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Legal A id Ontario . Legal Aid Ontario Bob Ward, President and CEO January 25, 2012. Overview . Purpose: Update on LAO’s accomplishments, ongoing plans and priorities Context: LAO’s accomplishments and priorities support the following goals:

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legal a id ontario
Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario

Bob Ward, President and CEO

January 25, 2012


Purpose: Update on LAO’s accomplishments, ongoing plans and priorities

Context:LAO’s accomplishments and priorities support the following goals:

  • Improve access and services to clients
  • Strengthen LAO’s capabilities and provide value for taxpayers
  • Support and assist service providers
accomplishments service improvements for clients
Accomplishments: Service improvements for clients
  • Projection of 100,000-105,000 certificates issued and 800,000 clients provided with duty counsel support in 2011/12
  • Call centre (Client Service Centre) answers 1,300 calls daily:
    • Services available in over 200 languages
    • Up to 20 minutes of summary legal advice is available
    • Call wait times are maintained at targeted levels.
    • Responded to more than 500,000 client calls since launching in 2008
    • More than 45 per cent of all legal aid applications are processed through the CSC
    • 87 per cent of CSC clients receive a same day decision on their legal aid application
accomplishments service improvements for clients1
Accomplishments: Service improvements for clients
  • Offices in 56 courthouse locations have improved service and efficiency:
    • 40 per cent of all legal aid applications are completed at a courthouse location
    • 89 per cent of certificate applications receive a decision on the day of the application
    • 61 per cent of clients are seen before their first court appearance
    • Duty counsel and staff roles continue to be refined, to be more client-focused and service-oriented
    • More than 50,000 clients have received assistance at a courthouse office
    • Courthouse locations represent more than 93 per cent of all criminal matters heard in the Province of Ontario
accomplishments service improvements for clients2
Accomplishments: Service improvements for clients
  • Services maintained at nine district offices – Including Ottawa
  • Implementation of Simplified Financial Eligibility Test in February 2011 has simplified the application process for clients and shortened the time it takes to get a decision on eligibility
  • More transparent complaints process introduced in August 2011
  • Public legal information section of LAO’s public website (LawFacts/Faitesde Droit– focus on various areas of law)
accomplishments improvements for s ervice p roviders
Accomplishments: Improvements for service providers
  • Tariff increases: tariff will increase an additional 22 per cent in next four years (between 1995/96 and 2015/16, the tariff will increase 63 per cent)
  • Funding rates for experts increased by $1 million per year, beginning April 1, 2011
  • Complex Case Rate for criminal cases introduced: CCR tariff rate is $129.81 per hour (will increase to $161.05 by 2015)
  • Reduced processing times for lawyer payments and other services to lawyers. Hourly tariff accounts now paid up to the tariff maximum within 30 days of receipt
  • Enhancing panel management: greater support for lawyers in meeting quality, compliance and efficiency expectations
  • Working with service providers on block fees. Phase 2 of criminal law block fee pilot was implemented in May 2011
accomplishments strengthening capability value for taxpayers
Accomplishments: Strengthening capability & value for taxpayers
  • Reduced deficit from projected $29 million to $8 million
  • Focus on reduction of expenditures in administration
  • Cost of a legal aid application has been reduced by 26 per cent (from $173 to $129)
  • Regional model comprised of nine districts has replaced 51 area offices. More application work is being moved to the CSC to enable regional staff to undertake enhanced duty counsel and panel management work
  • Working with clinics to reduce clinic administration costs
  • New clinic management information system
  • Implemented block fees in criminal law
  • New area committee process
lao s sfet g uidelines
LAO’s SFET Guidelines
  • No full certificate for single person in Ontario if gross income is over $10,800/yr
    • $10,800/yr = $900/month = $208/week
  • DC/summary legal advice guidelines are somewhat higher
  • Clinic and BCM guidelines have limited discretion
ottawa district criminal law
Ottawa District: Criminal law

Certificates Issued YTD December by Major Aid

FY2010 vs FY2011

duty counsel assists
Duty Counsel Assists

Number of Duty Counsel Assists by Major Aid

FY2010 vs FY2011

legal aid ontario discretion
Legal Aid Ontario - Discretion

In the 12 months ending August 2011, LAO paid out approximately $12.8 m for discretion payments - 9% of total standard certificate budget cost

financial eligibility
Financial Eligibility
  • Last eligibility adjustments:
    • certificate guidelines in 1995, when they were reduced by 22%;
    • clinic guidelines in 1993
  • Financial eligibility rates are established by regulation and are not controlled by LAO
  • Implementation of the simplified eligibility test (SFET) has clearly demonstrated how low the current levels are
  • LAO’s goal for 2011-2012 is to conduct research to support a plan for increasing financial eligibility over the next few years, and options for funding any potential increase.
financial eligibility1
Financial Eligibility
  • LAO has improved financial accessibility within current rules:
    • Simplified Financial Eligibility Test (SFET)
    • Creation of summary legal advice hotline
    • Limited use of public interest exceptions in BCM cases
    • LAO modernization has allowed duty counsel and clinics to serve more people within limits of current financial eligibility rules
  • There are legal and financial limits on LAO’s ability to expand financial accessibility