In 2016, Saskatchewan joined a number of other jurisdictions in Canada that have legislation governing the registration of persons who engage in lobbying activities. The requirements in The Lobbyists Act (Saskatchewan) (the “Act”) are being expanded, four years later.
In particular, the Act is being amended as follows:
- Individuals who participate, alone or together with other individuals in an organization, in more than 30 annual hours of lobbying activities or duties to lobby are considered to be “in-house lobbyists” and are required to be registered. This number has been decreased from 100 annual hours. It is important to keep in mind that this number can be reached very quickly, as it is shared across the organization and includes all time spent in relation to lobbying (e.g. researching, preparing, etc.).
- Non-profit organizations are now required to register unless they have a charitable mandate and have less than five employees who lobby a total of less than 30 hours annually. Most of these organizations were previously exempt.
- The Act now prohibits lobbyists from providing gifts to government officials except as a matter of protocol or social obligation and the value of those gifts must not exceed $200.
These amendments intend to foster more openness and transparency about who is attempting to influence decisions made by public office holders, and to align Saskatchewan’s legislation with similar legislation across the country.
The amendments will come into force on September 14, 2020.
Please see our earlier blog on lobbying for more information about the general requirements and registration process, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. More information about the change in legislation and registration process is available on the Lobbyist Registry website.
What are the next steps for organizations and individuals?
Organizations that engage individuals who may be engaged in “lobbying”, or individuals who may be engaged in “lobbying” for payment in Saskatchewan should consider the application of and expanded requirements under the Act. Organizations and individuals may wish to engage legal counsel to assist them with assessing these matters in order to ensure compliance with the Act. Our team has assisted a number of organizations and individuals with this process and would be pleased to discuss the requirements.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.