LAO Update: Fall 2017 edition

The second quarterly report, covering July to September 2017, provides an update on Legal Aid Ontario's latest access to justice initiatives

Message from the CEO

Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) second quarter was a busy one with a particular focus on our work with vulnerable communities.

In September, we released our three-year action plan for domestic violence clients. This comes after months of consultations that led us to a stronger understanding of how survivors are the experts in their own experience and have an important role to play in the development of solutions.

I strongly encourage you to read our blueprint for domestic violence as we move forward with projects aimed at enhancing services.

You may also have heard that the Clinic Committee of LAO’s Board of Directors, through its Dispute Resolution Process, has decided to withdraw funding from the African Canadian Legal Clinic. In the interest of transparency, we have posted the Clinic Committee decisions and supporting material on our website.

At LAO, we’re deeply committed to ensuring that the Black community is well-served—and this is why we’re working directly with members of the community to support the creation of  a new, independent, Black-focused and Black-led clinic that will be up and running within a year. In the meantime, in addition to the legal services that we already provide, we have a number of services available for members of the Black community.

We are also working with an advisory committee that plans to conduct consultation sessions across the province to hear directly from the Black community on how a future clinic can best meet the group’s legal needs.

We hosted a community meeting in September to hear from members of the Black community to ensure the best legal aid services are provided. As we move forward in the coming months, we will be sure to keep all of our stakeholders updated on how we will continue to serve this community.

On the financial front, we are very pleased with the Federal Government’s decision to provide LAO with an additional $7 million to ensure that refugee services continue uninterrupted this year.

In addition, the two increases in the Bank of Canada rate will significantly increase the revenue that LAO receives from the Law Foundation of Ontario. This will result in LAO having a balanced budget at the end of the fiscal year.



David Field
President & CEO
Legal Aid Ontario

Spotlight: Racialized Communities Strategy consultation underway

LAO began holding a series of in-person and online sessions in October and will be making its way across the province from now until December to talk with racialized communities about the legal services they need.

Projects and announcements from the last quarter

LAO launches pilot to expedite applications from Toronto South Detention Centre

Joint letter with the John Howard Society to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services regarding the cost of inmate telephone communications

Why did Legal Aid Ontario withdraw its funding from the African Canadian Legal Clinic?

Legal Aid Ontario hosts community meeting about legal services for Ontario's Black communities

LAO releases domestic violence strategy blueprint

Statement from Legal Aid Ontario President & CEO David Field about the African Canadian Legal Clinic

Legal aid services for members of the Black community

Legal Aid Ontario advisory committee on legal services to the Black community

LAO statement regarding the Dispute Resolution Process with African Canadian Legal Clinic

LAO releases racialized communities strategy ahead of consultations

Selected media

Legal Aid Ontario lends support to black youth facing suspension from school

CBC News – June 27, 2017
Legal Aid Ontario, the non-profit group of lawyers that specializes in representing low-income clients, is providing a major financial boost to a program designed to help black students who are in conflict with the education system.

Legal Aid Ontario considering suspension of immigration, refugee services

Amanda Jerome, The Lawyers Daily – July 10, 2017
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) officials are meeting with the federal government in a bid to boost funding for immigration and refugee services, which are in danger of being suspended.

Legal Aid Ontario defunds the African Canadian Legal Clinic over allegations of financial mismanagement

Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star – August 16, 2017
Legal Aid Ontario is defunding the African Canadian Legal Clinic. The decision affecting the legal aid clinic, which has served Toronto's Black community for over 20 years, was announced Wednesday afternoon by the five-member clinic committee of LAO's board of directors.


Client services

Intake, triage and support services

LAO offers intake, triage and support services to people applying for legal aid, existing legal aid clients and lawyers who provide legal services on behalf of legal aid.

Line chart: data available in the table below
Persons assisted for intake, triage and support 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
Phone: Tier 1 59,673 72,204 74,088 74,118 68,891 78,089 75,588 69,813
Phone: Tier 2 22,113 27,428 28,906 29,324 26,108 30,167 26,587 26,336
Phone: In-custody clients 8,381 8,244 7,180 8,236 7,419 8,992 8,773 8,919
Phone: Lawyer Service Centre 11,226 12,679 11,175 11,000 10,306 11,928 11,132 11,403
In-person: Court-based staff 27,834 28,619 31,145 31,169 25,555 27,304 20,907 18,373

Duty counsel services

Duty counsel are LAO staff and per diem lawyers in courthouses. They can give immediate legal assistance to low-income people who would otherwise be unrepresented and unassisted.

