Publications & Resources
Meeting of the Board of Directors on June 27, 2012
Board Members Present:
John McCamus (Chair); Aly Alibhai; John Liston; James McNee; Derry Millar (by teleconference); Tim Murphy; James Yakimovich (by teleconference); Robert W. Ward, (CEO/Ex Officio)
Nancy Cooper; Michelle Haigh
Lee David; Chantal Gagnon; Jawad Kassab; Sue McCaffrey; David McKillop; Stephanie Mealing; Vicki Moretti; Michelle Séguin; Aneurin Thomas
1. Meeting Agenda
A motion was made and carried that the agenda be approved.
2. Conflict of Interest
No conflict of interest was identified.
3. Chair’s Report
The Chair reported as follows:
Board Advisory Committees
- The Chair reported that the spring series of Board Advisory Committee meetings is completed. He noted that the composition of the Committees has proven to be quite successful and that discussions are interesting, constructive and cordial. He commended Policy Counsel on their excellent organizational accomplishments.
- The Board discussed conducting a review of the entire Advisory Committee structure and agreed that this issue will be discussed at the Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Session in December 2012.
The Chair reported that he and others from LAO met with a delegation from Turkey, along with representatives from the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) and the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO).
Former LSUC Treasurer’s Portrait Unveiling
The Chair was pleased to report on his invitation to attend the unveiling of the portrait of Board member W. A. Derry Millar, former Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC).
Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ACLCO)
The Chair reported on his attendance at the ACLCO Annual General Meeting dinner, to which he brought greetings from this Board. He noted the attendance of a large staff contingent from LAO.
Middle Class Access to Justice Project
The Chair reported on the Middle Class Access to Justice Project at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He noted that a book has now been published called Middle Income Access to Justice. He reported on the inclusion of a chapter called “Growing Legal Aid Ontario into the Middle Class: A Proposal for Public Legal Expenses Insurance” by Michael Trebilcock, Sujit Choudhry and James Wilson.
Appointments to LAO Board of Directors
The Chair reviewed the current appointments to the Legal Aid Ontario Board of Directors, i.e. two vacancies and three members with expired Orders-In-Council who are serving at the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor. Board members agreed that ideal additions to the LAO Board would be members with risk/compliance expertise and IT competencies. The Board discussed the Law Society policy of limiting Board appointments to two terms.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Chair’s Report.
4. President and CEO’s Report (receive)
The President and CEO presented the second instalment of the President’s Report, and highlighted the following:
African Canadian Legal Clinic’s Human Rights Complaint Against LAO
The President reported that the African Canadian Legal Clinic’s Human Rights complaint against LAO has now been settled.
Client of Modest Means
The President highlighted for information the report on Profile of a Client of Modest Means. He reported that LAO is attempting to ascertain what the “modest means” requirement is in the regulations and legislative framework relative to setting case budgets.
Human Resources Workforce Report
The President presented the Human Resources Workforce Report. He highlighted some improvements in areas such as a significant reduction in staff turnover, improvement in the management to staff ratio, etc. He reported that work is ongoing to define what a management position is. He reported that LAO’s target is a management to staff ratio of 1:10.
Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada (ALAPC)
- The President reported that he has been elected Chair of the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada. He noted the plans for better co-ordination and an increase in the Association’s profile.
- The President reported on the excellent presentation to the ALAPC delegates by the former LAO Vice-President, Strategic Planning and Compliance, on how to measure performance within a legal aid environment. He noted that knowledge-sharing will be encouraged within the Association.
The Director, Legal Services (who will soon be Acting General Counsel) presented highlights from the Litigation Update in the President’s Report.
Justice on Target
The President reported that the Justice on Target initiative has prevented an increase in the number of court appearances. He noted that the JOT expert panel is examining the potential effect of new federal legislation on the issue of bail and pre-trial custody.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the President and CEO’s Report.
1. Minutes of Audit and Finance Committee Meetings
- The President and CEO presented the amended Clinic Compensation Funding Framework. He advised that consultation with the clinics will take place in the near future.
A motion was made and carried that the Board:
- adopt the Minutes of the Audit and Finance Committee meeting held June 5th, 2012, and
- receive the Clinic Compensation Funding Framework.
1. 2011-2012 President and CEO Performance Review
In Camera Session
2. Executive Compensation Report
In Camera Session
3. President and CEO Performance Contract for 2012-13 (approve)
The President and CEO presented the President and CEO Performance Contract for 2012-13. He advised that this Performance Contract is basically a distillation of the Business Plan previously approved by the Board of Directors. He invited Board members to suggest any specific deliverables to be added to the Contract. Board members directed the following:
- Explicitly specify the stewardship role with respect to management of the fiscal pressures
Board members were advised that they are welcome to make further suggestions throughout the course of the Contract.
A motion was made and carried that the Board approve the President and CEO Performance Contract for 2012-13.
