Community legal aid clinics

Additional information on LAO funding formula based on Statistics Canada data

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. How LAO analyzed and calculated 2015/16 allocations for clinics with the fewest resourcs per low-income person
  4. How LAO analyzed and calculated 2015/16 funding allocations for specialty and ethno-linguistic clinics

1. Introduction

This briefing note summarizes LAOs analysis and decisions on the distribution of financial eligibility funding to clinics that, historically, have the fewest resources per low-income person.

This is one of three briefing notes that provide details on clinic financial eligibility funding. Please read it in conjunction with:

2. Background

On February 6th, 2015, the LAO Board decided to allocate the new financial eligibility funding in accordance with the following percentages:

Service area

Percent allocated

2014/15
$M

2015/16
$M

2016/17
$M

Certificates 65% 4.2 20.5 31.7
Clinics 20% 1.3 6.3 9.8
Duty counsel and staff services 5% 0.3 1.6 2.4
Administration 10% 0.6 3.2 4.9
Total 100% 6.4 31.5 48.8

The board further decided to distribute the third year (2016/17) of clinic financial eligibility funding as follows:

 

Third year funding
2016/17
$M

Clinics with the fewest resources per low-income person $3.9M
Provincial fund $2.4M
Specialty clinics $2.0M
Ethno-linguistic clinics $1.0M
SLASS $0.5M
Total $9.8M

The LAO Board subsequently made two decisions that affected clinic and SLASS financial eligibility funding:

First, the board decided to increase SLASS funding to $700,000 in order to account to ensure an equal allocation to the provinces seven student legal aid societies. This decision increased the total amount of clinic/SLASS funding from $9.8M to $10M in 2016/17.

More importantly, the board decided that LAO was able to accelerate clinic financial eligibility funding. This meant that LAO is able to distribute $10M in clinic/SLASS financial eligibility funding in 2015/16, one year ahead of LAOs original schedule.

Finally, LAO has been advised by the provincial government that it will be receiving an additional $67M in funding to expand financial eligibility in 2017/18. LAO has been further advised that its financial eligibility funding in 2017/18 may be larger than its 2016/17 allocation. LAO has not decided how year four funding will be allocated, other than to note that the base funding that a clinic received in earlier years will be maintained.

3. How LAO analyzed and calculated 2015/16 allocations for clinics with teh fewest resourcs per low-income person

As a result of the decisions noted above, LAO can distribute up to $3.9M for clinics with the fewest resources per low-income person in 2015/16.

In March, 2015, LAO made an announcement on the first year of clinic law financial eligibility funding, saying that LAO would provide $4.2M in additional annual clinic law funding in 2014/15 including $2.4 million to clinics with the fewest resources per low income person. LAO allocated this $2.4M in 2014/15 based on the best available low-income catchment populations.

LAO subsequently obtained the 2012 T1 Family File (T1FF) statistics distributed by clinic catchments area. This file was compiled by Statistics Canada and is based on the following:

  • Mapping coordinates for each clinic catchment area provided by LAO and adjusted by Statistics Canada to align with municipal boundaries where appropriate
  • Information from 2012 individual tax files as created by Statistics Canada

LAO is using this updated information to distribute the 2015/16 allocations for clinics with the fewest resources per low-income person.

Before-tax low-income populations as defined by Statistics Canadas Low Income Measure (LIM) and using counts from the T1FF were used for the following reasons:

  • This was the most recent income information available from Statistics Canada
  • This was the measure that most closely aligned with LAOs new regulation determining financial eligibility for all legal aid services
  • The regulated test was based on gross income for an individual

It is important to note that low income population are only used to determine which clinics will receive funding from the portion of clinic financial eligibility funding set aside for those with the fewest resources per low-income person. The key factor for the distribution of these funds is the proportion of the Ontario low-income persons in each catchment area.

LAO identified clinics with the fewest resources per low income person as general service clinics with a low-income population of more than 30,000 that were receiving less than $20.15 per low-income person.

Then LAO calculated an amount to be allocated to each identified general service clinic, taking into consideration the size of its low income population and the amount of funding per low income person in its catchment area. LAO followed these basic steps to determine how much each of the identified clinics would receive:

Amount required for the clinic to meet provincial average divided by amount required for all identified clinics to meet provincial average equals additional funding provided to identified clinic divided by total additional funding available for all identified clinics

The following is the exact calculation:

Funding formula
  • Fnewi - the new funding amount for a clinic identified as one of the general service clinics with the fewest resources
  • LIMavg the overall LAO general service clinic funding per low income person ($20.15)
  • LIMi the LAO funding per low income person for a specific clinic (total clinic funding divided by low income population in the clinics catchment area)
  • PLIM i - the low income population in the clinics catchment area

A minimum allocation of $75,000 was then applied, as less than $75,000 would not be sufficient to fund an additional FTE to provide additional client services.

As a last adjustment, it was determined that a clinic would receive the minimum amount identified in the 2014/15 allocation.

List of all general service clinics.

4. How LAO analyzed and calculated 2015/16 funding allocations for specialty and ethno-linguistic clinics

LAOs Board has approved distribution of up to $2.0M for specialty clinic services and up to $1.0M for ethno-linguistic clinics in 2015/16.

In 2014/15the first year of clinic financial eligibility funding—LAO distributed $86,000 to each specialty and ethno-linguistic clinic.

In 2015/16, LAO will increase the allocation to each specialty and ethno-linguistic clinic to $100,000 per clinic. LAO believed this sum better reflects the cost for these clinics to retain an additional lawyer, should they choose to do so (though LAO will not require specialty or ethno-linguistic clinics to hire a lawyer with these funds).

List of specialty and ethno-linguistic clinics.

LAOs allocation of $100,000 per clinic does not spend the entire 2015/16 allocation for either specialty or ethno-linguistic clinics. As a result, there is approximately $600,000 in unallocated funds for specialty clinic services and $300,000 in unallocated funds for ethno-linguistic clinics.

LAO has not made any decisions on allocating these funds other than that it intends to use a portion of the specialty clinic funding to expand or promote employment law and/or immigration law services. There are many potential options for spending/allocating some or all of these funds. LAO will work with the ACLCO and clinics to develop a process for distributing these resources.

LAOs Details on clinic financial eligibility expansion 2015/16 provides a further discussion of this issue.