Ministries of Citizenship and Immigration, Culture and Tourism

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Toronto
  • Lawyers: 12
  • Articling Students: 1
  • Summer Law Students: 0
  • Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Commercial, Contract, Corporate, Corporate Governance, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, Real Property, Tax

Who we are

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI), the Ministry of Culture and Tourism share a Legal Services Branch.  This joint Branch not only provides “in-house” legal services to all three of these ministries, but also to Ontario Senior’s Secretariat, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, as well as to selected agencies such as Ontario Place Corporation, Ontario Science Centre, Ontario Media Development Corporation.

What we do

Counsel in the Legal Services Branch:

  • Provide legal opinions on a broad range of issues including:
    • Administrative law
    • Agencies’ operations (i.e. corporate/commercial and corporate governance issues)
    • Conflict of interest rules for public servants
    • Crown law
    • Intellectual property (including official marks)
    • Access to government records and the protection of privacy of individuals (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act)
    • Regulatory licencing (e.g. licensing of archaeologists under the Ontario Heritage Act)
    • Aboriginal issues arising from archaeology
    • Statutory interpretation (e.g. provincial powers under the Ontario Heritage Act; powers of the Fairness Commissioner under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006).
  • Draft bills, regulations and Orders-in-Council (a legal instrument by which the Lieutenant Governor in Council exercises his or her powers – e.g. appointments to agencies, boards and commissions)
  • Instruct Legislative Counsel for drafting of legislation
  • Review and draft various types of contracts and other legal documents, including:
    • Consulting agreements
    • Goods and services agreements
    • Real estate related documents such as easements, leases and occupancy agreements
    • Government procurement documents (e.g. Requests for Proposals for various goods and services including acquisition of information technology)
    • Funding agreements for major cultural infrastructure and other capital projects (e.g. Royal Ontario Museum).
  • Conduct real estate transactions, such as:
    • Purchase and sale of land and interests in land on behalf of agency clients
    • Title searches to support Ministry and agencies (carried out by our law clerk).
  • Review and advise on Cabinet Submissions
  • Participate in client training programs.

Our major cases

We have been involved in the development and implementation of key legislation, including:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005: Provides the framework for developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises (Responsibility for the statute has been transferred to the Ministry of Community and Social Services)
  • Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006: Helps ensure that regulated professions and individuals applying for registration by regulated professions are governed by registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair
  • Foreign Cultural Objects Immunity from Seizure Act: Establishes a process by which foreign works of art borrowed by Ontario cultural or educational institutions are protected from seizure while in Ontario
  • Ontario Heritage Act: The 2005 amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act established permanent demolition control of designated heritage properties and introduced provincial powers to designate and prevent the demolition of provincially significant heritage properties as well as other significant changes to Ontario’s heritage planning and conservation regime.
Our office is also involved in major national and provincial initiatives such as:

  • The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC): We provide legal advice and support to the Ontario 2010 Olympic Secretariat which is tasked with coordinating Ontario's participation and on-site presence at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Secretariat is moving forward with a number of initiatives leading up to the Olympics to promote tourism, investment and trade in Ontario.
  • Capital Funding Agreements for cultural and tourism infrastructure projects including major redevelopment projects such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Ballet School, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

What students do

Our articling student is given an exciting opportunity to work with all levels of counsel and is actively involved in substantive areas of work including:

  • Legal research and analysis, caselaw and statute research, and comparative analysis of law from different jurisdictions
  • Preparing case summaries and legal memoranda
  • Assisting in drafting legislation, Minister’s orders, contracts and other legal documents
  • Attending client meetings.

Why choose us

Our Legal Services Branch is small, collegial, proactive, progressive, client-oriented. As an articling student in our branch, you will be exposed to a wide variety of practice areas and given the opportunity to do transactional work.  You will have direct contact with clients and benefit from our in-branch education programs provided by the branch’s education committee.

The variety and quality of work that I was given far surpassed all my expectations for the articling term. I was entrusted with complex legal tasks and given substantial autonomy to attempt to resolve them. At the same time, counsel were always available to discuss any difficult issues and they consistently offered excellent feedback on the results. I was also provided with many opportunities to interact directly with clients and with counsel from other branches.

– Former Articling Student

Contact us

Ms. Melissa Gibson

Mr. Bryan Guilfoil