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Lobbyist Registrar - Summary

21-Mar-2010 [209]

• Summary of law and by-laws re: LR

Part of Lobbying

Our research into the laws that set up the city Lobbyist Register began with our interest in accountability and transparency in local government, and the different ways people and governments in different cities have tried to achieve this. See Accountability Officers and City governance, general.

Later, a CELOS researcher was directed by a city councillor to the city's lobbyist registrar's website in response to her "unsolicited" e-mails to city councillors regarding the early opening of 14 city artificial ice rinks. Rather surprised, she wrote to the city to find out if city lobbying rules apply to this kind of request coming from CELOS. Lobbying Correspondence The Lobbyist Registrar's office wrote to tell her that CELOS - and non-profits are generally - are exempt from the Lobbing by-law. Lobbying non-profits.

The law, as set out in the City of Toronto Act, says that City Council must set up a publicly accessibly register of people who lobby "public office holders" including: City Councillors, city staff, members or directors of City Boards and people appointed by the City to certain positions. The law also permits Council to appoint a Lobbyist Registrar, "LR".

The creation of a publicly accessible lobbyist register is one of 4 "Accountability and Transparency" measures designed to help Council ensure that the City is accountable to its citizens. The provincial law then gives City Council the power to pass by-laws to further define the role and rules around the lobbyist register, and to appoint and define the duties and role of a Lobbyist Registrar responsible for the register - see Council Lobbying By-law - Chapter 140 Lobbying By-law?

A summary of the provincial law and the City by-law with respect to lobbying are summarized below.

The Lobbyist Registrar's city website has a page called 'The Basics' which defines lobbying

The City of Toronto Act says that City Council, through its by-law making power, can (but is not obliged to) do any of the following things:

1. Define “lobby”.

2. Require lobbyists to file returns and give information to the City.

3. Specify the returns to be filed, and any other information the City requires, and the deadlines for filing returns and other required information.

4. Exempt people from the requirement to file returns and provide information.

5. Specify those activities that do not require people to file returns and provide information.

6. Set up a code of conduct for persons who lobby public office holders.

7. Prohibit former public office holders from lobbying current public office holders for a specified period.

8. Prohibit non-registered lobbyists from lobbying public officer holders.

9. Set conditions for registration, continued registration or a renewal of registration.

10. Refuse to register a person, and suspend or revoke a registration.

11. Prohibit contingency fees, by which a lobbyist (or someone who hires a lobbyist) is paid wholly or partly based on the successful outcome of his/her lobbying efforts.

The Registrar can conduct an inquiry at the request of a city councillor, or a member of the public about whether or not the code of conduct for lobbyists or the lobbyist registration system has been respected. In this case s/he reports to City Council and these reports are publicly available.

The City of Toronto Municipal Code

Acting on the power given to them by the provincial legislators, City Council has set out those provisions which relate to all of the 4 "Accountability Officers" as they are named in the by-law Toronto Municipal Code Oct 2009 in city by-law No. 1098-2009, passed on 2009-10-27. This by-law is now included in the quarterly compilation of by-laws which pertain to the city as a whole known as the City of Toronto Municipal Code Toronto Municipal Code Oct 2009. The by-law is now reproduced in Chapter 3, entitled "Accountability Officers".

In addition, the by-law describes the Lobbyist Registrar's role in Article IV by specifying, amongst other things that:

- the Lobbyist Registrar is appointed for a 5 year term, with the possibility of a one time renewal term for an additional 5 years

- the Lobbyist Registrar's duties and responsibilities are set out in Chapter 140 of the Municipal Code.