The Surrey Board of Trade has continued to call on the BC Government since last year to exempt Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce from the BC Lobbyist Registry. Now, new lobbying rules are set to be in place for May 4th. The Surrey Board of Trade, at least, wants a delay on these new lobbying rules until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
On May 4, 2020, significant changes to British Columbia’s lobbyist registration regime will come into effect. These latest reforms are statutory and regulatory. Statutory, because the implementation of the Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act, 2018 will transform the Lobbyists Registration Act into the Lobbyists Transparency Act. Regulatory, because the Lobbyists Transparency Regulation will replace the Lobbyists Registration Regulation.
WHAT THIS MEANS: If you communicate with British Columbia government officials as part of your business, the revised rules will apply. Under the new rules, violations could result in monetary penalties of up to $25,000 and a ban on lobbying of up to two years.
“The mandate and purpose of Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce is to instigate change at all levels of government,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “As we have ongoing, sometimes daily, conversations with political representatives to help business through the pandemic, the burden of reporting with the new lobbying rules increases our administrative burden. This is red tape that is not needed now, and not needed in the future for our industry.”
“The registry changes will add a layer of red tape by having to register every advocacy effort, every communication. Further, many businesses that use the registry are unaware of the changes that are happening and cannot adequately adjust their operations to accommodate the changes due to the operational impacts of COVID-19.”
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org