Frequently Asked Questions: Regulations

The following Frequently Asked Questions are meant to provide Canadians and Canadian businesses with basic information about key Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat regulations.

Designated Public Office Holder Regulations (SOR/2008-117)

What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Lobbying Act defines two sets of public officials: “public office holder” and “designated public office holder”. Lobbyists have additional responsibilities when communicating with designated public office holders. In addition to the positions specified in the Lobbying Act, the regulations list other positions that are also considered to be designated public office holders.

What are the key elements of these regulations?

The regulations list the positions and classes of positons that have been designated by the Governor in Council as positions occupied by designated public office holders (i.e. officials responsible for high-level decision-making in government). They include:

  • members of Parliament
  • senators
  • exempt staff of the Leader of the Opposition in the House and in the Senate
  • various other positions such as the Comptroller General of Canada and the Chief of the Defence Staff

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations have no impact on Canadian businesses.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

The Commissioner of Lobbying is responsible for administering, interpreting and enforcing the requirements of the Lobbying Act and its regulations. More information is available on the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada’s website.

Lobbyists Registration Regulations (SOR/2008-116)

What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Lobbyists Registration Regulationsset out the measures necessary to:

  • enable lobbyists to comply with the registration requirements of the Lobbying Act
  • assist the Commissioner of Lobbying in overseeing the enforcement of the Lobbying Act
  • ensure that all aspects of the lobbyist registration regime are respected

The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying assists lobbyists in registering and reporting their activities in the Registry of Lobbyists, in accordance with these regulations.

What are the key elements of these regulations?

The Lobbying Act establishes the baseline requirements regarding the disclosure of information by lobbyists, and the regulations set out additional information that must be disclosed. Further, the regulations establish:

  • the timeframes to respond to requests from the Commissioner to correct or clarify the information submitted in returns
  • the types of communication that trigger the requirement to file monthly returns

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations set the form and manner in which registered lobbyists (in-house and consultant) must file required returns.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

The Commissioner of Lobbying is responsible for administering, interpreting and enforcing the requirements of the Lobbying Act and its regulations. More information is available on the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada’s website.

Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations (SOR/92-48)

What is the purpose of these Regulations?

TheOfficial Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations set out the circumstances in which federal institutions are required to provide their communications and services in both of Canada's official languages.

What are the key elements of these regulations?

The regulations complete key provisions of the Official Languages Act of 1988 on the following:

  • federal offices where there is “significant demand” for services in both languages
  • where the “nature of the office” makes services in both languages reasonable
  • contracted services for travelers.

The regulations ensure consistency across federal institutions in providing federal services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations create obligations for federal institutions covered by the Official Languages Act and generally do not have a direct impact on other parties. Certain businesses that offer services that were previously offered directly by government institutions but that have subsequently been privatized are considered federal institutions for the purposes of the Act. Such businesses include Air Canada and airport authorities. In addition, some private Canadian businesses that offer services to the travelling public (e.g., at airports or train stations) under contract with a federal institution may be required to offer services in both official languages, pursuant to these regulations.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

Enquiries about these regulations may be addressed to TBS Public Enquiries.

Secure Electronic Signature Regulations (SOR/2005-30)

What is the purpose of these Regulations?

The Secure Electronic Signature Regulations establish the requirements of a secure electronic signature (SES) for the purposes of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Canada Evidence Act.

The regulations prescribe the technology and processes that federal government organizations adopt to meet the characteristics of an SES and to meet the legal definition of an SES under Part 2 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The regulations also specify that Certification Authorities (CAs), which are people or entities recognized as being capable of issuing a digital SES, will be listed as such on the website of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

What are the key elements of these Regulations?

The regulations prescribe the technology and processes that result in an SES. They also provide that the only digital signature certificates that are sufficiently trustworthy are those that are issued by CAs, those that are listed as CAs by the President of the Treasury Board, and those that fulfill certain characteristics set out in Part 2 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Namely, the SES is:

  • unique to the person
  • under the sole control of the person
  • used to identify the person
  • linked with the person’s electronic documents in such a way that it can be used to determine whether they have been modified since the signature was attached.

How do these Regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations have no impact on Canadian businesses.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

Enquiries about these regulations may be addressed to the Chief Information Officer Branch, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Interest and Administrative Charges Regulations (SOR/96-188)

What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Interest and Administrative Charges Regulations assist federal government officials with charging interest on overdue non-tax receivables and with charging administrative fees when any instrument payable to the Crown is dishonoured, thereby motivating debtors to pay their account on time.

What are the key elements of these Regulations?

The regulations prescribe the rates and the general conditions under which departments charge:

  • interest on overdue receivables
  • administrative fees where any instrument payable to the Crown is dishonoured

The regulations do not apply to tax receivables, capital market transactions, most loans, and other amounts that are governed by another instrument. The regulations also prescribe the conditions under which an appropriate federal minister may waive or reduce interest or administrative charges.

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations apply to the operations of federal departments and affect Canadian businesses that have overdue receivables owing to the government.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

Enquiries about these regulations may be addressed to the TBS Public Enquiries.

Privacy Regulations (SOR/83-508)

What is the purpose of these Regulations?

The Privacy Regulations provide specific details on exercising the rights and obligations found in the Privacy Act.

What are the key elements of these regulations?

The regulations set out:

  • retention periods for personal information held by government institutions
  • procedures for making Privacy Act access requests
  • names of investigative bodies recognized in the Privacy Act.

The regulations support the implementation of the Privacy Act.

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations have no impact on Canadian businesses.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

More information is available on the Government of Canada's access to information and privacy web page.

Access to Information Regulations (SOR/83-507)

What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Access to Information Regulations provide details on:

  • procedures for making an access request
  • format of records for an access request
  • application fees and search and production fees

The regulations support the implementation of the Access to Information Act.

What are the key elements of these regulations?

The regulations establish rules for:

  • production of records to respond to an access request
  • application fees
  • fees for search and preparation of records in response to an access request
  • procedures for making an access request
  • format of records released in response to an access request

How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The regulations have no impact on Canadian businesses.

When did the regulations come into force?

Where can I get more information?

More information is available on the Government of Canada's access to information and privacy web page.

For more information

Consult the following for links to the Cabinet Directive on Regulation and supporting policies and guidance, and for information on government-wide regulatory initiatives implemented by departments and agencies across the Government of Canada:

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit:

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