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Legal Aid Cuts In Ontario

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Um, no. I have not. Why would I do that to myself?

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As someone currently watching self-reps call evidence while I wait for my matter to be heard, I can  confidently assert that the LAO cuts will be bad for the efficient administration of justice.  

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I am not sure why everyone is getting their shorts in a knot about cuts to Legal Aid. 

According to Doug Ford all the money from Legal Aid was not going to the people, but to more and more lawyers. So cutting LA funding is really just for the people.  How can you argue with logic like that?

Secondly, if your client gets denied LA, just call the premier, he has given out his cell phone number, and he will get your client legal aid. He guaranteed it. One simple call, no more forms to fill out, just call Doug. How could you be against such an efficient process?

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"

LAO is changing the way we fund, provide and manage legal services

LAO is changing the way we fund, provide and manage legal services.

Our priority remains to provide quality frontline service to our clients, while regularly reviewing our programs to better and more efficiently deliver them.

We are updating the follow ing certificate policies and programs in stages, and will provide more detailed information to the relevant bar before implementation.

Here is a summary of the changes:

Certificate acknowledgement and private bar duty counsel appearance fees

  • LAO will no longer pay acknowledgement and appearance administrative fees for accepting certificate and duty counsel shifts.
  • For acknowledgement fees, this change takes effect June 12, and for appearance fees, June 26, 2019.
  • Certificate lawyers will continue to be paid by the hour or matter.

Payment terms

You will now receive payment in 28 days instead of 14, which includes duty counsel accounts. Accounts where disbursements or discretion are requested will continue to be paid with the standard 60-day timeframe.

Criminal law

  • Certificate lawyers may no longer bill for bail hearings on block fees. On these matters, duty counsel will continue to b e available to provide bail services. For more complex tariff cases, including those in LAO’s Big Case Management program and matters set for trial, certificate counsel may bill for bail hearings.
  • Meritorious bail reviews will be funded at 5 hours per bail review (instead of 10). Certificate counsel will also resume applying for authorization before proceeding on bail reviews. In 2015, LAO increased bail review coverage from five to 10 hours to encourage the private bar to bring more bail reviews and address overreliance on onerous conditions of release. The additional hours did not result in increased bail review applications.
  • When using a publicly-funded Gladue report as part of sentencing submissions for Indigenous clients on tariff matters, lawyers will be allowed a 3-hour Gladue authorization (instead of 5). For block fees, lawyers will receive a Gladue “enhancement” based on approximately 3 hours of additional time, (instead of 5).
  • < li>Lawyers representing clients with mental health issues, including at fitness hearings and mental health court, on block fee matters, will receive an “enhancement” for approximately 2.5 hours (instead of 5) for additional work that may be needed to represent these clients.
  • Because of technological and legal advances, extra coverage for DNA sentencing submissions will no longer be available, and submissions can be covered under the current base tariff. The block fee base rate that includes DNA submissions will remain the same.
  • Criminal duty counsel will:
    • prioritize clients with the highest risk
    • provide services to clients that are legally and financially eligible
    • establish a framework for consistent services
    • monitor, measure and adapt to any changing demand for duty counsel services
    • work with stakeholders to effectively implement any changes

Family law

  • LAO will co ntinue to provide full certificate coverage for people experiencing domestic violence, including motions to change and emergency advice.
  • Certificate counsel will no longer be able to bill for variations or motions to change where domestic violence is not an issue. Instead, duty counsel and family law service centres will, where available, perform these services, when possible.
  • Counsel will be able to bill for up to two case conferences instead of multiple conferences.
  • LAO will no longer issue certificates for independent legal advice relating to mediation or separation agreement certificates. Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, 60 percent of separation agreement certificates were unused, or required additional certificates or services. This figure was 70 percent for independent legal advice certificates for mediation, not fulfilling the certificates’ original intent.
  • Legal assistance in child protection matters remain unchanged.
  • Family du ty counsel will
    • prioritize clients with the highest risk
    • provide services to clients that are legally and financially eligible
    • establish a framework for consistent services
    • monitor, measure and adapt to any changing demand for duty counsel services
    • work with stakeholders to effectively implement any changes

Mental health

  • A modified merit test will now be applied to Ontario Review Board appeals ensuring meritorious cases continue to be funded, similar to the one introduced for Consent and Capacity Board appeals in 2017. We continue to provide funding for lawyers to represent psychiatric patients exercising their right of appeal in meritorious cases.
  • LAO will continue to fund certificate lawyers for meritorious CCB and ORB appeals over the governing regular tariff: for ORB appeals, lawyers will be funded up to 35 hours (instead of up to 50) and for CCB appeals lawyers will be funded up t o 25 hours (instead of up to 50).
  • Resources will be dedicated to services for psychiatric patients (instead of substitute decision makers)

Prison law

  • Five hours of certificate coverage will be available for parole matters (instead of 10). This ensures clients have access to the services they need. Ontario is one of few provinces which provide these services.
  • Resources will be dedicated to services for prisoners to have access to statutory release by way of parole and to extraordinary remedy (instead of “faint hope” parole applications and “gating hearings”.

