1994 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 35th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
MR. DAVID SCHRECK
WHEREAS responsible representative government requires public awareness of the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence the provincial public decision-making process; and
WHEREAS the effective public disclosure of the identity and extent of the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence provincial officials in the conduct of government actions will increase public confidence in the integrity of government;
THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 The purposes of this Act are to
(1) provide for the disclosure of the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence provincial legislators, their staffs or the public service in the conduct of government actions; and
(2) afford the fullest possible opportunity to the people of British Columbia to exercise their freedom to petition their Government for a redress of griev ances, to express their opinions freely to their Government, to provide information to their Government or report on its activities.
2 In this Act:
"Client" means any person who employs or retains another person for financial or other compensation to conduct lobbying activities on its own behalf. For greater certainty, an organization whose employees conduct lobbying activities on its behalf is both a client and an employer of the lobbyists. In the case of a coalition or association that employs or retains others to conduct lobbying activities on behalf of its membership, the client is the coalition or association and not its individual members.
"Commisioner" means the Conflict of Interest Commissioner;
"Committee" means the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills;
"Employee" means any individual who is an officer, employee, partner, director or proprietor of an organization, but does not include
(a) independent contractors or other agents who are not regular employees;
(b) volunteers who receive no financial or other compensation from the organization from their services.
"Lobbying activities" means lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research and other background work that is intended for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.
"Lobbying contact" means any oral or written communication with a person identified in section 3 or the regulations that is made on behalf of a client with regard to:
(a) the formulation, amendment or adoption of provincial legislation, including legislative proposals, regulations or ministerial orders, except in the case of written comments that are made on the record in a public proceeding;
(b) the administration or execution of a provincial program or policy, including the negotiation, award, or administration of a provincial contract, grant, loan, permit, or licence, except in the case of communications that are:
(i) made to officials serving in the agency responsible for taking such action (other than persons identified in Section 3);
(ii) made to officials with regard to judicial proceedings, criminal or civil law enforcement enquiries, investigations or proceedings, or filings required by statute or regulation;
(iii) made on behalf of an individual with regard to such individual's benefits, employment, other personal matters involving only that individual, or disclosures by that indi vidual pursuant to applicable whistler blower statutes;
but excludes communications that are:
(c) made by public officials acting in their official capacity;
(d) made by the media, except where representatives of a media organization seek to influence persons identified in section 3 on a matter directly affecting the interests of such organization;
(e) made in a speech, articles, or other publication, or through the media;
(f) requests for appointments, requests for the status of a provincial action, or other similar ministerial contacts, if there is no attempt to influence the persons identified in section 3;
(g) made in the course of participation in an advisory committee;
(h) testimony given before a committee or subcommittee of the Legislature, or submitted for inclusion in the public record of a hearing conducted by such committee or subcommittee;
(i) information provided in writing in response to a specific written request from a person identified in section 3;
(j) required by subpoena, civil investigative demand or otherwise compelled by statute or other action of the Legislative Assembly;
(k) made in response to a notice soliciting communications from the public and directed to the agency official designated in the notice to receive them;
(l) made with regard to matters, the unauthorized disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
"Lobbyist" means any individual who is employed or retained by another for financial or other compensation to perform services that include lobbying contacts, other than an individual whose lobbying activities are only incidental to, and are not a significant part of, the services for which an individual is paid.
"Organization" means an incorporated association, company, society, municipality or other incorporated body where and however incorporated, and includes a corporation sole other than Her Majesty or the Lieutenant Governor.
3 Lobbying contacts with the following persons are regulated by this Act:
(a) the Premier and members of the Executive Council;
(b) Members of the Legislative Assembly;
(c) persons employed by the Legislative Assembly, paid from Vote 1, acting in an executive capacity and exercising management functions;
(d) persons appointed to remunerated positions by Order-In-Council and acting in a confidential capacity, other than clerical or secretarial employees;
(e) senior provincial government officials, which includes Deputy Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers, Associate Deputy Ministers, Executive Directors and others that may be prescribed by regulation;
(f) persons exercising management functions at Crown Corporations and Commissions.
4 (1) Only lobbyists registered pursuant to this Act may engage in lobbying activities.
(2) No later than 30 days after a lobbyist first makes a lobbying contact or agrees to make lobbying contacts, the lobbyist or the organization employing the lobbyist shall register with the Commissioner.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), any person whose total receipts or total costs in connection with lobbying activities on behalf of a particular client do not exceed, or are not expected to exceed, $1,000 in a semiannual period is not required to register for such client.
(4) Each registration under this section shall be in a form acceptable to the Commissioner and shall contain:
(a) the name, address, business telephone number and principal place of business of the registrant, and a general description of its business or activities;
(b) the name, address, and principal place of business of the registrant's client, and a general description of its business or activities if different from the details provided pursuant to subsection (a);
(c) the name of any organization, other than the client, that
(i) contributes more than $5,000 toward the lobbying activities in a semiannual period;
(ii) significantly participates in the supervision or control of the lobbying activities; or
(iii) has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the lobbying activities;
(d) the names, principal places of business and approximate percentage of equity ownership in the client where the shareholding is greater than five (5) percent.
(e) a statement of the general issue areas in which the registrant expects to engage in lobbying activities on behalf of the client and, to the extent practicable, a list of specific issues that have already been addressed or are likely to be addressed; and
(f) the name of each employee of the registrant whom the registrant expects to act as a lobbyist on behalf of the client.
