Attorney General

Government proposes two-year lobbying ban for former public office holders

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Attorney General

Government proposes two-year lobbying ban for former public office holders

Media Contacts
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Attorney General
778 678-1572
Media Contacts
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Attorney General
778 678-1572

Backgrounders

About the Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act 2017

The goal of this legislation is to enact a strong, sweeping prohibition, so that individuals who worked for the government cannot sell their insider-knowledge and contacts in order to influence governments on behalf of corporations and organizations.

  • The proposed changes to the Lobbyists Registration Act will prohibit former public office holders from acting as lobbyists for two years after leaving office.
  • The two-year prohibition begins on the date employment ended.
  • This two-year prohibition is new for British Columbia.
  • However, the Registrar of Lobbyists will have the discretion to grant an exemption to this two-year prohibition if it is deemed in the public interest.
  • The amendments require lobbyists to disclose the names of any staff person working in a minister or MLA’s office with whom they speak.
  • This is in addition to disclosing the name of the minister or MLA to whom a lobbyist speaks.
  • The Lobbyists Registration Act has not undergone significant amendment since 2009.
  • Ministry staff will be working with the Registrar of Lobbyists to review the Act, including past recommendations of that office. The review will begin within the year. 
  • Currently, the Act is silent on the participation of former public office holders serving as lobbyists.
  • The definition of former public office holder includes former cabinet ministers and their political staff, parliamentary secretaries, deputy ministers, ministry CEOs, associate deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers, or positions of an equivalent rank and the two-most senior positions and board members of universities, institutions, school boards, health authority boards, hospitals, organizations in the natural resources and economic development sector, transportation and social services sectors, the Workers Compensation Board, and a number of Crown corporations, agencies and associations.

Penalties for breaking the prohibition rules

  • There are both administrative penalties and fines for offences under the act.
  • Administrative penalties may be imposed by the registrar up to $25,000 for non-compliance with the act and regulation. Since 2012, the registrar has imposed 62 administrative penalties under the act with the average penalty being $447.18. The highest penalty imposed was $1,500.
  • If convicted of an offence under the Lobbyists Registration Act, there is a maximum fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for a second offence.
  • As part of the penalties, the registrar may also impose a two-year prohibition from lobbying.

Restrictions in other jurisdictions

  • The federal government’s Lobbying Act prohibits designated public office holders for a period of five years.
  • Saskatchewan prohibits former cabinet ministers for one year and other former public office holders for six months.
  • Quebec has a two-year prohibition for former cabinet members and members of the National Assembly, and a one-year prohibition for other positions.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador has a one-year prohibition.

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