Canadians For Responsible Advocacy

Canadians For Responsible Advocacy

November 04, 2014 09:50 ET

New Report Details Transparency of Bill C-377 Lobby and Advocacy Groups

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 4, 2014) - How much do Canadians know about organizations that try to shape public opinion or government policy? How much do we know about how those organizations are funded and whose interests they represent?

In a new report released today, Canadians for Responsible Advocacy (CFRA) takes a detailed look at the transparency of three organizations that are battling to shape the debate around a proposed new union financial disclosure law, Bill C-377: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations).

Those groups - the Canadian Labour Congress, the Merit Contractors Association of Canada, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees - have spent an unknown amount of time and resources to influence the debate around Bill C-377.

Among other highlights, CFRA reports that:

  • Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) lobbied opposition MPs and Senators on Bill C-377 in 2012, as well as at least one government minister. CLC does not make its annual financial statements publicly available.
  • Merit Contractors Association of Canada lobbied the bill's author 13 times and has had more than a dozen meetings with senior staff in the PMO to discuss Bill C-377. Merit does not make its annual financial statements or bylaws publicly available and it is not possible for the public to determine how the group is funded.
  • The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has not lobbied on Bill C-377 but has vocally encouraged its supporters to write to MPs and Senators to oppose the bill. CUPE posts its financial information but maintains relationships with other organizations that don't.

"Canadians shouldn't be left to guess who is behind lobbying and public advocacy campaigns and they shouldn't have to spend long nights scouring the hidden pages of an organization's websites to figure it out," said Nicholas Kyonka, CFRA's chief executive officer. "This is particularly important when well-funded or well-connected organizations attempt to shape contentious policy debates like the one around Bill C-377."

For more information about CFRA, please visit http://www.responsibleadvocacy.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFRAdvocacy.

ABOUT CFRA: Canadians For Responsible Advocacy is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated entirely to shining light on the transparency practices of other non-profits that engage in public lobbying campaigns. We are funded by small donations from everyday Canadians and by contributions from our board of directors. CFRA does not take issue with the substance or virtue of advocacy groups' campaigns.

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