5 (1) In the case of a registrant representing more than one client, a separate registration shall be filed for each client represented.
(2) Any organization that has one or more employees who are lobbyists shall file a single registration for each client on behalf of its employees who engage in lobbying on behalf of such client.
6 (1) No later than thirty (30) days after the end of the semiannual period beginning on the first day of each January and the first day of July in which it is registered, each registrant shall file a report with the Commissioner on its lobbying activities during such semiannual period.
(2) Each semiannual report shall be in a form acceptable to the Commissioner and shall contain:
(a) the name of the registrant, the name of the client, and any changes or updates to the information provided in the initial registration;
(b) for each general issue area in which the registrant engaged in lobbying activities on behalf of the client during the semiannual filing period:
(i) a list of the specific issues upon which the registrant engaged in lobbying activities, including a list of bill numbers and references to specific regulations, programs, projects, contracts, grants and loans to the maximum extent practicable;
(ii) a list of persons identified in section 3 of this Act contacted by lobbyists employed by the registrant on behalf of the client during the semiannual filing period;
(iii) a list of the employees of the registrant who acted as lobbyists on behalf of the client.
(3) In the case of a registrant lobbying on behalf of a client other than the registrant, a good faith estimate of the total amount of all receipts from the client, and any payments to the registrant by any other person to lobby on behalf of the client during the semiannual period, other than receipts for matters that are unreleated to lobbying activities.
(4) In the case of a registant lobbying on its own behalf, a good faith estimate of the total costs that the organization and its employees incurred in connection with lobbying activities during the semiannual filing period.
(5) Any registrant whose total receipts or total costs are less than $1,000 in a semiannual period is deemed to be inactive during such period and may comply with the reporting requirements of this section by notifying the Commissioner.
(6) The Commissioner may grant, on application, an extension of time not exceeding thirty (30) days for the filing of any report under this section.
7 The Commissioner shall:
(1) provide guidance and assistance on the registration and reporting requirements of this Act, including to the extent practicable, the issuance of published decisions and advisory opinions;
(2) review and make such supplemental verifications or inquiries as are necessary to ensure the completeness, accuracy and timeliness of registra tions and reports;
(3) develop filing, coding and cross-indexing systems to carry out the purposes of this Act, including computerized systems designed to minimize the burden of filing and maximize public access to materials filed under this Act;
(4) make copies of each registration and report filed under this Act available to the public in electronic and hard copy formats as soon as practicable after the date on which such registration or report is received;
(5) preserve the originals or accurate reproductions of the registrations until such time as they are terminated, and of reports for a period of no less than five (5) years from the date on which the report is received;
(6) maintain a computer record of the information contained in registrations and reports for no less than ten (10) years after the date on which such registrations and reports are received;
(7) compile and summarize, with respect to each semiannual period, the information contained in registrations and reports filed during such period in a manner which clearly presents the extent and nature of expenditures on lobbying activities during such period;
(8) make information compiled and summarized under subsection (7) available to the public in electronic and hard copy formats as soon as practicable after the close of each semiannual filing period;
(9) provide copies of all registrations and reports received under this Act and all compilations, cross- indexes and summaries of such registrations and reports to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly by computer telecommunication and other means as soon as practicable, but not later than five (5) working days, after the material is received or created; and
(10) transmit to the Legislative Assembly periodic reports describing the implementation of this Act, together with recommendations for such legislative or further action as the Commissioner considers appropriate.
8 (1) Where the Commissioner has reason to believe that a person may be in noncompliance with the requirements of this Act, the Commissioner shall notify the person in writing of the nature of the alleged noncompliance and provide an opportunity for the person to respond in writing to the allegation within 30 days or such longer period as the Commissioner may determine appropriate in the circumstances.
(2) If the person respsonds within 30 days or other time limit set by the Commissioner, and satisfies the concerns, the Commissioner shall take no further action.
(3) If the person does not respond within 30 days or other time limit set by the Commissioner, or if the Commissioner is not satisfied with the response Commissioner may, at the Commissioner's discretion
(a) make a formal request for specific additional information to be filed within a time limit to be determined by the Commissioner and which is reasonably necessary to determine whether the alleged noncompliance in fact exists; or
(b) report the matter to the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Parlimentary Reform who shall convene a meeting of the Committee within thirty (30) days to consider the matter.
(4) If the person fails to respond within the time limit set by the Commissioner to the request for additional information pursuant to subsection (3), or the response is not satisfactory to the Commissioner, the Commissioner shall report the matter to the Chair of the Select Standing Committee who shall convene a meeting within thirty (30) days to consider the matter.
9 Where the Committee meets to consider a matter referred to it pursuant to section 8 of this Act, it shall be empowered:
(1) to sit and receive evidence during a period in which the Legislative Assembly is adjourned;
(2) to sit and receive evidence during the recess after prorogation;
(3) to sit and receive evidence during the subsequent session;
(4) to adjourn from place to place as may be convenient;
(5) to suspend the registration of the lobbyist;
(6) to report from time to time its findings to the House; and
(7) to have all of the powers of the Legislative Assembly under the Legislative Assembly Privileges Act.
10 Where the Committee suspends the registration of a lobbyist the suspension shall come into effect immediately for the length of time the Committee deter mines.
11 The person who is suspended may appeal to the Legislative Assembly.
12 The Lieutenant-Governor In Council may make regulations.
13 This Act comes into force by proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor In Council.
This bill provides for:
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