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.
President & CEO
Legal Aid Ontario
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.
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.
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.
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.
The high cost of calling home from jail
– September 2017
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.
Call Centre – Tier 1
Agents in Tier 1 of LAO’s call centre can help assess service needs and provide information about qualifying for legal aid. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to: triage, making referrals, performing status checks and updating client profiles.
Call Centre – Tier 2
Tier 2 agents conduct an in-depth analysis of a client’s legal needs, financial situation and case details to determine eligibility for legal aid services. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to: processing applications, issuing certificates, making referrals, and providing enhanced public legal information.
Call Centre – In-custody
LAO also offers a service dedicated to helping people who are incarcerated across the province. Staff take calls directly from inmates to determine legal aid eligibility, process applications and issue certificates as well as conduct status checks on submitted applications.
Call Centre – Lawyers
Lawyers who do legal aid work can contact the call centre for information, including but not limited to: tariff, billing, account status and technical support. This group serves as a first point of contact for most lawyers’ enquiries.
Legal aid workers do their jobs alongside duty counsel and staff lawyers in courthouses and legal aid offices. They can help clients with in-person certificate applications, contacting sureties and adjourning matters in first appearance court.
|Persons assisted for intake, triage and support||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|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 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.
|Persons assisted by duty counsel - criminal law||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|Per Diem DC||34,277||36,618||30,744||37,383||32,748||35,215||30,116||39,126|
|Persons assisted by duty counsel - family law||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|Per Diem DC||21,924||22,669||20,284||18,864||17,711||20,527||15,118||19,148|
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.
|Certificates issued by area of law||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|Immigration and Refugee Law||2,424||2,869||2,753||3,178||3,276||3,451||3,259||3,306|
|Total Certificates Issued||26,639||29,585||29,587||28,500||26,417||27,605||26,293||26,191|
 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.
|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%|
|Revenue||Apr. 1, 2016 - Sept. 30, 2016 ($M)||Apr. 1, 2017 - Sept. 30, 2017 ($M)|
|Core Business Expenses|
|Client Service Offices||$11.4M||$10.4M|
|Duty Counsel Program||$28.3M||$27.0M|
|Total Core Business Expenses||$199.3M||$199.4M|
|Service Provider Support||$3.4M||$3.1M|
|Total Operating Expenses||$41.8M||$37.0M|
|Surplus / (deficit) before other corporate expenditures / savings||($19.8M)||($1.3M)|
Totals may not add due to rounding