A strong democracy is built on access to a government that conducts its business transparently and is willing to listen to its constituents.
B.C. believes in promoting transparency in the lobbying process and established the first-ever lobbyist registry in 2002 to ensure public transparency and openness.
By employing lobbyists, individuals and organizations can ensure that their concerns or positions are heard by government and can attempt to have those concerns addressed.
- The Lobbyists Registration Act was created in 2001 and the Lobbyist Registry established in 2002.
- At the time, the Lobbyist Registry put B.C. at the front of the pack in Canada.
- In 2009, the Lobbyist Registration Act was updated to create one of the strongest regimes for lobbyist registration in the country.
- The lobbyist registrar’s powers and duties have been significantly increased. The registrar is now able to conduct thorough investigations, with the power to compel testimony and documents.
- Concerns about lobbying activity are handled by the registrar, who is an independent officer of the Legislature.
- The updated act:
- Provides administrative penalties of up to $25,000 that can be levied by the registrar for contravening the act or regulations;
- Increases the maximum fine for conviction of a subsequent offence to $100,000 (up from $25,000);
- Allows the registrar to prohibit a person from lobbying for a period up to two years if convicted of an offence under the act;
- Creates a contracting prohibition by which no person can enter an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client while being paid under contract to advise the government on the same subject matter;
- Requires consultant lobbyists to name each individual they engage to lobby on behalf of the client; and,
- Requires lobbyists to disclose whether they are a former public office holder.