Prince Edward Island Lobbyists Registration Act: Overview

Please note: The Lobbyists Registration Act and Regulations are scheduled to come into force April 1, 2019.

The following overview of the Lobbyists Registration Act is general in nature. It is intended to clarify terms and definitions in the Act and help individuals and organizations engaged in lobbying activities to understand their responsibilities under the Act.

The Lobbyists Registration Act requires anyone who is paid to lobby public servants to register. Registration is valid for six months and must be renewed within 30 days of each six-month anniversary of the most recent registration. It is the responsibility of the lobbyist and/or the lobbyist’s employer to determine if registration is necessary. For more information, refer to the Lobbyists Registration Act and its regulations or contact your legal counsel.

Registration requirements vary according to the category of lobbyist, which the Act defines as:

  • Consultant lobbyist: An individual paid to lobby on behalf of a client. Consultant lobbyists can include lawyers, accountants and other professionals.   Consultant lobbyists must register within 10 days of beginning an undertaking for a client. Usually, this means within 10 days of agreeing to lobby on behalf of a client. (A volunteer who is not paid to lobby for an organization does not have to register.)
  • In-house lobbyist (company): Each employee of a person, partnership or company whose lobbying activity, individually or combined with other employees, amounts to at least 50 hours in a three-month period must register within two months of becoming a lobbyist.
  • In-house lobbyist (organization): A senior officer of an organization (generally non-profit or non-commercial) such as a professional association, society, trade union, labour organization or chamber of commerce, must register each employee whose lobbying activity, individually or combined with other employees, amounts to at least 50 hours in a three-month, within two months of becoming a lobbyist.

What is lobbying?

Lobbying occurs when an individual is paid by their client or employer to communicate with a public servant or 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 a 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); or
  • the arrangement of a meeting between a public servant and another person (consultant lobbyists only).

What is not considered lobbying activity?

When the government requests comment on an issue, the responses generally are not considered to be lobbying. Communications generally excluded from the Act include:

  • a submission to a committee of the Legislative Assembly that is on the public record or to any body or person with jurisdiction under legislation;
  • 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 certain personal matters;
  • communication by a trade union regarding administration or negotiation of a collective agreement; and
  • communication by a trade union related to representation of a member or former member who is or was employed in the public service.

Who is a public servant (office holder)?

A public servant or office holder includes:

  • an MLA, officer or employee of the Legislative Assembly and their staff;
  • officers, directors and employees of Prince Edward Island government departments, agencies, boards and commissions;
  • a person appointed by the Cabinet or a Minister to any office or body; and
  • an officer or employee of the government, or employee of an officer or Minister not otherwise specified.

The following people are not considered to be public office holders under the Lobbyists Registration Act:

  • judges;
  • justices of the peace;
  • members of an administrative tribunal exercising a judicial function; and
  • the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Who are not considered to be lobbyists?

Generally, public servants acting in an official capacity do not need to register as lobbyists. These include:

  • an MLA, official or servant of the Legislative Assembly and their staff;
  • employees in the public service of the Province;
  • members, officers and employees of a municipal council or village commission, and members, officers and employees of a school board;
  • officers, directors or employees of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities;
  • officers, directors or employees of the PEI Public Schools Branch;
  • federal senators, MPs, elected members of the legislative assembly of another province, or their staff;
  • employees of the government of Canada or of the government of another province;
  • members of a band council (defined in subsection 2 (1) of Canada’s Indian Act or as established by an act of Parliament), their staff and employees of the council;
  • diplomatic agents, consular officers or official representatives of a foreign government operating in Canada; and
  • officials of a specialized agency of the United Nations or any international organization that is granted privileges and immunities under an act of Parliament.

What is the role of the Registrar of lobbyists?

The Registrar’s responsibilities include:

  • administering the registration process;
  • identifying omissions and inconsistencies, and asking the lobbyist to correct the information;
  • informing lobbyists, public servants, the public and others about the Registry;
  • ensuring that the public has access to information in the Registry electronically online; and
  • issuing bulletins about the enforcement, interpretation or application of the Act or its regulations.

How does a lobbyist register?

Once registration begins, lobbyists will be able to complete an online form to:

  • Register as a lobbyist, within 10 days of agreeing to lobby on behalf of a client (consultant lobbyist) or two months after becoming an in-house lobbyist (company or organization); or
  • Renew a registration, every six months or within 30 days after the six-month registration has expired.

What changes must be reported?

A major change to an agreement or contract is considered a new undertaking and requires a new registration, i.e. a change to the terms or scope of an undertaking such as the subject of lobbying.

New information or changes to a registration must be reported to the Registrar within 30 days of the change occurring or the lobbyist becoming aware of the change including: 

  • The end or termination of an undertaking; 
  • Simple changes such as a consultant or client’s change of address or contact information, or communication techniques; or

Any changes to information previously submitted – including when lobbying activities stop, which could be the result of the conclusion of a project, the employee’s resignation or the employee’s dismissal.

Once registration begins, lobbyists will be able to complete an online form to terminate or file changes to a registration.

What if the lobbyist is not registered?

Any individual or organization that lobbies a Prince Edward Island public office holder as they are defined under the Act, regardless of whether the lobbyist or the organization they represent is located in Prince Edward Island, must register as a lobbyist.

A lobbyist could be subject to a fine of not more than $25,000 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; or
  • knowingly places a public servant in a position of real or potential conflict of interest.

What is the fee to register as a lobbyist?

Consultant Lobbyists

  • registration: $75
  • renewal, every six months: $35
  • updates: free
  • termination: free

In-House Lobbyists (Company)

  • registration: $75
  • renewal, every six months: $35
  • updates: free
  • termination: free

In-House Lobbyists (Organization)

  • registration: free
  • renewal, every six months: free
  • updates: free
  • termination: free

Who can I contact about lobbyist registration?

Lobbyists Registry
 
Department of Justice and Public Safety
Consumer, Corporate and Financial Services Division
4th Floor Shaw Building South
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8        

Telephone:(902) 368-4550
Facsimile:(902) 368-5283
lobbyist@gov.pe.ca     
 

Published date: 
October 29, 2018
Justice and Public Safety department logo

General Inquiries

Consumer, Corporate and Financial Services Division
4th Floor, Shaw Building
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-4550
Fax: (902) 368-5283

ccs@gov.pe.ca