Lobbyists Act changes would enhance transparency
The provincial government is proposing legislative improvements that would strengthen rules to regulate lobbying activity.
If passed, amendments to the Lobbyists Act would better ensure that lobbying activities are easy to access and track. Proposed changes would further regulate lobbyists and enhance oversight of their activities to improve confidence in government decision-making.
“Albertans have the right to know who is trying to influence the government. The proposed changes would make this information more transparent and accessible. We are committed to ensuring Albertans have confidence in their government.”
Changes to improve transparency in Alberta lobbying activity
A significant amount of lobbying activity currently goes unreported and in secret due to loose rules and loopholes. If passed, the proposed amendments would:
- Restrict lobbyists from giving money, gifts or other benefits to public office holders that would place a public office holder in a conflict of interest.
- Require lobbying activity be reported regardless of who asked for the meeting or made the first call.
- Require individuals or groups who lobby government on behalf of their employer or business to register this activity after 50 hours of lobbying in a year, including preparation time.
- Prohibit contingency fee payment arrangements to ensure lobbying is done objectively.
- Include grassroots communication in the definition of lobbying to reflect modern lobbying practices.
- Lobbyists communicate with public office holders in an attempt to influence government decisions as part of their work.
- Organization lobbyists are employed by an organization to lobby the government as a part of their job, or they may be business owners or partners who attempt to influence government decisions related to their business.
- Consultant lobbyists are retained for a fee to lobby about a particular issue on behalf of their client.
- Asking for information or clarification is not considered lobbying, thus protecting public access to government officials.
- People who do not receive any form of payment to lobby government on matters unrelated to their business do not have to register.
- Indigenous elders acting in their official capacity would not be considered lobbyists.
- Elected officials and their staff or public servants are not considered lobbyists.
- The Ethics Commissioner of Alberta is responsible for maintaining and administering a registry of lobbyists that is publicly available.
- Lobbyists are required to provide information to the Ethics Commissioner of Alberta.
- Alberta’s Lobbyist Registry contains information identifying lobbyists, the focus of their lobbying efforts and who is being lobbied. The registry also contains information about the organization the lobbyist is working for, if the lobbyist is a former public office holder and all communication techniques.