A new lobbying ban implemented by the BC NDP government will prohibit former cabinet ministers and senior government staff from lobbying the provincial government for a period of two years.
Given the timing, the ban directly impacts the individuals who held key positions within the former BC Liberal government.
“We’re making sure people are at the centre of government decisions,” said David Eby, the Vancouver-Point Grey MLA and Attorney General, in a statement. “British Columbians want to know that decisions are being made in the interests of their families, communities and province – and not because a lobbyist had access to inside information.
Eby said the new legislation will increase transparency and remove the potential for “undue influence or use of insider information” by lobbying groups who employ former government officials.
“Previously, individuals could go straight from a senior decision-making role in government to lobbying,” he continued. “This sweeping prohibition will ensure that knowledge is not used or sold for private gain after employment with the Province ends. This significant legislation will also require lobbyists to register the names of staff of ministers or MLAs they lobbied.”
Former public officer holders include former cabinet minsters and their staff (not including administrative personnel), parliamentary secretaries, deputy ministers, ministry CEOs, associate deputy ministers, or positions of an equivalent rank, including the two most senior positions at universities, institutions, school boards, health authority boards, hospitals, Workers Compensation Board, and crown corporations, agencies, and associations.
Non-compliance with the new policy could lead to administrative penalties of up to $25,000. For convictions of offences, fines of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for a subsequent offence may be imposed.
The two-year ban will come into effect about two months after changes to the legislation are approved.
Since being sworn-in in mid-July, the BC NDP government has purged at least 150 former BC Liberal staffers across all levels of government, including BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald and four of the five board members of the Transportation Investment Corporation, the crown corporation that oversees the Port Mann Bridge.
Last month, the new government also implemented new campaign financing rules that banned corporate and union donations.