Public proceedings of the Board

Meeting of the Board of Directors on October 2, 2014


Board members present

John McCamus (Chair); Aly Alibhai; Nancy Cooper; James McNee; Derry Millar; Tim Murphy; James Yakimovich; Robert Ward (CEO/Ex Officio)


Sue McCaffrey; Stephanie Mealing

1. Meeting agenda

The meeting agenda was adopted.

2. Disclosure of conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest were identified.

3. President and CEO’s report (first instalment)

3.1 2014 mandate letter from Premier to Attorney General

The President and CEO noted the mandate letter, dated September 25, 2014, specifically that:

  • this is the first time such a letter has been made public, and is a signal of the government’s commitment to more openness and transparency
  • the letter emphasizes leadership from the centre, adoption of a collaborative approach, fiscal prudence, etc.; it also identifies government priorities also pertinent to LAO, such as fairness, access to justice and expanding legal aid support for society’s most vulnerable
  • the government’s priority to build stronger relationships with First Nations and the justice system provides LAO with opportunities to build on its Aboriginal Justice Strategy

3.2 Other business

The President and CEO also reported that:

  • references to this letter will be included in the LAO Business Plan
  • eligibility improvements coupled with LAO’s financial stability are creating significant improvements in client service, which would not have been possible in a deficit position
  • LAO is in a position to review coverage issues in the criminal program, Aboriginal and mental health initiatives and other opportunities in a cost-effective way
  • major initiatives currently being implemented are on target
  • some stakeholders and specifically clinic representatives have been meeting with the Premier’s office and the Attorney General’s office [no major issues of concern have arisen since the mid-summer CEO report]
  • union negotiations have been ongoing over the summer
  • LAO will report to the Board how it plans to transform its test case program
  • the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) may become part of this program; LAO has typically supported wrongly convicted persons in Ontario, and there is an effort underway to help stabilize the work of AIDWYC
  • LAO’s cash position is secure and there is no concern about a deficit
  • certificate numbers are down
  • there is an increase in family law services, but by alternative methods
  • while clinic modernization is moving forward, the initiative is becoming more contentious. Some stakeholders appear to be confused about access points, and think the proposed initiatives will decrease the number of access points; the opposite is true—the proposed initiatives will increase the number of access points
  • a directive has gone out to the regions suggesting that they provide support for clinics that are moving ahead with modernization
  • new sections in the President and CEO Report include summaries of Executive Management Committee (EMC) decisions, correspondence and media