Public proceedings of the Board

Meeting of the Board of Directors on April 26, 2017


Board members present

John McCamus (Chair), Christa Freiler (by teleconference), John Liston (by teleconference), James McNee, Derry Millar (by teleconference), Michel Robillard (by teleconference), James Yakimovich (by teleconference), Ann Marie Yantz (by teleconference), David Field (CEO/Ex Officio)

Staff present

Mary-Ann Cocchetto, Vince Correia, Leon Damonze, Jawad Kassab, Karl Martineau, David McKillop, Stephanie Mealing, Vicki Moretti, Kathleen Murphy, Michelle Séguin, Harriett Simmons

1. Meeting agenda

The Chair suggested reversing the order of agenda items to deal with the Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provincial lease renewal issue first. Subject to that amendment, the Agenda was adopted.

2. Conflict of interest

A Board member noted the Offer to Lease proposes that, in the event of a conflict, the matter will be referred for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). He advised that he is on the roster at ADR chambers. Board members agreed that this does not constitute a conflict of interest in this situation.

3. Board Reports

3.1 LAO’s provincial head office lease renewal

The Board discussed LAO’s provincial head office lease renewal.

3.2 The future of the refugee and immigration program

The President and CEO reported:

  • the cost of the Refugee and Immigration Program is forecasted at $34M and it must be reduced to $19M in order for LAO to balance its budget
  • LAO has requested support from both the federal and provincial governments, and that without immediate additional funding, LAO will need to reduce or suspend services to a very vulnerable client group
  • the situation is urgent and should these changes be necessary, options must be considered and stakeholders must be advised and consulted at the earliest opportunity
  • the Deloitte Review Report references LAO’s ability to live within its envelope in the Refugee Program


The Board approved next steps to bring refugee and immigration services in line with available funding, which should include the following:

  • ongoing management conversations with the federal and provincial governments for additional funding (DOJ, IRCC, MAG)
  • stakeholder engagement:
    • if the DOJ provides no additional funding, stakeholder briefings beginning mid-May to discuss the service options to the refugee and immigration program to fit the program within a $19M funding envelope
    • if the DOJ provides additional ‘bridge’ funding, consultations to involve stakeholders in program changes for the longer term
  • cost reduction options—management to develop the options as directed by the Board together with stakeholder input and report back to the Board after consultations and interactions with the government for further direction.