The City of Ottawa launches Lobbyist Registry

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City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa today launched its online Lobbyist Registry, a key component of the City's Accountability Framework, as part of a continuing commitment to making municipal government more transparent and accountable to the public.

"The Lobbyist Registry is part of an overall, balanced approach to protecting the privacy interests of individuals and organizations, while ensuring the right of the public to know how their government operates and how decisions are made," said Mayor Jim Watson.

The Lobbyist Registry, found at ottawa.ca/lobbyist, is a bilingual online tool that provides accountability and transparency to lobbying activities by giving the public access to information about who is communicating with Members of Council and City Staff.

"Lobbying of politicians and staff is a reality, but as stewards of the public trust we must be open to our citizens and ethical in our behaviour," said Mayor Watson. "Public policy must not be made in private and we must be accountable for our actions and decisions."

Lobbying is considered any communication with a Member of Council or City Staff by an individual who is paid or represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence a legislative action or the outcome of a decision outside of normal processes.

While most types of interactions will not need to be registered, including speaking on the record before Council and its Committees or following a Council-approved process, in instances where lobbying has occurred, the subject matter, the client, the individual(s) lobbied, the method of communication and the date will need to be disclosed on the Registry.

The Registry will cover activities that occur on and after Saturday, September 1, 2012. In accordance with the City's Lobbyist Registry By-law, individuals have 15 business days to register a lobbying activity. For example, any lobbying activities that occur on September 1 can be registered any time after that date until September 24 (accounting for the Labour Day holiday).

The Lobbyist Registry will be overseen by the City's independent, arms-length Integrity Commissioner, Robert Marleau. He will begin meeting with stakeholders, responding to questions and conducting education sessions beginning on September 10, 2012.

The public can search the Lobbyist Registry by subject matter, keywords, persons lobbied, lobbyists, affected wards and dates.