Lobbying activity related to building the economy and the green technology sector will likely find traction in 2023 as the parties look ahead to a possible federal election before 2025, according to lobbyists. “I honestly think a lot of what will define 2023 is what will or will not be in the budget. I think Canadians are facing hard economic times. I think that's going to be front and centre,” said Daniel Perry, a Summa Strategies consultant and conservative commentator. “I think if you were in the green-tech sector, you're going to have a great 2023. If you're in the agriculture sector, or if you're in parts of the financial sector, such as open banking, you're probably not going to have the same year as others, just because the government's really focusing on resetting the economy, looking to fund green-tech projects.” The 2023 federal budget is to be unveiled on March 28, which Perry said he expects to be the “budget of austerity.” He said the Liberals will likely favour projects that boost the economy for the rest of 2023 in order to secure a strong position if an election comes in the near future. Daniel Perry, a Summa Strategies consultant, says this year's federal budget will be 'the budget of austerity.' Photograph courtesy of Daniel Perry “I think the government's going to have to walk this very, very fine line of looking to save money, but also at the same time allowing enough money to be put back into our economy so that we don't go into a recession,” said Perry. “The reality is, if the Liberals do go into the election, either later this year or even next year, and the economy isn't coming along, they might have some real problems.” Kevin Bosch, a managing partner with Sandstone Group, told The Hill Times that the anticipation of an election makes it a critical time for lobbying, as the parties prepare their platforms. Parties begin thinking about their platforms a year or more in advance of an election, he said. Kevin Bosch, a managing partner with Sandstone Group, says federal parties will often try to match each other in their election platforms. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade “I'm not expecting an election this year, although surprises do happen in a minority government. But I am thinking, obviously in 2024 or 2025 … we are going to have an election,” said Bosch, who is also a former deputy director of the Liberal Research Bureau. “Often parties will match each other at election time. They'll say, ‘Okay, this party promised pharmacare, so we're going to promise it, too.’ If you can get a given idea that you're pushing for into a platform, it's almost like a gold medal in the lobbying world.” A major driving factor for the federal government will likely be the electrification of the economy, according to Bosch. “We're moving towards net zero. Anything related to clean energy, moving off of carbon … is going to be hot,” he said. “If we’re all going to be driving electric cars … we're going to have to revolutionize the electric grid in Canada. I think there'll be a lot of desire for the government to get active on that, whether it's building up the grids or building the cars or building the net zero future that we're all aiming towards. I think that's going to be the theme of the next 10 or 20 years, let alone the next year.” Jacquie LaRocque, founder of the consulting firm Compass Rose and a former Liberal ministerial Hill staffer, told The Hill Times that this year’s budget will likely be the last before an election is called, and so eyes will be on the Liberal government to release concrete plans to carry-forward its commitments. “When you're realistically looking at a forthcoming, likely last budget before the next election, you look at the commitments that the government's made, and you say, where to next? What now?” she said. “Watchers are really seeking to get beyond words by looking at, what are the details of that fiscal responsibility? And at the same time, where are the plans for growth of our economy, because without the growth of our economy, the other commitments that are in platforms … cannot get implemented.” Credibility and thinking outside the box key for lobbyists in 2023 Lobbyists who wish to succeed in this environment need a combination of credibility, subject matter expertise, and a willingness to try new approaches on behalf of their clients or organizations, according to some consultants. “I believe the success of our team … is about mastery of our subject matter and credibility in representing clients to the federal government,” said Chris Benedetti, managing partner at Sussex Strategy. “You have to understand both how government works, but also understand how your issue and subject matter fits into the larger agenda and how to find alignment between the two.” That view was echoed by Sheamus Murphy, partner and federal practice lead at Counsel Public Affairs. In addition to the ability to communicate complex issues clearly and effectively, Murphy said commanding both trust and respect were vital for top lobbyists. Rather than “connections, the number of meetings or adaptability,” Murphy said top lobbyists reflect attributes such as a commitment to “contributing to the broader public debate and working across partisan lines,” the achievement of wins for their clients or sector on issues of national importance, and “enhancing the reputation of the lobbying industry as a whole, as a leader within their own firm organization and as an ethical contributor to better public policy.” Kate Harrison, vice-chair at Summa Strategies, said that being an effective lobbyist involved putting aside your own partisan views to navigate government and major issues. Kate Harrison, vice-chair at Summa Strategies, says a top lobbyist needs to be able to