Recent amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act have broadened the definition of “lobby” and changed the criteria of what constitutes an “in-house lobbyist”. Previously, the lobbying legislation required an employee to register if they spent more than 20% of their working time lobbying. With the recent amendments, any individual or group of individuals within an organization who spend more than 100 hours per year lobbying the BC Government or a Provincial entity are required to register.
The definition of “lobby” has been amended to capture a broader range of intended outcomes. For example, the lobbying of a public office holder in an attempt to influence “the awarding of any contract or financial benefit by or on behalf of the government of British Columbia” has been amended to “the awarding, amendment or termination of any contract, grant or financial benefit by or on behalf of the government of British Columbia or a Provincial entity“. A Provincial entity includes any government reporting entity within the meaning of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act (you will likely need our help to figure this one out) and the Workers Compensation Board. Penalties for failing to register included a maximum fine of $25,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences not to mention some very bad publicity. Also the Registrar may ban a person from lobbying for up to two years if they are convicted of an offence.
If you do business with the BC Government or a Provincial entity on a regular basis, give us a call to discuss your obligations.