About the Federal Lobbyist Registry
The University of Guelph is registered as an In-House Lobbyist (Organization) under the federal Lobbying Act (formerly the Lobbyists Registration Act). On July 2, 2008, certain regulations of the Lobbying Act came into force. These regulations include a monthly filing requirement disclosing any communication with designated public office holders in the federal government, as explained below.
University of Guelph’s Registration
The University of Guelph is registered under the Lobbying Act by its most senior officer (Dr. Franco Vaccarino, President and Vice-Chancellor) who must register and list personnel within the organization who lobby. Senior Administrators are also listed as a part of the University’s registration.
The Office of the Vice-President (External) is responsible for ensuring compliance with this law within the University of Guelph and will file all the official disclosures. Full compliance is important in order to ensure the University’s lobbying efforts are lawful, and to avoid penalty.
A Communications Reporting Template has been created for use by those who engage in lobbying, in order to assist in filing the required disclosures. Each month the University must file a Monthly Return reporting any communication with designated public office holders, including any oral communication and any planned communication.
Please send the completed Communications Reporting Template to Mellissa McDonald, Manager, Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than the 1st of the month if you have any communications to report.
Definition of “Lobbying”
Lobbying as defined by the Act is communicating, any oral and arranged communications (excluding e-mail, letter and fax communications), with a designated public officer holder with respect to the following matters:
- the development of a legislative proposal;
- the introduction or amendment of a Bill or resolution;
- making or amending any regulation, policy or program; or
- the awarding of a tax credit or any other financial benefit; or
- the awarding of a non-peer reviewed grant or contribution by the federal government.
Definition of “Designated Public Office Holders”
The Act creates a new class of public office holder known as Designated Public Office Holders (DPOH). On September 20, 2010 a new regulation was passed amending the Designated Public Office Holder Regulations, which now includes:
- all Members of Parliament (MPs), Senators and exempt staff working in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in the House and in the Senate
- a public office holder who:
- occupies the senior executive position, whether titled deputy minister, chief executive officer or by some other title; or
- is an associate deputy minister or an assistant deputy minister or occupies a position of comparable rank
- Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Maritime Staff, Chief of Land Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Military Personnel, Judge Advocate General
- any position of Senior Advisor to the Privy Council to which the office holder is appointed by the Governor-in-Council
- Deputy Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs) Privy Council Office
- Comptroller General of Canada
- any position to which the office holder is appointed pursuant to para. 127.1(1)(a) or (b) of the Public Service Employment Act , namely: deputy minister, associate deputy minister and positions of equivalent ranks, in addition to deputy head, associate deputy head and positions of equivalent ranks
- any person identified by the Prime Minister as having had the task of providing advice and support to him or her during the transition period leading up to the swearing in of the Prime Minister and his or her ministry
It is important to note that at this time there is not central list/database of DPOH’s. If it is unclear from an individual’s title / place of work if they are a DPOH for the purposes of the Act, the onus is on the lobbyist to ask if the government official with whom they are meeting / speaking is a DPOH. If you are uncertain please contact the University Secretariat for clarification.
Reporting of Communications: Monthly Returns
Universities are subject to the Lobbying Act as an In-House Lobbyist and must register those engaged in all types of communication with designated public office holders. Communications must be disclosed in a monthly report if:
- It is both oral and arranged:
- phone conversations and in person meeting
- excludes emails, faxes, correspondence
- doesn't apply to chance encounters
- Formal or informal communications - all considered
- Who was involved and what was discussed is key - venue is not important (Government trying to capture non-traceable communications)
The University will file a monthly disclosure by way of a return no later than 15 days after the end of every month,
- if any communication, oral and arranged, (excluding e-mail, letter and fax communications) with a designated public office holder took place during the month being reported upon,
- information contained in an active return is no longer correct or additional information that the lobbyist has become aware of should be included in an active return,
- the lobbying activities have terminated or no longer require registration, or
- five months have elapsed since the end of the last month in which a return was filed.
The monthly return must include: (please see Communications Reporting Template )
- the name(s) of the public office holder,
- position and name of the branch, unit or department,
- date and particulars of the communication including subject matter(s) and description.
The Commissioner may verify with the DPOH the content of the monthly return. Once filed, the return will be added to the public searchable database. There is a penalty for failure to file a required return or for submission of a false or misleading statement to the Commissioner of Lobbying.
A disclosure is not required if:
- the communication takes place in an open forum in which the subject matters, the names of participants and the name of the government organizations represented are a matter of public record; or
- the communication is restricted to a simple request for information, enforcement, interpretation or application of a federal regulation or piece of legislation
- the DPOH initiates a discussion requesting an individual’s comment or expertise relating to the development, policy, programs or legislation.
However, a disclosure is required if communication is necessary to determine what additional information is required in having an application or project approved. If funding is discussed in a DPOH initiated meeting you must report.