar report and make it publicly available.