Publications & Resources
Meeting of the Board of Directors on December 6, 2012
Board Members Present:
John McCamus (Chair); Aly Alibhai; Nancy Cooper; Michelle Haigh; John Liston; James McNee; Derry Millar; James Yakimovich; Robert W. Ward, (CEO/Ex Officio)
Sue McCaffrey; Stephanie Mealing; Vicki Moretti; Michelle Séguin
1. Meeting Agenda
The agenda was approved.
2. Conflict of Interest
No conflict of interest was identified.
3. President & CEO Report (Verbal)
The President and CEO reported as follows:
- Professor Patrick Monahan has been appointed Deputy Attorney General (DAG). He spoke at a recent MAG/agency event and commented on LAO in positive terms.
- The MAG/agency events take place twice annually and provide an opportunity for the Ministry’s agencies and tribunals to come together, discuss topical issues and share best practices.
- LAO staff are working on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MAG and LAO, however, so far MAG has been reluctant to engage in the process.
- Ali Arlani has been appointed the new Assistant Deputy Attorney General (ADAG). He is experienced and supportive of LAO’s strategic direction.
- The Board discussed the new DAG’s history and knowledge of LAO.
- LAO’s financial position has improved significantly. Staff are forecasting a small surplus, which will be applied toward the accumulated deficit.
- The modernization model is showing signs of success – certificate numbers have declined and duty counsel and family mediation services have increased.
- LAO still has outbound liabilities projected in the range of $21M to $27M. An opportunity exists to address the deficit in smaller quantums in the future.
- A Board member noted that LAO has demonstrated that transformation is working successfully in every area where it has been applied. He suggested that there are more areas where savings can be realized and that LAO could propose to MAG that all transformation savings be applied to increasing eligibility criteria.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Verbal Report of the President and CEO.
4. Refugee Reform
- The President and CEO reported on the ongoing effort to address stakeholders’ concerns regarding reforms to refugee law service delivery. He advised that the Chair has engaged in consultation with the Board Advisory Committee on Immigration and Refugee Law. He reported that maintaining the current refugee law delivery model would cost $21M whereas the federal government contributes $7 million, and he noted that the current level of federal funding is not guaranteed in future years.
- The Regional Vice-President for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Region presented the Refugee Law Services Transformation Report. She reported that the new legislation will take effect December 15, 2012. She noted that increased pressure will be created due to shorter application time frames and new appeal processes. She advised that a modernized service delivery model will target and serve individual client needs, and will include the use of Summary Legal Advice, Enhanced Duty Counsel, a staff office, paralegals, increased technology, etc. She reported on the thorough consultation with refugee law service providers, social service agencies and other stakeholders that took place between October 22 and December 6, 2012. She reported that the information and suggestions gathered are being analyzed to assist in the creation of a new service delivery model proposal for approval by the LAO Board and subsequent presentation to stakeholders in the first quarter of 2013. She highlighted some of the comments and suggestions made by members of the refugee bar, including the lack of capacity and financial resources in the clinic system to do refugee work, the need for increased panel management and the need to provide funding for test case litigation.
- The President and CEO noted the refugee program is a federal responsibility and that the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada (ALAPCA) may be able to recommend potential initiatives from a national perspective.
- The Regional Vice-President, GTA Region reported that merit assessments are currently being conducted on a case-by-case basis and that the intake process has been amended in order to meet shorter timelines. She reported on next steps, i.e., incorporating some of the ideas put forward in the consultation process and creating an action plan for presentation to the Board of Directors in February 2013.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Refugee Law Services Transformation Report.
5. Potential Alternative Funding Sources (receive)
- The President and CEO presented the Report on Potential Funding Instruments and Revenue Sources. He highlighted some of the examples of funding sources set out in the report. He noted that, as a provincial agency, LAO is precluded from obtaining charitable status. However, there are some ideas that bear further investigation, i.e., expansion of partnerships and working collaboratively with other agencies, whereby clients could be moved out of the legal system and into more appropriate venues. He advised that legal aid funding models are substantially the same throughout the country, i.e., provincial government transfer payments and Law Foundation funding. The President and CEO suggested that LAO may have the ability to obtain one-time funding projects or capital expenditures, i.e., grants, etc.
- The Board discussed the benefits of pre-paid legal insurance as well as “crowd funding”, an internet-based vehicle to fund public interest litigation.
- The Board discussed possible opportunities to obtain new federal funding for areas in need of particular attention, e.g., a national mental health justice strategy.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Report on Potential Alternative Funding Sources.
6. Clinic Compensation
- The President and CEO reported that consultation with the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ALCLO) regarding the Clinic Compensation Framework is on-going. He advised that, under the proposed framework, the clinics will have a pay range and maximums that are viable and will be tied to LAO levels. He noted that under the current proposal, the clinic staff will have received a pay increase in excess of 17% over the last four years, a much higher rate than the public sector more generally.
- The Vice-President and CAO presented the Clinic Compensation Framework Discussion Paper. She reported that $1.1M remains to be allocated, representing 2% to base salary plus 1% pay equity. She noted the proposal to offer another 1% pay equity payment in 2013. She advised that the proposed compensation framework would align a maximum funding grid for each position to LAO positions, except in the lawyer salary range, where maximum funding for clinic lawyers of $115,000 exceeds LAO’s range of $107,000. She advised that clinic lawyer positions at the maximum level would not receive an increase but the funds would remain within the clinic system.
- The President and CEO indicated that while some clinics have indicated that they would prefer that LAO set compensation levels, the new regime will require clinic Boards to assume this responsibility. He indicated that upon receipt of the ACLCO’s submissions, LAO will finalize the framework and then will deploy the compensation increases consistent with the new framework.
A motion was made and carried that the Board receive the Draft Clinic Compensation Funding Framework Discussion Paper.