A new set of federal rules limits the influence of Canadians engaged in “political work,” which includes unpaid campaign volunteers. For the first time in eight years, changes are coming to the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, effective July 1..“The objective of this code is to foster transparent and ethical lobbying of federal officials,” Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger wrote in a legal notice. .“This code works in concert with the ethical regimes that apply to federal officials.”.According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the new code includes a new “sense of obligation” clause to restrict lobbying of any public office holder “where the official could reasonably be seen to have a sense of obligation to you because of political work, paid or unpaid.” .The clause defines “political work” as organizing or managing any campaign, raising funds, volunteering, “soliciting or gathering donations,” “disseminating campaign materials” or acting as a spokesperson, researcher, analyst or campaign advertiser..The restriction would not affect lobbyists who are members of political parties, donors, attendees at campaign rallies, or those who express their “personal political opinions” or “display election signs” on their property..“Ethical lobbying requires a commitment to openness,” wrote Bélanger. .“Conducting transparent lobbying ensures officials understand the purpose of lobbying activities and on whose behalf they are carried out.”.“Ethical lobbying is conducted with integrity, honesty and professionalism,” wrote Bélanger..“Being trustworthy and respectful supports informed decision-making by officials and, in turn, public confidence in federal government institutions.”.The new Lobbyists’ Code also restricts lobbyists who seek favours from any public office holder “where the official could be seen to have a sense of obligation towards you because you have a close relationship with the official.” The term “close relationship” is defined as a family member, friend, former co-worker, joint investor or “romantic partner.”.The current code, last updated in 2015, prohibits gifts from lobbyists. However, the new code allows for accepting “low-value gifts” that serve as tokens of appreciation or promotional items as long as they are worth no more than $40..The revised code defines gifts as “anything of value provided for free, without charge, at a reduced rate or at less than market value with no obligation to repay.” That includes door prizes, vouchers, cash, free parking, hockey tickets, and any other form of “ticket, pass, or access to an event.”.During his testimony on May 12 at the Commons Ethics committee, Bélanger stated the changes should not be burdensome on lobbyists..“There will be plenty of time for people to look at it and react,” said Bélanger..There are approximately 8,000 registered lobbyists in Ottawa. The 2015 revisions to the Lobbyists' Code required the disclosure of clients.