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December 11, 2008
Not-for-Profit Community Services exempt from Lobbyist Registry registration
  
City Council today approved the exemption of not-for-profit community services from registering with the City’s Lobbyist Registry. The registration requirement continues to apply to other not-for-profit organizations and to paid consultants.

Under Chapter 140-4 of the Municipal Code, not-for-profit organizations are generally exempt from registration, but were required to register when applying for City grants, awards or financial benefits. However, Council suspended this registration requirement in July 2008 and asked that the Lobbyist Registrar consult with the not-for-profit community services sector on difficulties arising during the registration process and possible solutions. The Lobbyist Registrar was to report back on whether or not the sector should be exempt from the Lobbyist Registry, or if there were means by which the Lobbyist Registry could be made less onerous for them. The Lobbyist Registrar’s report recommended that the sector be exempt from registration.

When the Lobbyist Registrar met with sector representatives and City staff to discuss registration, the sector expressed concern that the requirement to register had a “chill” effect on civic engagement and placed an additional administrative burden on community services staff. Specifically, the not-for-profit community services sector identified that the requirement to register is a problem because:
It presents a barrier to communication with Councillors.

· It may deter volunteer members of community service agencies’ boards from serving on boards because they may not wish their names to appear on the Lobbyist Registry website.
· The task of compiling information needed to register is time-consuming and puts an excessive administrative burden on administrative staff who are thinly distributed in the sector.
· Key information that the Lobbyist Registry collects is already provided through the grants funding process, which is public. Recommended grants are posted on the City’s website, considered at the Community Development and Recreation Committee and require Council approval.
· Community services are part of the City’s alternative service delivery model and act in partnership with the City to deliver priority services.

Not-for-profit community services organizations provide direct services aimed at helping neighbourhoods and communities, particularly those that are vulnerable, marginalized, high-risk and under-serviced. The sector is eligible to apply for community services grants through City funding programs. These programs include the Community Services Investments Program (CSI); Community Services Partnerships (CSP) Program; Food Security Investment Program (FSIP); and the Identify 'N' Impact (INI) Investment Fund.

Torontois Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canadaand one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Torontohas won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Linda Gehrke, Lobbyist Registrar, 416-338-5858, lgehrke@toronto.ca


 

 

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