Burlington introduces online lobbyist registry to promote greater transparency in local government decision-making process

By Staff

January 28th, 2022



Burlington has launched an online lobbyist registry designed to document interactions between individuals who lobby members of Burlington City Council. The centralized, searchable registry found at burlington.ca/accountability helps ensure greater transparency in the local government decision-making process and meets the requirements of Burlington’s Lobbyist Registration Policy.

Under Burlington’s Lobbyist Registration Policy (approved by City Council on Nov. 1, 2021) lobbyists are required to register themselves as a lobbyist and submit the subject matter(s) they intend to discuss with a member(s) of City Council. Lobbyists are required to register their lobbying activity within 10 business days of their meeting with a member(s) of City Council.

There are three types of lobbyists that exist in Burlington:

Consultant Lobbyist – an individual who lobbies for payment on behalf of a client (another individual, a business or other entity).

In-house Lobbyist – means an individual who is an employee, partner or sole proprietor, and who lobbies on behalf of his or her own employer, business or other entity.

Voluntary Unpaid Lobbyist – means an individual who lobbies without payment on behalf of an individual, business or other entity for the benefit of the interests of the individual, business or other entity.

Links and Resources

  • To learn more about the lobbyist registry, what is lobbying and who should sign up for the lobbyist registry and to learn more about other tools and processes the City has in place to ensure accountability and transparency in local government decision making, visit burlington.ca/accountability

Councillor Kearns had a Registry in place well before council decided it should do the same thing.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns has had a Registry that requires all her meetings with lobbyists to be listed on her registry.

 Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains:   “The lobbyist registry is one of many tools the City has to ensure a culture of open, transparent and accountable government. It’s important that members of the public can clearly see who is lobbying the City of Burlington’s public office holders and on what topics. The goal is not to prevent interactions and communications but to make decisions more transparent.” 

Kevin Arjoon, City Clerk adds a comment: “The new online registry is designed to record the lobbying of City Council in meetings with representatives that have a business or financial interest and the goal of trying to influence legislative action. Lobbying is a legitimate activity that benefits not only lobbyists, but also public office holders and members of the public. The benefits of lobbying are lost, however, when they take place behind closed doors. This new registry ensures the process is transparent and easy to access by the public.”  




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