2023 TechLobby Annual Report

Read the full report [PDF]

The TechLobby Annual Report for 2023 focuses on the federal lobbying of Google, Meta/Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Disney, and Microsoft in 2023.

The interactive graphics for this report are available at the bottom of this page. By clicking on the buttons at the bottom of each graphic, you can enlarge, download, or share the graphic. You can also click on the graphics and legends to explore and even download the data.

It finds that, in 2023:

  • Much tech lobbying focussed on the reform of the Broadcasting Act, the Online News Act, privacy reform, and AI regulation. Some tech companies, including Google and Amazon, cover a very broad range of issues and federal departments, while others (Apple, Facebook, Netflix, and Disney) conducted more focussed lobbying.
  • Tech lobbying had some significant impacts:
    • While video streaming companies like Google (YouTube) and Netflix did not prevent the passage of the Online Streaming Act, the applicability of broadcasting regulation to video streaming, or the discoverability provisions as they may have hoped, their arguments certainly found resonance with a number of parliamentarians and created friction for the bill as it passed through the parliamentary process.  
    • Google’s lobbying efforts relating to the Online News Act did not stop the act’s passage but did succeed in having the amount of money the corporation would have to pay to compensate Canadian media for news circulated on their platforms capped. 
  • The number of registered tech lobbying communications were slightly down in 2023 compared to 2022. This may represent a return to normal after a very busy year in 2022.  However, Microsoft’s lobbying rose, possibly to address the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, which continued its way through parliament.
  • Registered tech lobbying has grown dramatically over the longer term, but this is part of a trend that we see across all companies; lobbying registrations have grown, in general, on a similar scale.  
  • Not all lobbying is registered; tech companies exert other forms of influence on government outside formal registered lobbying. Tech companies fund advocacy groups and events, such as the “AWS Public Sector Symposium Ottawa,” which took place in September 2023. 
  • While lobbying of members of parliament and senators usually outpaces lobbying of government departments, 2023 is an anomaly: tech lobbying of Canadian Heritage outpaced even its lobbying of the House of Commons in 2023.  We postulate that this is due in part to Google’s lobbying for concessions on the regulations for the Online News Act.
  • We see a longer-term shift from consultant to in-house lobbyists among tech companies, which have also made moves to establish offices in Canada.  We also see that tech companies rely on in-house lobbyists more than is typical of lobbying overall.  While consultant lobbyists are often portrayed as offering a rolodex of connections with government and parliamentary officials, in-house lobbyists are often assumed to specialize in providing specialized expertise in specific policy areas. While tech companies’ reliance on in-house lobbyists may therefore suggest a greater importance placed on expertise, personal connections and expertise often go hand-in-hand.

Tech lobbying should properly be viewed in the context of the lobbying of traditional media companies and broader coalitions of advocacy organizations and companies.  While this report focuses on the lobbying of ‘tech companies,’ it is important to note that traditional media and communications companies lobbied extensively in many of the same areas that tech companies did, as did advocacy groups and coalitions and associations representing groups of companies. We intend to focus, in future annual reports, on the relative lobbying between these groups of companies as well as the lobbying of other organizations in the same areas.

Interactive Graphics

Figure 1: The Subjects Lobbied by Tech Companies in 2023

Figure 2: Number of lobbying communications: 2023 vs 2022

Figure 3: Lobbying communications by company: 2021-2023

Figure 4: Tech lobbying vs all lobbying

Figure 5: Top government targets of tech lobbying in 2023 and 2022

Figure 6: Tech lobbying of the executive and legislative branches of government

Figure 7: In house vs consultant tech lobbying