June 2016 – Article: Get Ready for a Lobbyist Code of Conduct


The construction industry is subject to many government changes, initiatives and legislation, and as such, stakeholders are often involved in lobbying various provincial ministries.  With upcoming changes to the Province’s Lobbyist Registration Act, it is important for all groups involved with lobbying to read about the upcoming changes below.

The changes will directly impact those, who on behalf of their companies, associations or other organizations, undertake lobbying efforts as part of their regular business activities, as well as their senior executives.

The changes reflect recommendations made by Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner.  Among the changes:

  • The authority to investigate alleged violations of the act
  • The ability to prohibit lobbying for up to two years and the ability to provide guidance and direction on lobbyist conduct
  • The authority to develop a Lobbyist Code of Conduct, and
  • Stronger enforcement provisions, including stiffer fines upon a conviction under the Act

For In-house Lobbyists (those lobbying for an organization), a single set of rules will apply for both for-profit and non-profit organizations including:

  • Making the senior officer (CEOs) of an organization legally responsible for registering the lobbying activities of employees, officers and directors. A senior officer who fails to file a registration that is incomplete, inaccurate or late, could be convicted of a strict liability offence
  • A lower threshold for the mandatory registration of lobbying activity, requiring businesses and organizations to register when lobbying activity by their paid staff totals 50 hours per year or more
  • Amending the deadline to renew an in-house lobbyist registration to six months

For Consultant Lobbyists (anyone paid to lobby on behalf of a third party),

  • Prohibiting consultant lobbying on a contingency-fee or success-fee basis
  • Prohibiting lobbying by an individual consultant lobbyist paid to advise the government or government agency concerning the same subject
  • Expanding the obligation for registration requirements to include:
    • A greater emphasis on lobbying goals
    • Specific identification of each Cabinet Minister, MPP or advisor who will be lobbied, and
    • Disclosure of whether a lobbyist has ever held a senior position with the Ontario Government or a government agency

Any company, organization, or individual that has dealings with Ontario provincial public office holders should take concrete measures to ensure compliance with the newly revised legislation which takes effect July 1, 2016.

For changes to the Act for In-House Lobbyists (for profit entities), click here.



Fred Lehmann
Communications Coordinator,


Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research,

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222
F 416.620.5310