Criminal law services

Line chart: data available in the table below
Persons assisted by duty counsel - criminal law 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
Per Diem DC 34,277 36,618 30,744 37,383 32,748 35,215 30,116 39,126
Staff DC 68,874 78,968 69,831 78,976 72,275 99,422 93,836 84,437
Total 103,151 115,586 100,575 116,359 105,023 134,637 123,952 123,563

Family law services

Line chart: data available in the table below
Persons assisted by duty counsel - family law 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
Per Diem DC 21,924 22,669 20,284 18,864 17,711 20,527 15,118 19,148
Staff DC 14,684 17,674 13,416 16,248 17,858 19,068 15,096 14,684
Total 36,608 40,343 33,700 35,112 35,569 39,595 30,214 33,832

Representation by a private practice lawyer

Legal aid applicants who are financially eligible, and who are facing a serious legal matter covered by LAO, may be issued a certificate to cover the cost of a private practice lawyer.

A certificate is a voucher that a low-income person can take to one of more than 3,600 private practice lawyers across the province who accept legal aid clients. A certificate guarantees the lawyer payment for a certain number of hours if they accept the case.

Line chart: data available in the table below
Certificates issued by area of law 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
Criminal Law 15,706 17,098 16,982 16,415 15,065 15,386 14,520 14,492
Family Law 7,269 8,274 8,483 7,535 6,841 7,452 7,200 7,028
Immigration and Refugee Law 2,424 2,869 2,753 3,178 3,276 3,451 3,259 3,306
Other[1] 1,240 1,344 1,369 1,372 1,235 1,316 1,314 1,365
Total Certificates Issued 26,639 29,585 29,587 28,500 26,417 27,605 26,293 26,191

[1] Other is a category that represents all other legal matters covered by LAO certificates, such as: CCB matters, prison law matters and matters before civil tribunal.

Performance measures

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) name Measurement frequency Last measured Target Previous year (2016/17) Current value
% of same day decisions for certificates Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 75.6% 80.0%
% of area office appeals heard within 3 days Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 51.6% 47.5%
Acceptance rate for certificate applications Quarterly Q1 2017/18 87% 87.7% 82.6%
% of calls answered within 3 minutes (L1) Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 83.0% 52.0%
% of calls answered within 3 minutes (LSC) Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 69.0% 74.0%
% of calls answered within 3 minutes (Worklist) Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 88.0% 62.0%
% of calls answered within 20 minutes (L2) Quarterly Q1 2017/18 80% 79.0% 64.0%
Overall client satisfaction - % of positive responses (in-person) Annual Q3 2016/17 80% 93.0% 93.0%
Number of Ontarians financially eligible for LAO's services Annual Q1 2017/18 Maintain 1,540,000 1,540,000
Overall lawyer satisfaction - % of positive responses Annual Q3 2016/17 60% 56.0% 56.0%

Statement of operations

Revenue Apr. 1, 2016 - Sept. 30, 2016 ($M) Apr. 1, 2017 - Sept. 30, 2017 ($M)
Government Funding $202.8M $207.3M
Law Foundation $12.1M $21.0M
Other Revenue $6.4M $6.9M
Total revenue $221.3M $235.1M
Core Business Expenses
Certificate Costs $112.2M $115.9M
Client Service Offices $11.4M $10.4M
Clinic Program $46.4M $45.2M
Duty Counsel Program $28.3M $27.0M
Service Innovation $1.0M $1.1M
Total Core Business Expenses $199.3M $199.4M
Operating Expenses
Service Provider Support $3.4M $3.1M
Administrative Expenses $19.6M $17.0M
Other Expenditures $4.0M $3.8M
Program Support $14.8M $13.0M
Total Operating Expenses $41.8M $37.0M
Total expenditures $241.1M $236.4M
Surplus / (deficit) before other corporate expenditures / savings ($19.8M) ($1.3M)

Totals may not add due to rounding