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Registry of Lobbyists - Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is lobbying?
What activities are NOT considered lobbying?
Who is a lobbyist?
Who is a public office holder?
Who is not a public office holder, as defined in the Act?
Does the Act apply to someone working in his or her official capacity?
What is the role of the Registrar of Lobbyists?
What offences and penalties are defined under the Act?

Consultant Lobbyists

Can a firm register an employee as a consultant lobbyist?
What happens when the lobbying stops?
I am a consultant lobbyist who volunteers with an organization that occasionally lobbies the provincial government. Do I have to register?

In-house Lobbyists (Company)

Can my company register me as an in-house lobbyist?
What happens if I change jobs within my organization or cease to work for my employer?
What is meant by "significant part of duties" in reference to in-house lobbyists?

In-house Lobbyists (Organization)

Must every employee in an organization who communicates with the provincial government be named in the registration form?
Do I have to renew my registration every six months, even if none of the information changes?
What is meant by "significant part of duties" in reference to in-house lobbyists?


What is lobbying?

Lobbying occurs when an individual is paid to communicate with a public-office holder in an attempt to influence:
the development of a legislative proposal 
the introduction, passage, defeat or amendment of a bill or resolution
the making or amendment of any regulation
the development, amendment or termination of a policy or program
a decision about privatization or outsourcing
the awarding of a grant, contribution or other financial benefit by or on behalf of the government
the awarding of a contract by or on behalf of the government (consultant lobbyists only)
arranging a meeting between a public servant and any other person (consultant lobbyists only)
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What activities are NOT considered lobbying?

The Act does not apply to:
a submission to a committee of the House of Assembly that is on the public record, or to a person specified under the Act
a submission to a public servant about how he or she enforces, interprets, or applies legislation or regulations, or administers a policy, program, directive, or guideline with respect to the person, partnership or organization being represented
a submission to a public servant in response to a request for advice or comment
a submission to an MLA on behalf of a constituent about a personal matter
communication by a trade union regarding administration or negotiation of a collective agreement
communication by a trade union related to representation of a member or former member who is or was employed in the public service
a submission by a barrister of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia regarding drafting of a legislative proposal
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Who is a lobbyist?

The Lobbyists' Registration Act defines three categories of lobbyists:
1. Consultant lobbyists: An individual paid to lobby on behalf of a client is considered to be a consultant lobbyist. Consultant lobbyists can include lawyers, accountants and other professionals.
2. In-house lobbyists (Company): An employee of a person, partnership or company whose lobbying activity is a significant part of their duties or whose lobbying activity along with that of other employees' would amount to a significant part of one staff member's duties.
3. In-house lobbyists (Organization): An employee of an organization such as a professional association, society or chamber of commerce whose lobbying activity is a significant part of their duties or whose lobbying activity along with that of other employees' would amount to a significant part of one staff member's duties.
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Who is a public office holder?

A public office holder, or public servant, includes:
an MLA, official or servant of the House of Assembly and their staff
officers, managers and staff of provincial government departments, agencies, boards, commissions (but not broader public sector organizations such as hospitals, universities and municipal governments)
persons appointed by Order-in-Council
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Who is not a public office holder, as defined in the Act?

The following do not fall under the definition of a public office holder:
a judge
a justice of the peace
a Small Claims Court adjudicator
a member of an administrative tribunal exercising a judicial function
the Ombudsman
a review officer appointed pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
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Does the Act apply to someone working in his or her official capacity?

The Act does not apply to any of the following in their official capacity:
MLAs, officers and servants of the House of Assembly or their staff
employees in the public service of the Province
members of a municipal council or village commission, their municipal staff, and officers or employees of a municipality
officers, directors or employees of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities
officers, directors or employees of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association
federal senators, MPs, elected members of the legislative assembly of another province, and their staff
employees of the Government of Canada or of the government of another province
members of a band council under Canada's Indian Act and their staff
diplomatic agents, consular officers or official representatives
officials of the United Nations and other international organizations granted privileges and immunities by the Canadian government
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What is the role of the Registrar of Lobbyists?
administering the registration process
identifying omissions and inconsistencies, and asking the lobbyist to correct the information
informing lobbyists, public servants, the general public and others about the Registry
ensuring that the public has access to the information in the Registry
issuing bulletins about the enforcement, interpretation or application of the Act or its regulations.
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What offences and penalties are defined under the Act?

A lobbyist or a senior officer of an organization could be subject to a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for a second or subsequent offence when he or she:
does not file a timely return as set out in the Act
does not provide the information required
fails to provide the Registrar with changes, new information or requested clarifications
makes false or misleading statements
knowingly places a public servant in a position of real or potential conflict of interest
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Consultant Lobbyists


Can a firm register an employee as a consultant lobbyist?

No. Each consultant lobbyist must file a return at the start of an undertaking. Each lobbyist is responsible for reporting changes and the end of an undertaking.


What happens when the lobbying stops?

The lobbyist must file a Notice of Termination with the Registrar of Lobbyists within 30 days.


I am a consultant lobbyist who volunteers with an organization that occasionally lobbies the provincial government. Do I have to register?

If you are voluntarily lobbying for the organization, and you are not paid for your services, you do not have to register. If you are paid a salary (over and above expenses) to lobby for the organization, you must register as a consultant lobbyist.
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In-House Lobbyists (Company)


Can my company register me as an in-house (Company) lobbyist?

No. Each in-house lobbyist (company) must register within 60 days of determining that lobbying will take up a significant part of his or her duties.


What happens if I change jobs within my company or cease to work for my employer?

If you stop lobbying for your employer or are no longer employed by the company, you must file a Notice of Termination with the Registrar within 30 days. (This is not the Termination of Employment form required by Human Resources and Development Canada to apply for Employment Insurance benefits.)


What is meant by "significant part of duties" in reference to in-house lobbyists?

The regulations to the Lobbyists' Registration Act define "significant part of duties" as when lobbying takes up 20 per cent (or more) of an employee's time over a three-month period. For example, if one assumes a five-day workweek, then an employee would have to lobby at least 12 days over a three-month period to reach the 20 per cent threshold.

If the time spent lobbying by 2 or more employees takes the equivalent of 20% or more of the time of one employee, each of the 2 or more employees must register individually as lobbyists.

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In-House Lobbyists (Organization)


Must every employee in a organization who communicates with the provincial government be named in the registration form?

No. The senior officer must only register those employees who perform lobbying activities.


Do I have to renew my registration every six months, even if none of the information changes?

Yes. The senior officer must file a return with the Registrar every six months to report current and planned activities for the filing period.


What is meant by "significant part of duties" in reference to in-house lobbyists?

The Lobbyists' Registration Act defines "significant part of duties" as when lobbying takes up 20 per cent (or more) of an employee's time over a three-month period. For example, if one assumes a five-day workweek, then an employee would have to lobby at least 12 days over a three- month period to reach the 20 per cent threshold.

If the time spent lobbying by 2 or more employees takes the equivalent of 20% or more of the time of one employee, each of the 2 or more employees must be registered as lobbyists.
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