Public proceedings of the Board
Meeting of the Board of Directors on April 3, 2014
Board members present
John McCamus (Chair); Aly Alibhai; Nancy Cooper; Michelle Haigh; James McNee; Derry Millar; 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)
The President and CEO reported the following:
3.1 Compensation increases
The new compensation and pension structure for staff was rolled out, and minor anomalies resolved. It has been well received. LAO’s compensation structure is now fairer and more closely aligned with the ministry’s.
3.2 Reinstatement to LAO’s budget
The ministry’s $3 million reduction from the transfer payment in 2013/14 will be reinstated. MAG’s Assistant Deputy Attorney General was instrumental in securing this reinstatement. As a result, LAO’s projected deficit will be reduced from $8 million to $5 million. Funding stability will positively impact the continued momentum of clinic transformation. Almost all clinics recognize the need for change and are involved in some form of transformation effort, as highlighted in the mandate of clinic change management—“serve more clients by being more efficient.”
3.3 Federal funding
The Department of Justice has confirmed that the federal government has renewed funding for Immigration and Refugee matters for an additional three-year period.
3.4 LAO’s public business plan
LAO has submitted the public version of its business plan to MAG.
3.5 Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFA)
AFAs will help to reduce billing irritants. Law firms and sole practitioners throughout the province have responded positively to AFAs. LAO has entered into an AFA contract with a large criminal law services firm. Discussions and negotiations with others are ongoing. Some practitioners have indicated that they have no billing or cash flow issues that would make an AFA agreement of interest.
3.6 LAO senior counsel
Positions were posted internally for senior counsel candidates in the regions. Interviews are underway. LAO will now post externally for unfilled positions.
3.7 Mental Health Strategy
Extensive public communications about the Mental Health Strategy implementation has been very well received. Credit is due to the excellent work of LAO’s mental health policy counsel.
In future, LAO may be able to offer improved access to legal services for clients appearing before the Ontario Review Board and Consent and Capacity Board. Also, LAO will explore, with staff, the ministry and the special adviser to the CEO, the possibility of eliminating the merit test to provide broad-based mental health services to clients.