Public proceedings of the Board

Meeting of the Board of Directors on June 22, 2017


Board members present

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


Janet Budgell, Mary-Ann Cocchetto, Stephanie Mealing

1. Meeting agenda

The meeting agenda was adopted.

2. Conflict of interest

The Chair reported that on June 20, 2017, he was informed that Board member, Timothy J. Murphy is co-chairing the current Provincial Liberal Party Re‑election campaign, as he had done during the last Provincial election. He advised that on the previous occasion, LAO sought the advice of the Provincial Conflict of Interest (COI) Commissioner (The Honourable Sidney B. Linden). He reported that the COI Commissioner concluded that, in his view, the political activity contemplated in this situation would be precluded under the Public Service of Ontario Act and therefore, Tim Murphy has taken a leave of absence from the LAO Board effective June 20, 2017, until after the Provincial election. No other conflict of interest was identified.

3. President and CEO’s Report

The president and CEO reported on the following:

3.1 Recent Stakeholder Speaking Engagements

  • The President and CEO has been meeting with stakeholder groups about the Deloitte Report and LAO’s financial pressures. He met with the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid (ASLA), which includes the:
    • Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA)
    • Federation of Law Associations (FOLA)
    • Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ACLCO)
    • Refugee Lawyers’ Association (RLO)
    • Law Society of Upper Canada
    • Advocates’ Society
    • Ontario Bar Association
    • Mental Health Legal Committee
    • Family Lawyers’ Association (FLO)
  • discussions about criminal legal aid services with the CLA at a Town Hall session
  • he attended the ACLCO Annual General Meeting
  • the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada (ALAPC) conference in St. Johns, Newfoundland. He noted that:
    • this conference provided an opportunity to discuss various issues of common interest including financial pressures, changes in service delivery models and panel management ideas
    • there is an opportunity for ALAPC to make presentations to the federal government as a national association
    • the presentation that LAO made on statistics and research could be useful for all Canadian legal aid associations
    • the conference included a presentation by Department of Justice staff promoting the provision of and training in French language services for lawyers
  • the President and CEO met with the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, who expressed concern about LAO’s challenges and proposals for its Refugee program
  • he reported, as well that he will be attending the RLO Annual Conference next week to reaffirm LAO’s continued engagement and commitment to legal services for refugees
  • the President and CEO reported on the announcements of LAO’s two education grants of $100,000 each to support black students experiencing challenges in the education system

3.2 Staff Engagement

The President and CEO reported that staff have participated in:

  • National Aboriginal Day events hosted by LAO
  • Pride event hosted by LAO`s Diversity and Inclusion Group
  • A march in Toronto to support World Refugee Day

3.3 Clinics

The President and CEO reported on the Clinic Information Management System (CIMS) roll-out. He reported that:

  • three clinics initially piloted the testing of the system
  • the information received from CIMS will be helpful in determining the nature of the services provided by clinics
  • letters of thanks will go out to the ACLCO and the three pilot site clinics
  • after implementation, a full report will be provided

3.4 Technology

The President and CEO reported that Skype for Business has been rolled out to all staff. Use of this platform will reduce travel costs.

3.5 Managing Executive Vacancies

The President and CEO reported that:

  • the former Vice-President, Southwest Region and Speciality Clinics, was the successful candidate for the position of Vice-President and General Counsel
  • the responsibilities for management of the Southwest Region and Speciality Clinics will be divided between the other two Regional Vice-Presidents

3.6 Proactive Disclosure of CEO’s Expenses

The President and CEO reported on expenses totalling $2,505.92 relating to travel and management events. The details are posted on LAO’s external website.

3.7 Senior Counsel Report

The President and CEO reported that:

  • the Senior Counsel Report has been removed from this meeting agenda pending the receipt of additional information and will be presented to the next meeting of the Board
  • the report will provide detail with respect to senior counsel’s commitment to servicing clients who have difficulty retaining private counsel (i.e. those with mental health issues, etc.) and providing mentoring services and support for junior members of the bar

3.8 Supplementary Reports

The President and CEO highlighted the supplementary reports, as follows:

  • Litigation Report
  • LAO in the Media Report
  • Alternative Fee Arrangement Report
  • Submissions for the Expert Panel on the New Crown Bail Policy
  • Quarterly Workforce Report

3.9 Miscellaneous

The President and CEO reported that the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) Interim Report on Legal Aid will be presented to Convocation next week. He noted that this report describes the process being utilized by the LSUC, with no conclusions or recommendations being provided at this time.


The Board:

  • received the President and CEO’s Report
  • adjourned the meeting to be reconvened at 9:00 a.m. Friday, June 23, 2017.