Outcome of consultation: LASA 2020 rules
Minimum experience standards for roster members
LAO held consultations on introducing minimum experience requirements in the Legal Aid Services Rules for the existing Ontario Review Board roster. Consultations were held from July 12, 2023 to August 12, 2023.
For further details, read the Public Consultation Feedback Summary for Minimum Experience Standards for Ontario Review Board.
Tariff reform: number of hours, hourly rates and block fee rates
LAO held consultations on proposed amendments to the fees roster lawyers are paid to do legal aid work. Consultations were held from June 9, 2023 to July 9 2023. To learn more about the feedback provided during this consultation, read the public consultation feedback summary for tariff reform: number of hours, hourly rates and block fee rates.
LAO appreciates all the feedback received on its proposed tariff reforms. The proposed changes aim to address many of the issues and concerns private bar lawyers and advocacy groups have raised in recent years.
Minimum experience requirements for criminal youth and criminal mental health – implementation date change
April to May 2023
LAO consulted on the proposed new implementation date for the new minimum experience requirements for lawyers representing individuals in youth criminal or criminal mental health matters. LAO received one written submission, which did not include any feedback or recommendations specific to the proposed new implementation date. It did include observations and recommendations on the justice system.
For more information, read the public summary of feedback.
Risk level determination policy
Sept. to Oct. 2022
LAO consulted on its risk policy for entity service providers from Sept. 14 to Oct. 26, 2022. Two town-hall style consultations were conducted online, and LAO received 41 written submissions.
LAO received valuable feedback and suggestions for specific changes that participants felt would make the policy clearer and fairer.
Feedback included the following:
- Concern that the risk matrix chart was not clear and could lead to confusion regarding where a particular clinic would be ranked in it.
- Discretion to determine a clinic’s risk level falls within a policy that is too broad and could negatively impact their communities.
- Comparison between a clinic with a few significant risks and one with many minor risks. Concern whether either of these could place the clinic anywhere from high to low risk, leading to too much uncertainty.
- Suggestion that LAO focus only on higher risks, and not disclose lower- level risks. Questions on how LAO and clinics communicate potential risks to one another.
- Concern about lack of an appeal process after decisions are made on a clinic’s risk level.
- Lengthen notice period from the time LAO informs a clinic of its risk level and a new agreement signing.
- Request for a quality assurance program to help clinics monitor compliance and overall risks.
Much of the feedback we received was incorporated into the final version of the policy.
For further details, read the Public Consultation Feedback Summary for the Risk Level Determination Policy.
Minimum experience standards
LAO held consultations on proposed minimum experience requirements that prospective roster members must meet to be eligible to provide legal aid certificate services and duty counsel services in specific areas of law.
These consultations provided valuable feedback from justice partners and guided us in supporting roster members in delivering high-quality legal aid services to LAO clients.
These are some of the improvements made based on the public feedback:
- A conditional authorization is available for lawyers who do not meet the minimum experience requirements at the time they apply for authorization, allowing them to work towards completing the requirements leading to full authorization.
- The path to conditional authorization is set out clearly in the Schedule.
- Family law and child protection law are now two separate authorizations.
- Materials for review that are easy for lawyers to access in both official languages will be posted to accompany each area of law authorization.
For more information, read the Public Consultation Feedback Summary for the Minimum Experience Standards.
LASA 2020 Rules
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is consulting about the proposed minimum experience standards that prospective roster (formerly panel) members must meet to join our roster and be eligible to provide legal aid certificate services and duty counsel services in specific areas of law. LAO held consultations on proposed minimum experience requirements that prospective roster members must meet to be eligible to provide legal aid certificate services and duty counsel services in specific areas of law.
Although COVID-19 restrictions made the consultation process more complicated and challenging, more than 200 individuals and organizations provided input on LAO’s draft Rules. Feedback was gathered between April 21 and May 20, 2021, via online survey, video conferences, and written submissions. Read LAO’s response to feedback received.
Feedback received was thoughtful, informed, and helpful—directly resulting in many improvements reflected in the final Rules.
These are some of the improvements made based on feedback from the public:
- The inclusion of a Statement of Principles that reaffirms LAO’s commitment to equity and human rights. It describes how LAO expresses these values and commitments in its own work and in its relationships with clients, service providers, and the public.
- The various circumstances under which a lawyer may be denied entry into the legal aid roster has been narrowed and a schedule providing details added to the Roster Management Rule
- Rules have been streamlined, with several schedules replaced with obligations and requirements embedded into the body of the Rule.
- Some of the issues raised during the feedback process will be addressed and clarified in LAO policies, e.g., what constitutes an “exceptionally complex” matter, under what circumstances will LAO assign a lawyer to a client, etc.
For more information, read the Public summary feedback of LASA 2020 Rules.