Other

  • LAO staff will be determining eligibility for the test case program instead of an external committee
  • LAO will be introducing more defined discretionary processes and criteria.
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20 hours ago, CoffeeandLaw said:

I can't get over Mulroney posting twitter videos about needing better access to beer while completely demolishing LAO. What a joke. 

Has anyone here ever had trouble accessing beer? I've always lived within 2 minutes of an LCBO or beer store. It's never even occurred to me that buying beer could be difficult for people. Maybe in the most remote communities, but probably not even there. It just shows the absurdity of modern politics and priorities that this is even an issue. 

 

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3 hours ago, KingLouis said:

Has anyone here ever had trouble accessing beer? I've always lived within 2 minutes of an LCBO or beer store. It's never even occurred to me that buying beer could be difficult for people. Maybe in the most remote communities, but probably not even there. It just shows the absurdity of modern politics and priorities that this is even an issue. 

 

lol even if it were in the most remote communities, I get the feeling those communities have more trouble accessing legal counsel than beer.

I know you weren't saying otherwise, I just wanted to point out how insane an access-to-beer campaign is.

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I'm all for opening up alcohol sales (and not because of convenience - I live in downtown Toronto, so have about 6 LCBOs within a 10-15 minute walk from my apartment) but am also really confused about the priorities and strategy of this government.

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6 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

I'm all for opening up alcohol sales (and not because of convenience - I live in downtown Toronto, so have about 6 LCBOs within a 10-15 minute walk from my apartment) but am also really confused about the priorities and strategy of this government.

It's about the appearance of saving money. That way Ford can swing his arms and yell that he's cut so much despite the Ontario gov still being in deficit.

With the cuts, duty counsel will be doing even more bails. Some accused will not be reached and will be shipped back to the detention centre to try their kick at bail the next day when DC has more time to deal with 7-8 people. It costs waaaay more to keep someone in jail than it is to pay a certificate lawyer to prepare and run a bail.

My firm is still going to continue to do the additional bails despite not being paid. Not all lawyers will do so nor should the expectation be to work for free.

From the family side, no motion to changes (barring DV) will be funded. So, more self reps scrambling for duty counsel. 3 conferences scheduled in the AM and 3 in the afternoon in my jurisdiction. If both DC lawyers are involved in 2 morning ones, they can't have any negotiation in between. So the courts will likely either adjourn or stand down for a while. The matters will kick around, return for case management. Lather, rinse repeat.

It's short sighted from the government's perspective. I don't see LAO having too many options with such an extreme cut. But fuuuuuuuck this is going to have wider reach than Ford/Mulroney anticipates. And it's kind of pathetic that the AG can't even see this.

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5 hours ago, KingLouis said:

Has anyone here ever had trouble accessing beer? I've always lived within 2 minutes of an LCBO or beer store. It's never even occurred to me that buying beer could be difficult for people. Maybe in the most remote communities, but probably not even there. It just shows the absurdity of modern politics and priorities that this is even an issue. 

 

The sub-$2 beer near me (downtown Toronto) is always sold out. Only craft beer as far as the eye can see... so yeah, it is really tough out here.

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9 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I mean. Totally expected, no?

I guess it tells you something about the professional ethos you absorb in a purely transactional, high-finance practice. 

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9 minutes ago, Eeee said:

I guess it tells you something about the professional ethos you absorb in a purely transactional, high-finance practice. 

According to her brother, she's about to be fired:

 

Edited by Jaggers

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15 minutes ago, Eeee said:

I guess it tells you something about the professional ethos you absorb in a purely transactional, high-finance practice. 

Not necessarily. I've been told more on the back story than just that.

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On 6/13/2019 at 9:07 AM, CoffeeandLaw said:

I can't get over Mulroney posting twitter videos about needing better access to beer while completely demolishing LAO. What a joke. 

her hands are probably tied. at the end of the day she just wants to keep her job i guess. don't most people? i'm not siding with her, i'm just saying, this is usually what most humans do. 

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9 minutes ago, levin said:

her hands are probably tied. at the end of the day she just wants to keep her job i guess. don't most people? i'm not siding with her, i'm just saying, this is usually what most humans do. 

I do get that, and I blame Ford and not her. But at the end of the day she's not only Minister of Justice but also the AG who is supposed to be non-partisan and uphold the rule of law. 

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29 minutes ago, CoffeeandLaw said:

I do get that, and I blame Ford and not her. But at the end of the day she's not only Minister of Justice but also the AG who is supposed to be non-partisan and uphold the rule of law. 

I blame Ford. I blame her. I blame chief of staff, Michael Wilson. I blame Joseph Hillier. I blame everyone who works at the AGO, who, rather than trying to modernize the administration of justice in Ontario, managed to erode justice for the most vulnerable, while realizing an absolutely minuscule amount of savings. 

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