Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Ministry of Health Promotion
- Location: Toronto and Kingston
- Lawyers: 45 (Toronto and Kingston combined)
- Articling Students: 2 (Toronto office)
- Summer Law Students: 3 (Toronto)
- Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Civil, Commercial, Constitutional, Contract, Corporate, Corporate Governance, Employment, Environmental, Health, Human Rights, Mental Health, Tax, Torts
Who we are
The Legal Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and Ministry of Health Promotion (MHP) provides strategic legal advice on challenging, high profile issues facing the MOHLTC and MHP.
With approximately 45 lawyers, whose practices range from administrative law to contract law to legislative development and beyond, we offer our students an unrivaled exposure to the practice of health law in Ontario and a solid foundation on which to build a long and successful legal career.
What we do
Pick up a newspaper. Listen to the news. Health care issues are in the headlines every day. For every story reported, lawyers in our office are involved.
Recently, our lawyers have provided advice on:
- H1N1 influenza pandemic response
- Legal action against pharmacies, generic drug manufacturers and drug wholesalers resulting from an audit investigation
- Ontario’s diabetes strategy
- Development and implementation of the HealthCareConnect program
- Establishment of the eHealth Ontario agency
- Legislation involving the privacy of personal health information, long-term care homes, and tobacco control
- Public-private partnerships involving hospitals
- Cancer screening programs
- Funding for health care practitioners (physicians, nurses, midwives)
- New regulatory Colleges for health professions
- Information technology in the health sector
- Organ donation regulations
- Privately funded health care
- Fraud prosecutions.
Our lawyers provide advice to diverse program areas within the ministries. For example: Ontario public drug programs, mental health, access and privacy, public hospital programs, independent health facility programs, long-term care, regulated health professions, public health, eHealth, information and information technology, and health insurance.
While the majority of work in our office is solicitor focused, our lawyers, in conjunction with Crown Law Office - Civil and the Constitutional Law Branch, are involved in litigation, judicial reviews and prosecutions.
Our major cases
- Eliopoulos v. Ontario (Minister of Health & Long-Term Care): Action alleging the Government of Ontario was negligent in failing to stop the spread of West Nile Virus. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the action against Ontario.
- SARS Court of Appeal decisions: Five actions dismissed as against Ontario by the Ontario Court of Appeal which alleged that the government was negligent in failing to stop SARS in 2003
- Flora v. Ontario Health Insurance Plan: Decision clarifying the eligibility requirements for coverage for medical treatment sought outside Ontario
- Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act, 2008: A new law prohibiting Ontarians from smoking in motor vehicles when passengers under the age of 16 are in the vehicle
- Fairness for Military Families Act (Employment Standards and Health Insurance), 2007:A new law that prevents undue delay in military families’ coverage for publicly funded health services
What students do
Our students have the opportunity to work with experienced counsel on a range of legal matters, in addition to having the opportunity to work independently on assigned files. Our students can expect exposure to diverse areas of law, and an experience that will help to refine their skills and interests.
With no formal rotation system, our students are exposed to various practice areas, including administrative law, intellectual property, labour/employment, and commercial law, as they pertain to the health sector.
Our lawyers often involve students as they draw on the skills of colleagues throughout the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG).
Generally, students spend their time:
- Researching legal issues, including caselaw and statute research, and comparative analysis of law from different jurisdictions
- Preparing legal memoranda, case summaries, presentations and briefing materials
- Assisting counsel in drafting contracts
- Assisting counsel working on legislation and regulations
- Attending client meetings.
Each student is assigned a mentor or articling principal, who will provide the student with support and assistance throughout the summer or articling term. In addition to the formal support program, students often develop excellent working relationships with many senior lawyers in our office.
Our student committee organizes monthly “Lunch N Learn” sessions for students and counsel to help promote education and knowledge transfer. The topics of recent sessions include: Hot Topics at MHP, eHealth Ontario, Independent Health Facilities, Transfer Payment Agreements and Government Agencies. Students are also included in all MAG-wide educational programs.
Why choose us
"In my second week of articling, I was brought onto a team that was developing high-profile legislation, which had significant practical effects on a large number of Ontarians. I had the opportunity to be a part of the regulation-making process, travel across the province to consult with stakeholders, and then go home to see the project profiled on the evening news and the front pages of the morning papers!" - Former Articling Student and Counsel
Students who work in our office have a unique opportunity to learn about health law in Ontario. Students are exposed to cutting-edge legal issues that are of great importance to the people of Ontario.
One of the primary goals of our student program is to equip students with the skills, knowledge and judgment that will allow them to pursue a range of career opportunities within the legal profession. In recent years, former articling students have gone on to start their professional careers as:
- Counsel within the branch
- Counsel at other legal service branches in the public service
- In-house counsel in the private sector
- Associates with private sector law firms
- Senior policy analysts or in program management roles in government.
Students play an integral role in our busy office. We are committed to providing students with the support they need to excel in the legal profession and to involving students in exciting and important legal work. In addition, we encourage our students to make meaningful contributions to the office by joining committees and attending our branch meetings and educational events.
If you are interested in health law and would like to work in a fast-paced, collegial office, then we would love to hear from you.
Counsel, Chair of MOHLTC/MHP Student Committee