Trudeau government's communications with lobbyists sets record

Giving billions in subsidies to businesses and setting business exemptions for health restrictions, the Trudeau government communicates with more lobbyists than any government before, says the federal lobbying commissioner.

OTTAWA — The federal lobbying commissioner says government agencies and officials faced a record barrage of pitches in the last year from groups trying to shape the country's pandemic response.

Today's report from commissioner Nancy Belanger says there were records set for the number of groups lobbying the government, the number of lobbyists representing them.

The report says federal economic policy topped the list of most lobbied subjects for the first time since the commissioner's office began tracking in mid-2008.

Belanger notes the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on how and when lobbyists connected with government officials.

Many lobbyists eased off reaching out to officials early on in the pandemic in favour of what Belanger describes as a strategy of interjecting only when information might be crucial to play a key role in shaping programs being developed at lightening speed for a government.

Belanger's report also notes how video conferencing made it easier for lobbyists to connect with government officials, and she suggests the option may continue to be used post-pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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