ON Lobbying - a newsletter

Information & Resources for Lobbyist Registration in Ontario

Issue 27

February 2023


Reporting meetings? No. 

Tracking targets? Yes!

You may already know that in Ontario lobbyists are not required to report each meeting they have with public office holders. The Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 does not require communication or meeting reports.

But that doesn't mean that you shouldn’t track which public office holders you contact or with whom you meet. Meetings with new contacts could mean you will need to update your lobbying targets.

Here’s an example: You are lobbying for changes to an existing program administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. You have a meeting scheduled with three public office holders from that ministry – one from the minister’s office and two public servants from the program area. When the meeting starts, you learn that a policy advisor from the office of the Minister of Northern Development is also present.

You already have the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry listed as targets in the Lobbying Activity section of your registration. Now, following that meeting, you have 30 days to list the Office of the Minister of Northern Development as a lobbying target. It doesn’t matter whether you intended to lobby that office or not.

The Act requires that all consultant lobbyists and senior officers of entities with in-house lobbyists update the information in their registration within 30 calendar days after a change to their lobbying activity or lobbying targets occurs.

Looking for information about completing the Lobbying Activity section of your registration? We’ve got you covered with our resource on Lobbying Activity.


Introducing a new ON Lobbying feature that covers what you need to know for one aspect of the registry by answering the questions ‘who?’, ‘when?’ and ‘how?’. First up:

Adding and Removing an In-House Lobbyist

Who: A business (persons and partnerships) or organization that has a lobbying registration must add the names of any employees, paid officers or directors who are lobbying public office holders (including the name of the senior officer, if that individual is lobbying).

The senior officers of these entities are also required to remove the names of employees and paid officers or directors who are no longer lobbying – either because of a change in role or because the individual has left the entity.

When: The name of the employee, paid director or officer must be added to an existing registration within 30 days of that individual having begun contributing to the lobbying activity (see the Commencement Date tip below). If you’ve received an email that you’re within your renewal period, you can update the in-house lobbyists as part of your renewal. Otherwise, you should update your registration through the “Change an existing registration”. Former in-house lobbyists must also be removed within 30 days of ceasing to lobby.

How: To add new in-house lobbyists outside of your renewal period, login to the registration system and select “Change an existing registration (not a renewal)”. Navigate to the “Current In-house Lobbyists” section and add the names of the individuals who have begun lobbying. You will be required to include their titles and answer a question about whether they were once public office holders, as well as provide the date they started lobbying (note: this date might be different from the date they started employment).

To remove the name of an individual who is no longer lobbying, delete the name from the “Current In-house Lobbyists” list and add the same name to the “Former In-house Lobbyists”. Include the date the individual ceased to be an in-house lobbyist. That name should stay on the “Former” list for a full six-month renewal cycle.

Have a question about this? Send us an email!


What is the “Commencement Date”?

We’re so glad you asked!

This is what you need to know about the commencement date question on your registration(s).

Consultant Lobbyists: The commencement date is the day you make your first communication with an Ontario public office holder – basically, the first time you lobby. If you have not yet begun to lobby but want to file your registration anyway, you can select the date you’re submitting your registration.

Want more info on when to register? Read Interpretation Bulletin #5: As a consultant lobbyist, when do I need to register?

In-House Lobbyists: The commencement date for a paid employee, officer or director is the day they begin contributing to the entity’s 50-hour per year threshold. This may not be the same date as when the individual in question started working for the entity. If the individual has not yet lobbied, but will do so in the near future, the commencement date can be the date the individual’s name is added to the registration.

Want more info on when to register? Read Interpretation Bulletin #3A: Does my business have to register? or Interpretation Bulletin #3B: Does my not-for-profit organization have to register?

Visit our website for more resources and tips - oico.on.ca

Follow us on Twitter & watch our online tutorials!