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Rounded Corner

If you’re hoping to get a Legal Aid Certificate to hire a lawyer to defend you, the hard facts are that unfortunately, you will most probably NOT qualify.  Here is some information you need to know and some inadequate explanation of why.

“Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) received $354 million in funding during the 2010/11 fiscal year, with 76% of that coming from the provincial government. Additional funds came from the federal govern­ment under a cost-sharing agreement, from the Law Foundation of Ontario, and from clients whose income levels require them to help pay for legal assistance.” (Ontario Auditor’s Report 2011)

Firstly note that the federal government makes the criminal law and the provincial government builds the courthouses and pays the Crown Attorney’s to prosecute you and pays the Judges to judge you.  Secondly they claim not to have enough money to pay lawyers to defend you and even if they did, do you really want a government paid lawyer, because with money comes control.

LAO however does seem to have plenty of money to pay themselves. “LAO incurred $47 million in expenditures on administration and other expenses.” (Ontario Auditor’s Report 2011)

If a certificate is issued to you, you can take that certificate to a lawyer of your choosing who is willing to accept that at the sole source of compensation for defending your criminal charge. According to the report less than ½ (49.17%) of LAO’s expenditures were for the issuance of certificates.

You will most likely NOT be granted a certificate if your annual gross individual income is over $10,800 AND you must be facing a likely (in their sole opinion) period of incarceration, if convicted, exceeding 90 days.

In other words, we won’t be issuing YOU a certificate, but here, have a cookie.  A cookie always makes you feel better.

 So where does the money go?  LAO has published a website page entitled “BENEFITS OF WORKING AT LAO”  Here’s what the staff get:

Annual salary of $60,601 – $107,464 (non-management lawyers)

17 days paid vacation

Up to 32 weeks of pregnancy and parental leave

6 paid sick days per year with 5 to 120 days paid at 100% of pay with medical documentation

Choice of benefits package

LAO payment into health care spending account

80% of prescription drug costs up to $2,500/annum

Semi-private hospital accommodation

$25,000 private duty nursing/3 yrs

Paramedical practitioners up to $1000/annum

Basic life insurance

Dental benefits up to 100% reimbursement

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Travel Insurance

LawPro insurance fully paid

Law Society membership fees fully paid

Employee and Family Assistance Program

Training opportunities/career development opportunities

Flexible working hours

Casual office attire

 And here is the Executive compensation (exclusive of earned bonuses)


Executive                      Base Salary 2010 ($)      Base Salary 2011 ($)      Salary Increase (%)

Bob Ward CEO             226,000                         264,000                         17

Janet Budgell VP          148,000                         168,000                         14

David McKillop VP        156,000                         175,000                         12

Heather Robertson VP   156,000                         175,000                        12

Michelle Seguin VP       162,000                         182,000                         12

 As for the Managers:

The public sector salary disclosure documents (2012 “Sunshine List” of those earning more than $100,000) reveal a dramatic increase in managers on the list. The number of managers listed has increased from 3 in 2007 to 19 in 2011 – a 533% increase.





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