That’s one of the details about Ottawa’s new municipal lobbyist registry released days before the new rules take effect.
In the run-up to the Sept. 1 launch, some experts said they still had unanswered questions, including whether all the information that lobbyists are required to file with the city’s new integrity commissioner would be publicly available.
Information published by the city this week says it is the responsibility of the lobbyist to request that any proprietary information be kept confidential by contacting the city’s integrity commissioner, Robert Marleau.
Within 15 business days of a lobbying activity, the individual must visit ottawa.ca/lobbyist to log into their password-protected account and disclose the date, type of lobbying, method of communication and the person(s) lobbied.
Citizens can search the registry by subject matter, keyword, persons lobbied, lobbyists, affected words and dates.
Beginning Sept. 1, local lobbyists must create a personal profile online disclosing contact information and whether they’ve served as a senior public officer at the City of Ottawa or been affiliated with any municipal boards. This information will be verified by a city official before being made available to the public.
The city defines lobbying as communications with a public office holder with the goal of influencing procurement or legislative action. It can be done by individuals, organizations or businesses. According to the city, it applies to only “substantive activities” including meetings in person or over the phone, as well as e-mails and letters.
The registry includes three types of lobbyists: a consultant lobbyist who lobbies for payment on behalf of a client; an in-house lobbyist who lobbies on behalf of their own employer, business or organization; and a voluntary unpaid lobbyist who lobbies on behalf of a business or for-profit organization.
Individuals who fall under various categories must create a separate profile for each type of lobbying activity.
“Public policy must not be made in private and we much be accountable for our actions and decisions,” stated Ottawa mayor Jim Watson in a city release.
The registry will be overseen by Mr. Marleau, who will begin his position as integrity commissioner on Sept. 10.
Mr. Marleau, a former clerk of the House of Commons, will investigate complaints against individuals who have not disclosed lobbying activities and impose temporary bans on communication for offending parties.
To learn more about the city’s new lobbyist registry, read OBJ’s primer here.