A Lobbyist Registry… What does it mean to you?

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The Town of Collingwood is proud to share its plans to implement a lobbyist registry in the coming months. This tool will provide more transparency regarding individuals who communicate with Town Council and Staff outside of regular public processes who stand to benefit financially as a result of these efforts.

This new initiative, proposed to be implemented in January 2020, will provide a list containing the names of lobbyists, the organizations that they represent, their reasons for contacting the Town, and the dates they plan to lobby public office holders.

Council’s original directive requested that staff investigate existing practices and explore new opportunities to enhance accountability and transparency initiatives and programs ensuring good governance within the Town of Collingwood. This path towards a more accountable and transparent municipal government has been further strengthened by the hiring of the new Accountability Officer. The Town’s Accountability Officer is expected to act as the Registrar and will be the key point person for any questions or feedback regarding the registry.

The stakeholder and public engagement for the Lobbyist Registry is to occur throughout the months of November and part of December 2019. During this time, staff will be reviewing the proposed Lobbyist Registry By-law and Code of Conduct, with the intention of bringing it and the comments received through this forum before Council on December 16, 2019. The findings from this consultation will contribute to developing the most appropriate application of a lobbyist registry for the Town of Collingwood.

The Town encourages interested residents and stakeholders to communicate through Engage Collingwood for any question or comment they might have during this next month of consultation. Though we may not get back to you right away, we will make every attempt to respond to your questions within 24 hours of them being posted.

Please register to join the conversation by clicking the Register button located at the right column of your screen.

The Town of Collingwood is proud to share its plans to implement a lobbyist registry in the coming months. This tool will provide more transparency regarding individuals who communicate with Town Council and Staff outside of regular public processes who stand to benefit financially as a result of these efforts.

This new initiative, proposed to be implemented in January 2020, will provide a list containing the names of lobbyists, the organizations that they represent, their reasons for contacting the Town, and the dates they plan to lobby public office holders.

Council’s original directive requested that staff investigate existing practices and explore new opportunities to enhance accountability and transparency initiatives and programs ensuring good governance within the Town of Collingwood. This path towards a more accountable and transparent municipal government has been further strengthened by the hiring of the new Accountability Officer. The Town’s Accountability Officer is expected to act as the Registrar and will be the key point person for any questions or feedback regarding the registry.

The stakeholder and public engagement for the Lobbyist Registry is to occur throughout the months of November and part of December 2019. During this time, staff will be reviewing the proposed Lobbyist Registry By-law and Code of Conduct, with the intention of bringing it and the comments received through this forum before Council on December 16, 2019. The findings from this consultation will contribute to developing the most appropriate application of a lobbyist registry for the Town of Collingwood.

The Town encourages interested residents and stakeholders to communicate through Engage Collingwood for any question or comment they might have during this next month of consultation. Though we may not get back to you right away, we will make every attempt to respond to your questions within 24 hours of them being posted.

Please register to join the conversation by clicking the Register button located at the right column of your screen.

Q&A

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  • Since Lobbyists also contact Town Staff who have great input into stuff such as Staff reports and such. They hold great sway with these tools that will influence Council also. There should also be a penalty for Council members and Staff who do not report if they have been contacted by a Lobbyist. One of the questions not asked of the Lobbyist who said he was engaged to deal with Council on the Sprung deal. No one asked who was lobbied on Council ??? S\o if you are going to implement a policy it should include all possible people who could be Lobbied on Council and Staff

    Rick asked 15 days ago

    Thank you for your question. You raise the important issue of the roles of Staff and Council in the face of Lobbying. Our new Lobbying By-law will list the responsibilities of the public office holder and they will include: advising lobbyists of the requirements to register with the Lobbyist Registry at the beginning of the lobbying activity; ceasing lobbying-related communication with a lobbyist who is prohibited from lobbying and reporting in a timely manner such lobbying to the Registrar; and responding and providing information in a timely manner to the Lobbyist Registrar with regards to an inquiry conducted by the Registrar.  Council must also adhere to the Code of Conduct which requires them to serve the public interest by upholding the laws and policies adopted by the Town. Staff also have to adhere to the Code of Ethical Conduct which requires them to uphold the objectives and policies of the Town. Having these Codes in place and the Accountability Officer on hand, will help to make sure that all discussions and negotiations will be monitored and transparent to the public.

  • It seems to me that lobbying has a negative connotation in Collingwood? Why wouldn't Collingwood ban lobbying altogether and allow presentations on matters before Council in the Committee meetings. It seems that Lobbying allows an advantage to companies that can afford to pay for privileged meetings with senior staff and/or Council. Scheduling times during committee meetings allows the conversation to be open and transparent.

    L1N 6Z2 asked 14 days ago

    Thank you for your question. A big part of this consultation will consist of education regarding lobbying activities and governments. Lobbying, when done properly, it is a legitimate, legal activity that is an important part of our democracy. Lobbying can provide decision-makers with valuable insights and data, and it gives stakeholders access to the participation in public policy development and implementation. The purpose of creating this Registry is to ensure transparency to the public regarding who is contacting decision-makers on particular matters. Lobbying legislation exists all over the world, and the goal of this legislation and the implementation of a registry is not to prevent lobbying, but to disclose it before decisions are made in order to ensure transparency. Lobbying activity is not reserved for any particular type of company. Any stakeholder, big or small, may contact a public office holder on any given matter, and if the stakeholder’s intention is to persuade decision-making and if they could benefit financially because of this communication, they will need to register.