Public proceedings of the Board

Meeting of the Board of Directors on February 25, 2016


Board members present

John McCamus (Chair), Nancy Cooper, Christa Freiler, John Liston, James McNee, Derry Millar, Michel Robillard, James Yakimovich, David Field (CEO/Ex Officio)


Sue McCaffrey, Stephanie Mealing.

1. Meeting agenda

The meeting agenda was approved.

2. Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest was identified.

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

The President and CEO reported on the following:

3.1 Recent interaction with stakeholder groups

He met with:

  • the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid (ASLA), a coalition of LAO stakeholder groups in January 2016
  • representatives from the Advocates Society, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario, and the Chair of the Human Rights Commission.

3.2 Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada

LAO will host the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada (ALAP) annual general meeting in September 2016. The theme is Aboriginal Issues. LAO’s policy division is currently researching Aboriginal locations for the meeting. Québec is scheduled to host in 2017.

3.3 Representations to federal government

LAO has formally responded to the federal government’s call for ideas to enhance access to justice. LAO’s CEO and Acting Director General, Policy and Strategic Research spoke to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs about causes for delays in the justice system in general, and in criminal trials specifically. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association and Association of Chiefs of Police also spoke.

Other provinces and territories are facing significant cuts to their legal aid budgets, resulting in increased financial challenges. LAO will firmly support the federal government on legal aid issues and encourage a major financial investment in the justice system. Improvements are also urgently needed in technology and the timely provision of disclosure.

3.4 Staff meetings

He has been meeting with staff across the organization. He has found them to be positive, dedicated and more than willing to share their ideas. LAO is very proud of its workforce.

3.5 Clinics

There have been complications in potential modernization of poverty law clinics in Toronto. Numerous clinics are working very well together, and clinic Boards are cooperating well. The Ottawa amalgamation is ongoing.

3.6 Financial eligibility funding increase

The provincial government approved a financial eligibility funding increase for 2017, as announced in a previous budget. Going forward, the government will issue all agencies a mandate letter.

The meeting adjourned until the following day.