Lobbying – the act of seeking to influence a politician or public official on an issue.

While once seen as an activity ripe with nefarious backroom dealings, lobbying, when done right, is actually a key cog in the democratic process. Lobbying allows governments at all levels to hear diverse viewpoints from stakeholders and ultimately make informed decisions, which should serve the public interest.

So then why, if lobbying is indeed now mainstream, is there still a shroud of secrecy surrounding it? 

Since 2010, there has been an increase in jurisdictional lobbyist registries popping up across Canada. The purpose of these registries? Simple – to ensure that constituents, stakeholders, and the media (amongst others) know who is seeking to influence government and on what topics and outcomes. Said differently, lobbyist registries enable transparency for your constituents. The answer thus to the question posed above is that Canada has far too few lobbyist registries. 

While well established at the Federal and Provincial levels, several larger municipalities have begun building their own systems in recent years. And while this is a positive progression from a transparency standpoint, we have a long way to go at the municipal level before we can say lobbyist registries are the norm, and not the exception. So with adoption moving at a relative slow pace, the question now turns to why? For that answer, we look no further than municipal staff reports which acutely identify barriers such as cost, complexity, resource expenditures, etc. After reading countless of these reports which showed political support but were void (and rightfully so at the time) realistic solutions to get past these real barriers, we knew there was a better way. 

We created Lobby Registry for every municipality in Canada, specifically making it cost effective and nearly effortless for you to demonstrate transparency. No unnecessary bells or whistles, hidden fees, onboarding costs, or long-term contracts. Just practical and intuitive functionality for municipalities, regardless of their size or budget.

Not only does a low-cost shared-service like Lobby Registry remove barriers for larger municipalities, it also makes a registry easily attainable for smaller municipalities. Although lobbying volume is certainly higher in Canada’s largest cities, transparency should not be exclusive to our metropolises. 

Check out www.lobbyregistry.ca to learn more about how we are working to enable increased transparency. 

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An article by

Ryan J. Eickmeier