Amendments to the Legal Aid Services Rules (Schedule 2 – Fees and Disbursements) comes into force today
Published: October 16, 2023
Legal Aid Ontario’s amendments to the fees it pays its roster members comes into effect today.
Beginning today, LAO is
- increasing the hourly rates for roster lawyers and the amount paid for block fees.
- increasing the number of hours allocated under the hourly tariff.
- allowing per diem duty counsel to bill according to their tier rate.
To review the tariff reforms for each area of law, please refer to the following summaries, which can also be found in the tariff and billing section of the LAO website:
- Criminal law tariff reforms
- Family law tariff reforms
- Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) tariff reforms
- Immigration and refugee law tariff reforms
The compensation structure for legal aid lawyers in Ontario has remained largely unchanged over the past 25 years. In addition, the hourly rates and block fee rates have not increased since 2015, making this the first new investment in improving hourly compensation for private bar lawyers in Ontario in nearly a decade.
To support the implementation of key tariff improvements, such as the hourly rate, in a timely manner and avoid delays, LAO intends to implement the proposed rule changes in two phases. The first phase, beginning today, includes the increase to the hourly rates, increase to the block fee rates, payment of per diem duty counsel services according to the lawyers’ tier rate, and targeted increases to the number of hours allocated under the tariff.
The proposed second phase of the tariff rule reform implementation is expected to take place sometime in 2024. LAO will provide further updates on the proposed second phase changes as soon as information is available.
- LAO’s changes to the compensation structure for roster lawyers are an acknowledgement of the increased complexity of providing legal aid services. LAO is increasing the amount allocated for certain proceedings and introducing payment for additional steps in proceedings that were not previously covered by LAO.
- LAO is increasing the hourly rate and block fee rates paid to lawyers by five per cent per year over each of the next three years.