Canada’s lobbyist registries need an upgrade, report finds

By September 5, 2017Press Release

A new report released today by the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) reveals that when it comes to the transparency and accountability of Canada’s lobbyist registries, considerable room for improvement remains.

The report rates federal and provincial lobbyist registries against a series of transparency measures in order to determine how effective current public registries are in providing disclosure of corporate lobbying. When tallied, registries scored between 2 and 6.5 out of a possible 11 points.

Investor interest in how corporations are influencing public policy is on the rise in Canada. Shareholders have filed proposals at several Canadian firms and engaged with many more, asking boards of directors to report on the resources committed to lobbying activity, the organizations that the corporation is supporting financially, and its own lobbying on policy issues. While corporations often respond to shareholder requests by referring to publicly available lobbyist registries operated by federal and provincial governments, the information provided therein is often incomplete, limited in quality and scope, and inconsistent between different registries.

“If it is not transparent, accountable, and effectively managed at the top, lobbying activity carries both reputational risk and risk of misalignment with long-term shareholder value and priorities,” says Kevin Thomas, SHARE’s Director of Shareholder Engagement and co-author of the report. “A credible, open and accountable public policy process is a priority for both investors and the broader Canadian public.”

The report, Canada’s lobbyist registries: What can they tell investor about corporate lobbying? is the final in a series of studies released as part of a three-year project to encourage dialogue about how Canadian corporations’ influence on public policy debates and decision-making affects the interests of long-horizon investors. It includes five key recommendations to enhance the transparency and usefulness of lobbyist registries in Canada.

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Notes for Editors

Interviews available with Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or [email protected]

 

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)

SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada. www.share.ca / @share_ca

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