put themselves 'in decision-makers' shoes even if you have nothing in common with them.' Photograph courtesy of Kate Harrison “You need to be able to put yourself in decision-makers’ shoes even if you have nothing in common with them, and guide your client accordingly,” she said. Dave Carey, vice-president of government and industry relations at the Canadian Canola Growers Association, said top lobbyists “are able to disagree without being disagreeable by focusing on bad policy, not bad people.” “They have seats at tables where decisions are made,” he said. “They are sought out by parliamentarians, department officials and industry leaders for their input and opinion on key issues. They are listened to, respected and used as sounding boards.” Carey said those skills are important, as “Ottawa has never been more crowded, with parliamentarians still stuck between in-person and virtual.” Ashton Arsenault, vice-president at Crestview Strategy, said he expects that virtual meetings could become a permanent fixture of lobbying, which made it important for lobbyists to be able to master both in-person and online versions. “COVID fundamentally changed how we engage with decision-makers and stakeholders,” he said. Visibility is important, but a lobbyists’ effectiveness should not be measured by the number of meetings held or communication reports filed with the federal lobbyists’ registry, Arsenault said. “An effective federal lobbyist, above all else, is somebody who is able to consistently achieve objectives on behalf of their clients or organization,” he said. “In short, drive outcomes.” For newer members of the profession, Christian von Donat, vice-president of government relations and strategy at Impact Public Affairs, recommended thinking outside the box. “Over my seven years with Impact, it’s been the constant push to think innovatively and to not be afraid to try new strategies that have yielded some big wins on behalf of clients I work with,” he said. “Politicians and staff are so conditioned to 30-minute meetings, evening receptions, one-pagers… the true test for top lobbyists is breaking out of what is perfectly fine in order to deliver something special.” Top 100 Lobbyists 2023: The Hill Times compiled this list after reaching out to more than 30 lobbyists, including both in-house representatives and consultants, on background for input. The list is not a popularity contest, but is intended to showcase prominent lobbyists at the federal level based on their reputation and perceived effectiveness, as judged by their peers. This list was compiled by The Hill Times reporter Jesse Cnockaert and Lobby Monitor editor Stephen Jeffery, and organized alphabetically by the lobbyist’s last name. LobbyistTitleOrganizationAndre AlbinatiPrincipalEarnscliffe Strategy GroupAshton ArsenaultVice-presidentCrestview StrategyChris AylwardNational presidentPublic Services Alliance CanadaJennifer BabcockSenior director, government and public affairsCanadian Cattle AssociationAlana BakerSenior director, government relationsAutomotive Industries of CanadaAndrew BalfourManaging partner (Ottawa)Rubicon StrategyTim BarberPrincipalBluesky Strategy GroupPerrin BeattyPresident and CEOCanadian Chamber of CommerceHardave BirkGovernment relations directorShaw CommunicationsKevin BoschManaging partnerSandstone GroupMichael BourqueCEOCanadian Real Estate AssociationSam BoutziouvisVice-president, government relationsSNC-LavalinDiane BriseboisPresident and CEORetail Council of CanadaBea BruskePresidentCanadian Labour CongressTabatha BullPresident and CEOCanadian Council for Aboriginal BusinessStéphane CardinDirector of public policyNetflixDave CareyVice-president, government and industry relationsCanadian Canola Growers AssociationPhilip CartwrightSenior vice-presidentGlobal Public AffairsSean CaseyManaging directorPAA AdvisoryGeorge ChristidisVice President Government Relations and International AffairsCanadian Nuclear AssociationGary ClementDirector, government relationsTD Bank GroupPaul-Emile CloutierPresident and CEOHealthCareCANCatherine CobdenPresident and CEOCanadian Steel Producers AssociationDavid CooperVice-president, government relationsCentre for Israel and Jewish AffairsLaura D'AngeloVice-president, national strategy and public affairsEnterprise CanadaDennis DarbyPresident and CEOAlliance of Canadian Manufacturers and ExportersPaul DeeganPresident and CEONews Media CanadaJohn DelacourtSenior vice-presidentCounsel Public AffairsJoanne DobsonSenior Director, government relations (federal and Ontario)Air CanadaBruce DrysdaleManaging partnerLongview CommunicationsSimon DwyerDirector, government affairsBCEKristina FarrellDirectorTemple Scott AssociatesDeborah FlintPresident and CEOGreater Toronto Airports AuthorityMarlene FloydNational director, corporate affairsMicrosoft CanadaCheryl FougereSenior manager of government relationsRogers CommunicationsPamela FralickPresidentInnovative Medicines CanadaRobert GhizPresident and CEOCanadian Wireless Telecommunications AssociationAndy GibbonsVice-presidentWestJet AirlinesJacob GlickVice-president, public policyTelus Corp.Sarah GoldfederManager of government relationsGeneral Motors of CanadaPierre GrattonPresident and CEOMining Association of CanadaTim GrayExecutive directorEnvironmental DefenceSusie GrynolPresident and CEOHotel Association of CanadaKate HarrisonVice-chairSumma StrategiesBruce HartleySenior partnerProspectus AssociatesKatie HeelisVice-president and health practice leadEnterprise CanadaSteven HogueDirector, Global Policy and Public Affairs (Canada)Pfizer Canada ULCKelly HutchinsonPublic Affairs counsellorCompass Rose GroupGoldy HyderPresident and CEOBusiness Council of CanadaDan KellyPresident, CEO, and chairCanadian Federation of Independent BusinessLauren