4. Financial Statements
LAO Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2012 (adopt)
The Vice President and CAO presented the Audited Financial Statements. She reported that the audit team from Ernst and Young proposed changes with respect to accounts receivable, which were minimal in nature and had no effect on the bottom line. She noted that during the course of the June 5, 2012 Audit and Finance Committee meeting, the Auditor General indicated that LAO’s internal controls are strong. A Board member noted that, in his discussion with Committee members in the absence of staff, the Auditor General was complimentary of the audit process generally.
A motion was made and carried that the Board adopt the LAO Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2012.
Audited Employee Pension Plan Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2011 (approve)
The Vice-President and CAO presented the Audited Employee Pension Plan Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2011. She noted that this is an audit of assets only. She advised that the audit report indicated that internal controls are strong.
A motion was made and carried that the Board approve the Audited Employee Pension Plan Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2011.
5. Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (receive)
The President and CEO advised that, in the context of the appointment of a new Provincial Attorney General, the Board of Directors directed staff to advise the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) of LAO’s intention to negotiate a revised MOU, specifically to clarify LAO’s accountability with respect to official government policy and to emphasize LAO’s independence as a public institution. The President and CEO noted that this is an opportunity to clarify the LAO/MAG relationship with service providers as well.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Draft Memorandum of Understanding.
6. 2011-12 Draft Annual Report (receive)
The President and CEO presented the 2011-12 Draft Annual Report. He noted that the President and CEO’s message will include suggestions from the June 5, 2012 Audit and Finance Committee meeting, and will be circulated to the Board for approval. He noted the process and timing for getting Annual Reports tabled in the legislature, and he advised that LAO releases its own quarterly report which provides information for stakeholders and increases LAO’s transparency.
A motion was made and carried that the Board approve the Draft Annual Report for 2011-12.
7. Refugee Reform (approve)
The President and CEO advised that demand has been extraordinarily high in the area of Refugee and Immigration law and that this refugee reform initiative is required to address financial pressures immediately. He advised that this report outlines the various options and associated risks. The Regional Vice President for the GTA Region presented the Report and reviewed the three phases recommended for the transformation of the delivery of refugee legal aid services. She highlighted the options, the associated risks and the estimated savings. The Vice President confirmed that quality service will continue to be provided to all financially eligible clients through increased use of staff models and in partnership with other agencies. The Board discussed the changes to the merit assessment process. The President and CEO reported that a communications strategy is being developed and a thorough consultation with the refugee bar will be undertaken.
A motion was made and carried that the Board approve the initiatives outlined in the briefing note.
8. French Language Services (FLS) Update (receive)
The Vice President, Policy, Research and External Relations, presented the French Language Services Update. He reported that LAO has seriously committed to the provision of FLS and is now considered a model for other Provincial public service agencies. He expressed his appreciation to the Program Manager. He reported that LAO is striving to provide English and French language services equally. He highlighted the impact on clinics and other programs of the Regulation with respect to the Provision of FLS by Third Parties. He advised that all existing programs will become compliant with the legislation within two years, and that new programs must comply immediately. He added that LAO is fully compliant with the legislation. He highlighted the list of LAO’s accomplishments. He reported that more FLS is being provided in non-designated FLS areas and that there is a significant increase in the number of new articling students who are bilingual. He reported on LAO’s attendance at the French language programs provided by MAG as well as the FLS “lunch and learn” sessions. The Board discussed inculcating FLS into every aspect of LAO’s core culture and planning processes.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the French Language Services Update.
9. Discretion - Guidelines and Implementation Strategy (approve)
- The President and CEO advised that, on the instructions of this Board, staff clarified the discretion criteria and consulted extensively with external stakeholders. The Director, Corporate Services Planning and Strategic Initiatives, presented the Report on Discretion – Guidelines. He reported that the consultation with the private bar has emphasized that LAO is not eliminating discretion, but in fact clarifying the guidelines, to ensure compliance with the Legal Aid Services Act. He advised that, going forward, budgets will be set for the most complex and costly cases. He reviewed the discretion decision appeal processes.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Discretion Guidelines.
- The Director, Corporate Services Planning and Strategic Initiatives, presented the Report on Discretion – Guidelines Implementation Strategy. The intention is that communications will begin in September, with implementation thereafter. The Director, Corporate Services Planning and Strategic Initiatives, reported on the communication strategic plan.
A motion was made and carried that the Board approve the Discretion Guidelines Implementation Strategy.
10. Strategic Planning Item (for discussion)
The President and CEO noted that the recent Mercer Report on Executive Compensation could facilitate discussion of succession planning. He noted that a comprehensive framework is required to clarify succession planning, not just for the President and CEO, but all levels of the organization. The Board agreed that succession planning will be considered at the Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Session in December, 2012.
A motion was made and carried that the meeting adjourn.