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Legal Aid Ontario Bob Ward, President and CEO January 25, 2012 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Legal Aid Ontario Bob Ward, President and CEO January 25, 2012 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Aid Ontario Bob Ward, President and CEO January 25, 2012 1

2 Overview 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 2

3 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 3

4 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 4

5 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/Faites de Droit– focus on various areas of law) 5

6 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 6

7 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 7

8 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 8

9 LAO Certificates 9

10 Ottawa District: Criminal law Certificates Issued YTD December by Major Aid FY2010 vs FY2011 10

11 Duty Counsel Assists Number of Duty Counsel Assists by Major Aid FY2010 vs FY2011 11

12 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 12

13 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. 13

14 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 14

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