If you are a business owner in Durham Region, you will now have to officially register any lobbying activity with the City of Pickering as a penalty-free period expires.
“I think now that it’s mandatory, there will be a higher degree of compliance and a higher degree of scrutiny as well,” Pickering mayor Kevin Ashe said.
An online registry is available, and 3o lobbyists have registered since its inception. Those who fail to register will be cut off from accessing city officials.
Pickering’s online lobbyist registry bylaw was introduced earlier this year. Its main objective is to promote transparency and accountability within city government, especially given the ongoing scandal surrounding the Ford government’s handling of Ontario’s greenbelt.
“(With) the results of what’s happened at Queen’s Park and at the federal government, a desire for the public to have greater transparency is more and more important,” Ashe said.
As six-month, penalty-free followed the bylaw’s introduction so that the public and lobbyists would have time to learn about it. Now that the period has ended, 30-day bans on contacting officials will be issued for first-time contraventions of the bylaw. Those who do it a second time will face 60-day bans.
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If there’s a third strike, the ban would be more than 60 days.
“I think it’s a legitimate part of public policy development,” Ashe said. ” There’s nothing wrong with being on the registry.”
Lobbyists have 10 days to register after their interactions with officials. For more information visit the city website.
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