Clinic compensation increase for 2015/16

Questions & answers

Q. What is the compensation funding for clinics for 2015/16?

Two per cent: one per cent general compensation funding increase plus one per cent pay equity adjustment.

Clinics not pay equity compliant will receive a two per cent increase in compensation funding in two components – one per cent for compensation effective April 1, 2015 plus one per cent as a pay equity funding adjustment effective January 1, 2016. LAO has been providing 2015 pay equity adjustments in clinics’ regular monthly deposits.

Q. What happens to clinics that are pay equity compliant?

They will get a two per cent compensation funding increase effective April 1, 2015. Consistent with the increase provided to clinics that are not pay equity compliant.

Q. Are any clinics not eligible for compensation funding increases?

Clinics in the dispute resolution process are not eligible for the one per cent compensation increase. They will receive the one per cent pay equity funding adjustment.

Q. Did LAO receive specific compensation funding for clinic compensation for 2015/16?

No. The compensation increases that LAO provides to clinics for 2015/16 are made possible through savings and efficiencies LAO has found in all parts of its programming and administration.

Q. Can clinics use savings achieved from staff turnover to solve compensation related pressures?

Yes. Effective April 1, 2013, LAO stopped reducing base compensation funding when, as a result of staff turnover, a new employee’s salary is lower than the salary of the departing incumbent. If hiring a new employee results in savings, clinics can allocate the annual base compensation funding saving achieved to address other compensation-related pressures.

Fifty-five clinics experienced at least one staff turnover from January 1, 2014 to August 2015. Over the last twenty months, there were over 130 staff turnovers in the clinic system. Therefore, these clinics should have base compensation funding savings.

Q. How can annual base compensation funding savings be used to address compensation-related funding pressures?

If an individual with an annual salary of $100,000 is replaced with a staff at an annual salary of $60,000, there is a $40,000 savings in the annual base compensation budget. This can be used for annual increase adjustments for staff as the Board determines.

Q. What happens to one-time in-year compensation savings?

One-time in-year savings that are surplus at the end of the fiscal year would be returned to LAO as part of the year-end funding surplus unless the clinic receives approval from the LAO Regional Vice-President for retaining the funds for a special purpose.

Q. In the future, what options do clinic boards have for managing their compensation systems?

They can use the new clinic compensation funding framework, which allows clinics to keep compensation savings. This provides them with the flexibility and the means to manage their compensation processes and levels.

Q. How do clinic salaries compare with Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)’s salaries?

The average and median salaries differential of LAO and clinic staff for comparable positions in 2014/15 were as follows:

  • average salary for a Clinic Executive Director (ED) is $134,100 compared to a LAO Director position, which is on average, $131,200;
  • average salary for clinic lawyer positions is $90,900 compared to LAO staff lawyer and senior counsel specialist positions, which average $90,300.
  • average salary for office manager positions in the clinic system is $67,700, which is $6,800 higher than LAO S4 positions (which includes legal aid workers, executive assistants and financial analysts), and average at $60,900
  • average salary for clinic Community Legal Workers (CLWs) is $74,400 compared to LAO SPG1(which includes paralegal positions), which average $73,100;
  • average salary for clinic support staff positions is $52,400, which is $4,200 higher than the LAO administrative position, which averages at $48,200.

Q. Over the last six years, how have clinics compared against annual average inflation?

As the chart below demonstrates, clinic compensation and pay equity funding exceeded the inflation rate annually within this timeframe.

Annual Inflation Rate (based on Statistics Canada's CPI)
2009 0.31%
2010 1.78%
2011 2.91%
2012 1.52%
2013 0.94%
2014 1.91%
2015 1.0% at May 2015
Changes to clinic compensation and pay equity funding
2009/10 3.75%
2010/11 5.00%
2011/12 5.00%
2012/13 3.00%
2013/14 2.00%
2014/15 2.00%
2015/16 2.00%

Q. Over the past four years, how have clinics compared with wage settlements of other broader public sector organizations?

Based on provincial government statistics, base wage settlements in the broader public sector over the past four years were as follows:

2011 2012 2013 2014
1.6% 1.3% 0.4% 1.4%

From January to May 2015, the Broader Public Sector combined average annual base wage increase was reported at 1.6%.

Q. How do other public sector organizations fund compensation increases?

Most publicly funded organizations are required to fund compensation increases within their existing allocations, through administrative savings or within the funds they receive in their annual transfer payment. LAO knows of no publicly funded organizations that receive specific funding increases for compensation.

Q. Does the new clinic compensation funding framework change the way clinics can allocate compensation for their staff?

No. Clinic boards can and always have been able to determine how they will allocate base compensation funding increases to meet their pay equity and organizational needs.

Q. Why did LAO implement a new clinic compensation funding framework effective April 1, 2013?

The goals of the clinic compensation funding framework were to fund clinics in a manner consistent with public sector values and norms, and to recognize that clinic boards are responsible and accountable for establishing their own compensation systems.

Q. In light of the fact that some staff have reached the compensation funding maximums established by LAO through the clinic compensation funding framework, will LAO increase the compensation funding maximums for clinic positions?

Yes, LAO will maintain equity between LAO maximum salary range and the maximum funding for comparable clinic positions. In 2014/15 and again in 2015/16, LAO increased the maximum for clinic positions to match the new LAO maximums.

Q. Is funding capped for any positions?

Yes. Funding is capped at the new maximum for each of the five comparable positions.

Q. In 2014, LAO increased the bottom of its salary range for lawyers from $62,000 to $76,000. Will LAO provide additional funding to clinics to ensure that the minimum amount paid to clinic lawyers is $76,000?

The clinic compensation funding framework allows clinics to keep compensation savings and therefore clinics have the tools to resolve these compensation-related pressures. With the establishment of the compensation funding framework, LAO no longer pays clinics according to salary grids or ranges. LAO no longer requires clinics to return base funding savings and expects clinics to make their own compensation decisions.