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Eyes on LAO

Legal Aid Ontario On The Move

Posted on: Tuesday, March 25 /08

Before photo
Before photo
Before photo

Some shots of the new location at Atrium on Bay being renovated in anticipation of LAO's move.

Part and parcel of Legal Aid Ontario's commitment to achieving cost efficiencies for Ontario taxpayers through its Value Agenda over the next five years, LAO will be relocating its Provincial Office, Toronto Area Office, Refugee Law Office and Family Law Office in downtown Toronto in July 2008.

By moving from its current location at 375 University Avenue to the nearby Atrium on Bay office complex in the heart of downtown Toronto, LAO will save Ontario taxpayers approximately $1 million per year for the leasing cost of the space. These savings will be achieved by reducing the overall square footage of the LAO offices from 85,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet, as well as by reducing the annual lease rate.

Yet, while LAO's space leasing costs will be significantly reduced, clients and other stakeholders will not experience any diminishment in the services they receive from LAO. In fact, with its new office space, LAO is looking to create a physical work environment that is modern, innovative, and optimized for both internal and external communication priorities.

In addition to providing LAO with the opportunity to realize significant and immediate cost-savings, the move will facilitate the organization's ability to standardize its office space, establish space allotment principles, and develop work-from-home protocols, all with the objective of further reducing space requirements and generating additional savings.

The Ontario government's recent infusion of $51 million of funding to LAO over three years demonstrates the people of Ontario's commitment to ensuring that low-income Ontarians receive the vital legal services they need. In 2007, LAO introduced a Value Agenda which seeks to match the government's commitment by increasing efficiencies by 1% in each of the next five years.

This ambitious Value Agenda will be achieved through LAO's management strategy, which involves finding ways to strengthen LAO and developing the means to deliver legal aid services more effectively and efficiently. It may be a small step on its own, but the office move is very much a part of the new strategic focus for LAO.