Last week’s House Finance Committee hearings on the federal government’s since-reversed decision to award the WE organization a contract to manage the Canada Student Service Grant program covered a lot of ground, to say the least. As MPs grilled WE co-founders Marc and Craig Kielburger, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his chief of staff, Katie Telford, they, among other things, sought to nail down how much contact there was between the government and WE ahead of Mr. Trudeau’s June 25 announcement awarding the charity a contract to administer the (as announced) $912-million program. The federal lobbying registry exists to help answer such questions, with registered lobbyists required to disclose when they have communications with federal politicians (and their staff), noting, among other details, the dates of discussions, participants, and what the subject matter was. But no representatives for the WE Charity are registered as lobbyists. And the reason comes down to what’s long been described as a loophole in the federal Lobbying Act, which only requires an individual or organization to register if lobbying constitutes a “significant part” of work, defined as 20 per cent of one employee’s time (or what would constitute 20 per cent of one employees time if the work was performed by only one individual). So, despite the Kielburgers testifying that WE pitched what they described as unsolicited proposals to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Youth Minister Bardish Chagger, Small Business and Trade Minister Mary Ng, and Mr. Trudeau in April, no public record (prior to the committee testimony, at least) of that outreach exists. According to Craig Kielburger, WE Charity’s engagement with the federal government was the responsibility of one employee, and its expenses related to government relations were just 1.03 per cent of the organization’s total budget in 2019. It’s a threshold successive lobbying commissioners have called on to be scrapped. Issues with the threshold came up during the last Parliament as well, during the House Ethics Committee’s study into the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook data breach, through which MPs learned that Facebook Canada’s head of public policy Kevin Chan wasn’t a registered lobbyist. The revelation prompted MP calls for the act to be amended to scrap the 20 per cent rule. At the time, the act was already overdue for its required five-year review (the last review was in 2012). But that review never came to pass. Now, once again, shortcomings of the act have come to fore. And it’s not just the 20 per cent threshold. Other longstanding loopholes have been flagged, including that only oral, pre-arranged communications need to be reported, and that only paid lobbyists have to register, something that arose in relation to the scandal around Mr. Trudeau’s 2017 acceptance of a trip to the Aga Khan's private island. In that case, the commissioner found the Aga Khan, the founder of the Aga Khan Foundation, not guilty of violating the act as he wasn’t a paid lobbyist, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal. Already overdue, last week’s hearings clearly underlined the need for Parliament to give the federal Lobbying Act a throughout review. Hopefully now there’s enough political will to ensure that finally happens. firstname.lastname@example.org CORRECTION: A previous version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 2017 Bahamas vacation to the Aga Khan's private island was paid for by the Aga Khan Foundation. The Hill Times regrets the error.