New minimum experience requirements for roster member authorizations, effective August 10, 2022

Published: August 10, 2022

In accordance with the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 (LASA 2020), Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is implementing minimum experience requirements that roster (formerly panel) members must meet in order to provide legal aid certificate services and duty counsel services in specific areas of law. These new minimum experience requirements replace the existing standards for roster members and are part of a broader effort to modernize the administration of legal aid services.

The new requirements were established to set clear attainable levels of minimum experience, to reduce administration for both LAO and roster lawyers, to meet LAO’s obligations under LASA 2020 and to respond to the recommendations of the Auditor General of Ontario.

A conditional authorization is available for lawyers who do not meet the minimum experience requirements at the time they apply to join the roster, allowing them to work towards completing the requirements leading to full authorization.

LAO is providing materials for review to accompany the authorization process in both English and French. The list of materials for review for each area of law will be posted on LAO’s website.

Along with updating pre-existing standards, LAO is introducing minimum experience requirements for two new areas of law: youth criminal and criminal mental health. The Criminal Mental Health and Criminal Youth requirements will come into effect on June 1, 2023. Roster members will be informed when LAO is ready to start accepting applications.

Prospective roster members interested in doing legal aid work and current roster members seeking authorization in additional areas of law are required to submit a certificate authorization or duty counsel authorization request form. These forms are available on the Forms library.

For current roster members already authorized to provide legal aid services, more information regarding the transition process and new requirements will be provided ahead of the 2023 self-reporting period. All roster members presently holding an authorization to provide legal aid services will be transitioned to the new minimum experience requirements. In determining whether to transition existing roster members with or without attaching a conditional status to their authorization, LAO will give consideration to historical experience previously reported to LAO by roster members through their annual self-report.

To help us establish these requirements, we posted our proposed minimum experience requirements and associated rule changes, and consulted about these proposed changes in a public consultation held between Dec. 13, 2021 and Jan. 24, 2022. These consultations provided valuable feedback and guided us in supporting roster members in delivering high-quality legal aid services to LAO clients. For more information, please read the Consultation Summary Report.

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