Canada’s Proposed Foreign Influence Transparency Registry

By Terrance S. Carter, Cameron A. Axford, Urshita Grover and Martin U. Wissmath

May 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on May 30, 2024



As foreign interference with the democratic process of nations becomes an increasing concern around the globe, governments are taking steps to curb subversive and clandestine activities by external actors. In Canada, Ottawa has drafted legislation, Bill C-70, An Act respecting countering foreign interference (introduced on May 6, 2024, and completed second reading on May 29, 2024), which, if passed, will enact several measures to counter foreign interference aimed at all levels of government, the private sector, academia, diaspora communities, and the general public.

Part 4 of Bill C-70 would enact the Foreign Influence Transparency and Accountability Act (the “Act”). The proposed Act pertains to the provision and registration of certain information in relation to “arrangements” (as defined below) with “foreign principals” (as defined below) by “persons” (as defined below) on behalf of foreign principals to carry out activities in relation to a “political or governmental process” (defined below) within Canada.  Relevant information from registration would be held in what is being referred to as the “Foreign Influence Transparency Registry”, which would be available to the general public (the “Registry”). This proposed Act would be analogous to the American Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly known as FARA, which was introduced in 1938 to limit the influence of authoritarian governments within the American political process.

It is critical to note that, despite the use of the term “interference” in Bill C-70, the proposed Act applies to entities engaged in legitimate influencing (such as lobbying, political advocacy, etc.) of Canadian political policy, as well as malicious actors attempting to subvert the Canadian democratic process (i.e. interference). Organizations or individuals who need to comply with the proposed Act should not automatically be concerned that they would be operating in a manner which the government considers suspicious or unethical. However, there would be serious consequences for not complying with the Act as explained below.

The proposed Act is broad in scope and, if passed, would have implications for many individuals and entities in Canada, including charities and not-for-profits.

For the balance of this Bulletin, please see Charity & NFP Law Bulletin No. 527.


Read the May 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update