On December 6, 2021, the Deputy Secretary General of the High Authority, Michel Smaniotto, had a videoconference exchange with the Quebec Commissioner of Lobbying, Jean-François Routhier. The latter was assisted by Isabelle Belanger, Deputy Executive Officer to the Commissioner, and Jean-Sébastien Coutu, Director of Legal Affairs and Customer Service Department. Eliezer Garcia-Rosado, Head of Interest Representative Monitoring at the High Authority, Marie Lintzer, Head of International Partnerships, and Clotilde Terrasse, International Projects Officer, also took part in the meeting.
The discussions focused on the regulation of interest representation in France and in Quebec. The Deputy Secretary General highlighted the positive assessment of the High Authority’s actions despite the persistent shortcomings of the legal framework that affect the transparency of public decision-making.
The Commissioner of Lobbying presented the Quebec system regarding the regulation of interest representatives. The institution, which come under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly, has an annual budget of 6 million CAD and employs 45 staff. Around 100,000 public office holders, including all elected officials and civil servants, are concerned by the Quebec legislation. The Commissioner referred to the conditions and challenges of implementing their legislation, which entered into force in 2002, and on the prospects for modernising the Lobbyists Registry and revising the law, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The discussion enabled the two institutions to address their common challenges, in particular as regards to the criteria for identifying interest representatives and exemptions from the registration requirement. Differences in sanctions for non-compliance with obligations foreseen by the law were also discussed.
The High Authority intends to pursue the dialogue with the Commissioner of Lobbying and is pleased about this sharing of good practices in terms of public integrity given the forthcoming expansion of the French register to the local level, as of July 1st, 2022.