Compliance Obligations & Risk
Universities are subject to the Lobbying Act and must both register everyone who engages in activities deemed “lobbying” – and register certain communications each month.
Fines, threat of jail, and potential loss of project or even university-wide funding is real while bearing significant public perception risks. This memorandum focuses on compliance with the 2008 Lobbying Act. Full compliance is an important matter to UBC.
On December 12, 2006 the Federal Accountability Act amended the Lobbyists Registration Act, renaming it the Lobbying Act. On July 2, 2008 some of the most substantive changes affecting UBC came into effect. Not only does UBC have to register every person who “lobbies”, and every person who seeks non-peer reviewed funds from the federal government, but UBC must now provide monthly written disclosure of certain oral and arranged communications undertaken with the federal government.
Compliance Method re Tracked Communications
UBC’s Government Relations Office is responsible for filing all the official disclosures. UBC’s Government Relations Office must file UBC’s report within 15 days of the last day of the month in which the registerable communication has taken place.
By the first of each month, please send your registerable communication entry to the person in your Faculty/Office designated to send UBC’s Government Relations Office the record disclosing all the verbal lobbying communications made in the previous month. Your Faculty/Office colleague will send the completed disclosure (Monthly Return) to UBC’s Government Relations Office (at email@example.com) who will place the information on the website of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.
Registration of UBC’s “Lobbyists”
The Act requires UBC to register as Lobbyists everyone at UBC who, in the course of their work at UBC (i.e. on behalf of UBC), contacts a “designated public office holder” (DPOH) in relation to the following – which is deemed to be “lobbying”:
- The development of a legislative proposal
- The introduction or amendment of a Bill or resolution
- Making or amending any regulation, policy or program
- The awarding of a tax credit or any other financial benefit
- The awarding of a non-peer reviewed grant or contribution by the federal government
Exclusions – Registration as a Lobbyist 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.
- The communication is restricted to a simple request for information.
- The DPOH initiates a discussion requesting an individual’s comment or expertise relating to the development, policy, programs or legislation. Communication caught by the Act, however, includes communication to determine what additional information is required to have an application or project approved. If funding is discussed in a DPOH initiated meeting you must report.