Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Ministry of Health Promotion
- Location: Toronto and Kingston
- Lawyers: 40 (Toronto and Kingston combined)
- Articling Students: 2 (Toronto office)
- Summer Law Students: 3 (Toronto)
- Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Civil, Commercial, Contract, Corporate, Corporate Governance, Health, Human Rights, Mental Health.
Who we are
The Ministry of Attorney General, Civil Law Division, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Branch provides strategic legal advice on challenging, high profile issues facing the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
With approximately 40 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:
- Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
- Amendments to the Mental Health Act to respond to an Ontario Court of Appeal decision.
- Establishing Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman
- Public-private partnerships involving hospitals
- Regulating laboratory services
- Funding for health care practitioners (physicians, nurses, midwives)
- Long-term care home regulatory and enforcement issues
- Electronic personal health information
- Regulation of e-cigarettes
- Fraud and personal health information breach 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, long-term care, regulated health professions, public health, eHealth, 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 of the Ministry of the Attorney General, are involved in litigation, judicial reviews and prosecutions.
Our major cases
- Joshi v. Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (2015): Decision by the Superior Court of Justice holding that prohibition orders under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act can only be issued to a person who has committed an offence under the Act and not to the current operator of a place where an offence was committed under previous ownership.
- P.S. v Ontario (2014): Action challenging the constitutionality of the Mental Health Act. The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the provisions permitting the involuntary committal of a patient for more than 6 months are unconstitutional unless the conditions of a patient’s detention could be addressed.
- Katz Group Canada Inc. v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care) (2013): The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld the validity of regulations prohibiting pharmacies from selling private label drugs, relying on the principle that a successful challenge requires that regulations be shown to be inconsistent with the objectives of their enabling statutes. The regulations were consistent with the goal of controlling drug prices.
Recent legislative projects
- Bill 198: Immunization of School Pupils Amendment Act, 2016: This Bill, if passed, would strengthen the requirements to obtain exemptions from mandatory school vaccines and improve how these vaccines are reported.
- Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act, 2016: The Act is amended to provide for prescribed products and substances, in addition to tobacco.
- Health Information Protection Act, 2016: Includes amendments to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 providing for the development and maintenance of the electronic health record and regulating the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information through the electronic health records.
- Mental Health Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015: A law that enables the Consent and Capacity Board to address the residual liberties of long-term involuntary patients
- Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015: Restrictions placed on the sale and use of e-cigarettes.
- Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015: When in force, this Act will require owners and operators of regulated food service premises to display the number of calories in food offered for sale.
What students do
Our students have the opportunity to work with experienced counsel on a range of legal matters. 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 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 will work directly with many senior lawyers in our office.
Our student committee organizes monthly “Lunch and Learn” sessions for students and counsel to help promote education and knowledge transfer. 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…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 judgement 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, our students participate in all aspects of the office and attend 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, Student Coordinator
Ministry of Attorney General, Civil Law Division
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Branch