LAO Update: Summer 2017 Edition
Published: September 30, 2017
Message from the CEO
This completely revamped quarterly report is meant to be a way to help keep all of Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) justice partners in the loop about some of our major initiatives and to also provide a snapshot look at our service levels and financial health.
In our first quarter, LAO received the review performed by Deloitte for the Ministry of the Attorney General. For those of you who have had questions or concerns about our plan to address our deficit, this review provides an independent look at how we plan to balance our budget. I acknowledge that there continue to be outside challenges, but I am confident in the progress that the organization has already made in our budget plan—and we fully intend to keep you informed of the progress made through these quarterly reports. Though at the end of the first quarter LAO shows a deficit, I am confident that LAO will be in a sound financial position by year end.
Beyond providing service data and financial updates that you’ve requested, we also plan to keep you up-to-date on activities, policies or events that we think might be of interest to you.
As CEO, I’m committed to enhancing transparency and further engaging you to ensure that we can work together to provide our clients the access to justice that they deserve.
I’m inviting you to contact us to let us know what kind of data, news or information you’d like to see in future quarterly reports. Please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think about our first quarterly report and what you’d like to find out more about.
President & CEO
Legal Aid Ontario
Upcoming: Racialized Communities Strategy consultation
LAO will be holding a series of in-person and online sessions this fall to talk about some of the issues faced by racialized communities when it comes to getting the legal services they need.
Ahead of those meetings, LAO is making its consultation paper available as a starting point for discussion.
Projects and announcements from the last quarter
- Congratulations to Legal Aid Ontario staff appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice
- Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is extremely proud of the four staff lawyers appointed as justices of the peace, and the work they have done within this organization.
- Legal Aid Ontario offers funding to two community organizations to support Black youth
- LAO is providing $100,000 of funding to a project headed by two organizations to provide services to Black students facing suspension or expulsion hearings.
- Community Legal Clinic of York Region to open satellite office in Vaughan
- The Community Legal Clinic of York Region (CLCYR) and the Vaughan Community Health Centre (VCHC) have opened a new office to provide legal aid services to low-income Ontarians in the Vaughan area. This new satellite office, co-located with the Vaughan Community Health Centre, offers legal consultation to visitors and patients of the VCHC every Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- LAO receives report from Deloitte
- Over the past four months Deloitte thoroughly examined LAO’s work and interviewed staff and stakeholders. Their review of our work affirmed the feasibility of LAO’s balanced budget plan while offering recommendations for LAO to consider.
- LAO now offering most requested brochures in ten additional languages
- After listening to feedback from community agencies that serve racialized communities, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has translated its most requested brochures and fact sheets into the ten most requested languages.
- Changes to the fee waiver regulation
- Recently, the Ministry of the Attorney General announced changes to the Fee Waiver Regulation to allow Legal Aid Ontario clients receiving certain legal services to have their court fees waived.
- Certain documents can now be uploaded through Legal Aid Online
- Beginning May 29, 2017, panel members will be able to use Legal Aid Online to submit requests for authorizations, opinion letters and other documents related to cases involving family, Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), civil, Consent & Capacity Board (CCB) and Ontario Review Board (ORB).
- The Lawyer’s Daily: Legal Aid gives grant to community centres assisting black youth facing suspension
- Legal Aid Ontario has provided two $100,000 grants to community health centres in the GTA to fund programing aimed at supporting black students in trouble at school. (Article available in English only.)
- CBC: Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings
- LAO provided test case funding to the Black Action Defense Committee and the Empowerment Council to participate in the coroner’s inquest of Andrew Loku’s death.
- CTV: The importance of cultural assessment reports
- On May 10, 2017, Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) Wayne van der Meide was on CTV’s “Your Morning” to talk to Anne Marie Mediwake about the potential use of cultural assessment reports to get Ontario judges to consider systemic racism when sentencing offenders from racialized communities.
Public legal education
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.
- Client Service Centre – Tier 1
Agents in Tier 1 of LAO’s client service 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.
- Client Service 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.
- Client Service Centre – In-custody
LAO also offers a service dedicated to help 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.
- Lawyer Service Centre
Lawyers who do legal aid work can contact the Lawyer Service 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.
- Court-based staff
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||57,737||70,532||59,673||72,204||74,088||74,118||68,891||78,089||75,588|
|Phone: Tier 2||21,555||21,682||22,113||27,428||28,906||29,324||26,108||30,167||26,587|
|Phone: In-custody clients||8,228||9,131||8,381||8,244||7,180||8,236||7,419||8,992||8,773|
|Phone: Lawyer Service Centre||11,350||11,953||11,226||12,679||11,175||11,000||10,306||11,928||11,132|
|In-person: Court-based staff||30,976||29,832||27,834||28,619||31,145||31,169||25,555||27,304||20,907|
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
|Persons assisted by duty counsel – criminal law||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|Per Diem DC||32,312||36,467||34,277||36,618||30,744||37,383||32,748||35,215||30,116|
Family law services
|Persons assisted by duty counsel – family law||2015/16||2016/17||2017/18|
|Per Diem DC||22,217||23,994||21,924||22,669||20,284||18,864||17,711||20,527||15,118|
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 bar 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||1,901||2,074||2,424||2,869||2,753||3,178||3,276||3,451||3,259|
|Total Certificates Issued||24,737||27,298||26,639||29,585||29,587||28,500||26,417||27,605||26,293|
 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%||76.4%|
|% of area office appeals heard within 3 days||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||80%||51.6%||53.0%|
|Acceptance rate for certificate applications||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||87%||87.7%||86.5%|
|% of calls answered within 3 minutes (L1)||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||80%||83.0%||71.2%|
|% of calls answered within 3 minutes (LSC)||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||80%||69.0%||61.6%|
|% of calls answered within 3 minutes (Worklist)||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||80%||88.0%||78.0%|
|% of calls answered within 20 minutes (L2)||Quarterly||Q1 2017/18||80%||79.0%||61.4%|
|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 – Jun. 30, 2016 ($M)||Apr. 1, 2017 – Jun. 30, 2017 ($M)|
|Core Business Expenses|
|Client Service Offices||$5.7M||$5.1M|
|Duty Counsel Program||$14.9M||$12.5M|
|Total Core Business Expenses||$100.0M||$103.0M|
|Service Provider Support||$1.7M||$1.5M|
|Total Operating Expenses||$20.0M||$17.8M|
|Surplus / (deficit) before other corporate expenditures / savings||($7.7M)||($5.4M)|
Totals may not add due to rounding