The amendment to section 2(1)(h)(ii)(A) reduces the hours for registration as an in-house lobbyist from 100 hours annually to 30 hours annually. This should ameliorate some of the inequality between consultant lobbyists, who are required to register without attaining a certain number of hours, and in-house lobbyists.
The reduction from 100 to 30 hours fosters more openness and transparency about who is attempting to influence decisions made by public office holders.
The amendment to s.4(1)(i) requires that all charities and all non-profit organizations without a charitable mandate register.
The only exception will be for officers, directors, or employers of a charitable non-profit with less than 5 employees who lobby a total of less than 30 hours annually.
This amendment will ensure that large non-profit organizations and charities with paid employees that engage in lobbying must register. Most Canadian jurisdictions already have a similar provision.
Section 12.1 is an important new provision that creates a prohibition against a consultant or in-house lobbyist from providing gifts or personal benefits to a public office holder. A narrow exception is created for gifts or benefits that are provided as part of protocol or social obligations and valued at less than $200.00
The provision also defines what qualifies as a gift or personal benefit for the purpose of this section.
Since the lobbying of public office holders is to persuade and influence it is reasonable to assume that any gift from a lobbyist would support this objective. A negative public perception is created when gifts or personal benefits are provided to public office holders.
The amendment also adds provisions creating both an administrative penalty (ss.20(1)) and an offence provision (ss 25 (1)(1.1)) for breaches of this section.