Federation of Ontario Law Associations
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THE BASICS

For the first time ever, FOLA will be hosting a Lobby Day at Queen's Park on February 20, 2020 and your Association is invited!


FOLA's Lobby Day will be an excellent opportunity for your President and select association members to attend Question Period and meet with politicians (Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, backbenchers, critics, and other MPPs) and their staff to discuss legislation and issues relevant to the practice of law. 


We will help you arrange meetings, provide advance issue briefings, train you on how to best communicate with MPPs and staff, and feed you throughout the day!


This page will be built out as we get closer to the date, so please do bookmark it and visit often! 


HELPFUL INFO

We have answers to some common questions such as "what is lobbying?", "will I need to register with the Lobbying Registration Act"", "what will FOLA's Lobby Day look like?", and "how do I sign up?" below.  


SEE OUR HANDY TIPS!

LOBBY DAY 101

WHAT IS LOBBYING?

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Lobbying occurs when groups or individuals bring issues and concerns directly to their government. This would involve speaking with MPPs (elected public officers) in their local riding, to party leaders, ministers and critics, and political staff with regard to developing or changing government policy. The Lobbying Act states there should be “free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest”. 


FOLA's Lobby Day is an opportunity to speak with politicians to positively affect change in policy.


FOLA's Lobby Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of Ontario's 47 Law Associations, and issues concerning Ontario's roughly 12,000 small and sole practicing lawyer among some of the most important decision makers in the province while at the same time, offering FOLA's members a glimpse into the life of a politician and/or their staff.  

WHAT ABOUT THE LOBBYING REGISTRATION ACT (LRA)?

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Corporations, partnerships, and organizations (including non-profits and charities) whose paid employees and directors collectively devote at least 50 hours to provincial lobbying activities in a given one-year period are now be required to register. 


Law Association Board Members would be deemed   “consultant” lobbyist – that is, an individual who, for payment, undertakes to lobby on behalf of an organization of which the lobbyist is not an employee or a paid director.


In the highly unlikely event that you and/or your association are devoting 50+ hours per year on communicating with government officials, FOLA encourages you to carefully review the Lobby Registration page on the Ontario Government website for more information.  


NOTE:  Submissions sent as part of routine government consultative processes DO NOT count towards these hours.

WHAT WILL LOBBY DAY LOOK LIKE?

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February 20th will begin with comments from each of FOLA’s Committee Chairs to review issues in more detail.


Also in the morning, FOLA has invited a guest speaker offer some tips and strategies on how to best communicate in your meetings and how to follow up.


You'll then attend Question Period and right after that, FOLA will be inviting all MPPs (including Cabinet Ministers, Critics, Parliamentary Assistants) political staff, and members of the Press Gallery where we will hear from members of both the Government (PCs) and the Opposition (NDP).


It's after that when you'll be going off to meet both individually and in assigned pairs or groups to scheduled meetings with MPPs and staff.


The day will wrap up with a debrief.

I WANT TO COME! HOW DOES THAT WORK?

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Email Katie Robinette at katie.robinette@fola.ca and put FOLA LOBBY DAY in the subject line!  Just make sure you include the name of your law association, your position on the Board (if any), and the names of any MPPs and/or staff you have a pre-existing relationship with (this will help when we begin arranging meetings!).


If you aren't yet sure, but have questions, still email Katie with the same subject line but add "Question" to it (this just helps us a little!).


But be rest assured, FOLA will also be reaching out to you through your Law Assn. President and law librarian.  


Once you've been recognized as interested, we will make sure to include you on all Lobby Day related emails (yes - more emails!).  Note that these emails are critical to ensuring a successful day.  They will include information about optional pre-event conference calls (issue briefings, MPP and staff briefings, communication training, etc) and, closer to the event, MPP mini bios and important links.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR meetings

This quick 2 minute video by the American Chemical Society offers a great check list for you before your meetings.  For a recap of the f the list, visit here.

MEETINGS WITH MPPs AND STAFF

MEETING PREP CHECK LIST

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In Advance of the Meeting

Plan how you'll describe the issues you want to discuss.

Make sure to avoid unnecessary jargon and don't "talk down" to legislators and their staff. These individuals are smart and well informed, but they usually won't have legal backgrounds.

If you're going as a team, plan beforehand who will take the lead and how you'll each effectively share your main points.


Attending the Meeting

Be on time. The member may be running late  -but you shouldn’t!

Recognize that you'll likely be talking to a staff member too.

Be succinct:  You will have 15 quality minutes: limit your message and stay on point.  Have a clear "ask"?  Now's your time to make it!

Describe the importance of the issue to your work. Use anecdotes or personal narratives. Explain how this affects their community and the public.

Be open to questions. If you don’t know the answer, offer to get it and follow up.

Conclude and reiterate top points, making sure to capture follow-ups or commitments.


After the Meeting

Thank them verbally for meeting with you.

Follow up by sending a thank you email to the MPP and the staff person who spoke with you. This is especially important if your goal is to establish a relationship.

Touch base with office contacts every three months to help build a relationship.


And don't forget to check out this handy video.

CONTACT AN MPP

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FOLA will help arrange meetings for you, but if you choose to arrange your own, here are some great contact resources.


Here's your go-to list for all current MPPs and staff.   Looking for a Cabinet Minister or their staff?  Click on Ministries (drop down menu).  Looking for an MPP or their staff?  Select Legislative and then the party they belong to.  Here's quick link.


Link to the main Ontario MPP & staff directory (includes Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants).


Looking for your MPP and don't know who that is or what Riding you live in?  Look it up!  Just click on the blue button below.