KennedyDirector, public affairsChicken Farmers of CanadaJason KerrManaging director, government relationsCanadian Automobile AssociationBrian KingstonPresident and CEOCanadian Vehicle Manufacturers' AssociationJames KusieVice president, public and government affairsImperial OilTim LambertCEOEgg Farmers of CanadaEric LamoureuxManaging partnerPAA Advisory | ConseilsJacquie LaRocquePrincipalCompass Rose GroupJacques LefebvreCEODairy Farmers of CanadaMegan LesliePresident and CEOWorld Wildlife FundDan LovellSenior associateSussex Strategy GroupRobin MacLachlanPresidentSumma StrategiesGreg MacNeilDirector of government relationsIrving ShipbuildingDan MaderPartnerLoyalist Public AffairsElise MaheuHead of government affairs3M CanadaMonica MasciantonioVice-president, government affairsScotiabankKelly MasottiVice-president, advocacyCanadian Cancer SocietyBob MastersonPresident and CEOChemistry Industry Association of CanadaDevin McCarthySenior vice-presidentSussex Strategy GroupDave McHattieInstitutional relations directorTenarisColin McKayHead of public policy and government relationsGoogle CanadaDon MoorsPresidentTemple Scott AssociatesSheamus MurphyPartner and federal practice leadCounsel Public AffairsDerek NighborPresident and CEOForest Products Association of CanadaChima NkemdirimVice-president, government relationsShaw CommunicationsWendy NossPresidentMotion Picture Association - CanadaMonette PasherPresidentCanadian Airports CouncilJohn PennerVice-presidentStrategy CorpAzin PeyrowDirector, government relationsCanadian Medical AssociationBeth PotterPresident and CEOTourism Industry AssociationAlex PourbaixPresident and CEOCenovus EnergyDavid PrattPrincipalDavid Pratt and AssociatesPierre PyunVice-president, government affairs and public affairsBombardierGordon QuaiattiniPartnerMaple Leaf StrategiesMark ResnickManaging directorMcMillan Vantage Policy GroupChad RogersPartnerCrestview StrategyElizabeth RoscoeSenior vice-presidentRubicon StrategyCarole SaabCEOFederation of Canadian MunicipalitiesConrad SauvéPresident and CEOCanadian Red CrossSusan SmithPrincipalBluesky Strategy GroupJennifer SloanVice-president of public policy (Canada)MastercardAndrew SteeleVice-presidentStrategyCorpLeslie SwartmanSenior director, government relationsMDARobert TaylorAssistant vice-president, North American advocacyRailway Association of CanadaGordon Taylor LeeManaging PartnerNATIONAL Public RelationsMatt ThompsonVice-president, associate general counselCORUSCarla VentinSenior vice-president, government relationsFood, Health, and Consumer Products CanadaFlavio VolpePresidentAutomotive Parts Manufacturers' AssociationJoelle WalkerVice-president, public affairsCanadian Pharmacists AssociationGeorge WamalaDirector, regulatory and government affairsRBCHuw WilliamsPresidentImpact Public Affairs Top 10 lobbied ministers in 2022 NameRole(s)CommunicationsFrançois-Philippe ChampagneMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry283Jonathan WilkinsonMinister of Natural Resources205Steven GuilbeaultMinister of Environment and Climate Change199Marie-Claude BibeauMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food177Omar AlghabraMinister of Transport154Randy BoissonnaultMinister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance145Jean-Yves DuclosMinister of Health115Chrystia FreelandDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance103Mona FortierPresident of the Treasury Board87Mary NgMinister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development81 This table shows the federal ministers who were listed in the most communication reports in 2022. Information courtesy of the federal lobbyists’ registry. Top 10 lobbied departments in 2022 Department/InstitutionCommunicationsHouse of Commons10,170Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada3,118Environment and Climate Change Canada2,040Finance Canada1,764Natural Resources Canada1,651Global Affairs Canada1,465Senate of Canada1,374Prime Minister's Office1,301Health Canada1,218Canadian Heritage1,060 This table shows the federal departments that appeared in the most communication reports in 2022. Information courtesy of the federal lobbyists’ registry. Top 10 lobbied issues in 2022 TopicCommunication ReportsEnvironment5,528Economic Development4,910Health4,220Industry3,965Energy3,838Agriculture3,253Climate3,099Science and Technology2,845International Trade2,652Research and Development2,625 This table shows the most frequently listed subject matter for discussion in communication reports filed in 2022. Information courtesy of the federal lobbyists’ registry. Top 10 lobbied public office holders/staffers in 2022 NameRole(s) held in 2022OfficeCommunicationsEamonn McGuintySenior Policy AdvisorMinister of Environment and Climate Change297Michael BrewsterDirector of Policy (Nature and Biodiversity)Minister of Environment and Climate Change265Francis DrouinLiberal MP, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 260Kevin DeagleSenior Policy AdvisorMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry255Peter OpdamSenior Policy Advisor; Policy AdvisorMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry231Kurtis LaydenSenior Policy AdvisorMinister of Environment and Climate Change228Fiona SimonsDirector of Policy (Clean Energy and Innovation)Minister of Natural Resources223Blake OliverSenior Policy AdvisorMinister of Natural Resources; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance219Bianca HossainPolicy AdvisorMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry211Anson DuranSenior Policy AdvisorMinister of Innovation, Science and Industry208 This table shows the designated public office holders or staff members who appeared in the most communication reports in 2022. Information courtesy of the federal lobbyists’ registry.