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• Exemptions from the lobbyist registry
Part of Lobbying
A week ago I sent e-mails to the 14 city councillors who have an early-opening outdoor artificial ice rink in their ward (i.e. November 21). I asked them if they were planning to advertise the early opening, and I also suggested to them that they might contact the City's recreation director to remind him to ask his staff to update last year's outdated rink information.
I received this one-line reply from one councillor's office:
You are advised to review the City website and the Lobbyist Registry rules at: http://www.toronto.ca/lobbying/index.htm
I did so, and when I read this piece: http://www.toronto.ca/lobbying/pdf/protocol_written_comm_may2109.pdf -- it did indeed sound as though any councillor who gets an "unsolicited e-mail" such as mine would have to beware.
I find this breathtaking. Here are my questions:
1. who developed this protocol?
2. was it approved by council? (if so, on what date, so I can find it in the minutes)
3. could you recommend any staff contact who could explain to me what the intent of this protocol is?
Subject: Re: Question for 311 - from the web
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 2009
To: Jutta Mason======
I just heard back from staff in City Clerk's Division.
The City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 140 was adopted by City Council.
Your questions with respect to lobbying City Officials should be directed to the Lobbyist Registrar at email@example.com for her direct attention and response.
I hope this is helpful.
To: Lobbyist Registrar
Hello -- I've been advised by 311 to contact you with my query, please see below (I've highlighted it in blue). If you would like more information, my phone number is 416 533-0153.
The rink query to the councillors is grounded in a 4-year-old website that gives information to people who love our outdoor compressor-cooled rinks http://cityrinks.ca.
In addition, our little research group CELOS http://celos.ca has recently received a grant to create an online library about the effect of legislation, regulations, policies, and guidelines, on parks and public space. So, as you can imagine, this issue is of considerable interest to us, as citizens. If you could send me the link to the meeting at which the particular wording was approved (or the date of the meeting), that would be helpful. And of course, your interpretation would be very helpful as well.
Subject: [Fwd: Re: Question for 311 - from the web]
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009
To: Jutta Mason
Good morning, Ms Mason,
Thank you for your enquiry. The Lobbying By-law, Municipal Code Chapter 140, came into force on February 11, 2008. I am attaching a copy of the Lobbying by-law (pdf) for your convenience. The by-law is also available on our website, http://www.toronto.ca/lobbying
The protocol on unsolicited written and electronic communications with members of Council was developed by the Lobbyist Registrar and the Integrity Commissioner, in consultation with members of Council. This protocol applies to lobbyists.
I have viewed your website. My understanding is that your organization, the Centre for Local Research into Public Space (CELOS) is a not-for-profit, community-based group. Most not-for-profit organizations are exempt from registration with the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar. I am attaching a copy of the Interpretation Bulletin, "Not-for-profit Organizations", for your information. I believe that CELOS falls into the exempt category. The protocol on unsolicited communication does not, therefore, apply to you or your organization.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to contact the Lobbyist Registry by telephone at 416-338-5858 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.
Barbara Broden, Lobbyist Registry Advisor
Office of the Lobbyist Registrar