Federal Lobbying Act

In 2008, a new Lobbying Act and Regulations came into force as part of the Federal Accountability Act. Charities and nonprofit organizations that meet the threshold for federal lobbying activities set out in the Act are subject to the Act’s Regulations and Code of Conduct.

The Act applies to paid federal lobbying activities, for example, communicating with public office holders with respect to changing federal laws, regulations, policies or programs, obtaining a financial benefit such as a grant or contribution, in certain cases, obtaining a government contract, among other activities. The following activities are exempted:

  • Oral or written submissions to parliamentary committees where there is a public record;
  • Oral or written submissions made to any person or body which has jurisdiction or powers under a federal statute, in proceedings that are a matter of public record;
  • Oral or written communications made to a public office holder with respect to the enforcement, interpretation or application of any existing federal statute or regulation by that official (for example, routine dealings with government inspectors and other regulatory authorities; other law enforcement officers; licensing authorities; taxation, legal, and customs officials)
  • Oral or written communication made to a public office holder if the communication is restricted to a simple request for information.
  • Designated Public Office Holders (DPOH) includes all Members of Parliament, Senators, senior staff in the office of the Leader of the Opposition and many other government employees.

Organizations only have to register if one or more paid employees lobby, and the total amount of employee time devoted to federal lobbying amounts to 20% or more of a single equivalent paid employee's time. If an organization meets this threshold, the most senior paid officer that lobbies must register. Other individuals in the organization who also lobby would be detailed in the registration. Unpaid lobbying activities are not covered under the Act, for example lobbying undertaken by volunteers on your organization’s behalf and would not be included in the 20% calculation.


CCVO In Brief: Influencing Public Policy

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada

Federal Accountability Act