Lobbying Act must be kept in mind

More and more often, grant applications contain sections warning applicants that they are responsible for ensuring that anyone lobbying on their behalf is doing so while in compliance with Canada's Lobbying Act.

As individuals seeking grants complete applications across campus, I will take this opportunity to provide a cursory overview of what the Lobbying Act is and the measures the University must take to ensure compliance. Further, I would encourage anyone who has questions about the act to visit the commissioner's website. The U of L Government Relations Office (A764) is available to answer questions that faculty or staff may have regarding the registry.

The Federal Lobbying Act dictates that universities (and a myriad of other private-sector and public organizations) must report specific lobbying encounters when speaking with Designated Public Office Holders (DPOHs). These individuals include cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, associate deputy ministers, MPs, Members of the Senate and any exempt staff working in the offices of these members.

The U of L is required to update its lobby registration on an ongoing basis. This registration contains general information about the institution, the grants it receives, the individuals that act in a lobbying capacity for the institution and the subject matter on which the U of L intends to lobby the federal government. The University is also responsible for reporting its "oral and arranged" communication after a listed employee advocates for a benefit (whether financial or to influence policy or legislation) for the institution. These monthly communication reports must be submitted by the 15th day of the following month from when the interaction occurred. This is done through the Government Relations Office.

Faculty members have the academic freedom to speak to members of the federal government as persons with expertise. If a faculty member lobbies for a benefit to the University, they, and their subject matter, must be included in the U of L's registration. However, if an employee or faculty member is advocating for the greater public good (and not a specific benefit) they are not required to register or report their interaction.

At various times, individuals throughout campus are involved in projects that involve interacting with the Federal Government. Again, the Government Relations Office can help to ensure you are fulfilling the legal requirements of the federal Lobbying Act. More information can be found online at

Richard Westlund is the Director of Government Relations at the U of L. In an effort to better inform different parts of our campus and external communities about the various government relations activities that occur at the U of L, he has started a blog. Visit it at

This story first appeared in the November issue of the Legend. For a look at the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.