PART I: Published Results-Based Plan 2007-08
Table of Contents:
MINISTRY OVERVIEW STATEMENT
The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system that reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across the province. The ministry employs approximately 8,000 staff who provide services in criminal, civil and family courts, the prosecution of crime, services to victims, support of vulnerable people and legal services to Government.
The ministry is guided by four key strategies to achieve results and support the government priority of "Stronger, Safer Communities". They are:
- Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System
- The ministry protects community and personal safety through effective prosecution of offences. 900 Crown attorneys prosecute approximately 500,000 charges each year.
- Protecting the Interests of the Most Vulnerable
The ministry delivers or supports a number of special
services to vulnerable people most in need. These services
include: decision-making for mentally incapable people with
no one else to act on their behalf by the Office of the
Public Guardian and Trustee, legal representation of children
through the Office of the Children's Lawyer, supervised
access for families with custody and access issues, the Bail
Verification and Supervision Program, and funding for Legal
The ministry is also responsible for the Ontario Human Rights Code and for coordinating Ontario's obligations under international human rights treaties and agreements. The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario - arm's-length agencies responsible for administering the Code - are within the Attorney General's policy and administrative responsibilities.
- Ensuring Access to Victims Services
- The ministry provides or supports services for victims of crime through community and court-based initiatives, such as the Community Grants Program and Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP). As an advisory agency, the Office for Victims of Crime works to strengthen victims' services by consulting with victims and advising government on ways to improve services to victims.
- Delivering a Modern and Efficient Court System
- The ministry is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts. In criminal, civil and family courts, ministry employees provide courtroom and administrative support, maintain court records, enforce civil orders, collect fines and fees and convey information to the public. The ministry also works with the judiciary and justice partners on measures to improve access to justice.
- Additionally, the Ministry is guided by a strategy that supports the priority of serving the "Vital Public Interest".
The ministry supports the role of the Attorney General as
Chief Law Officer of the Crown, by providing the government
with expert legal advice, advocacy and representation before
tribunals and at all levels of the court.
The ministry maintains public accountability for the administration of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Assessment Review Board, the Ontario Municipal Board, Board of Negotiation, and the Special Investigations Unit. Decision-making by these bodies is independent of the ministry.
Administration of Justice
AGENCIES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS REPORTING TO THE MINISTRY
|Assessment Review Board||7,619,000||1,091,000||8,417,000||3,653,846|
|Criminal Injuries Compensation Board||35,030,200||25,513,612|
|Ontario Municipal Board||6,784,200||394,200||7,717,000||302,715|
|Ontario Human Rights Commission||13,960,000||13,596,800|
|Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario||941,500||1,502,200|
|Legal Aid Ontario||283,887,600||50,633,000||269,502,600||50,552,300|
PUBLISHED RESULTS-BASED PLAN 2006-07
The Ministry of the Attorney General, through its Results-Based Plan, is committed to meeting the government's priorities of "Stronger, Safer Communities" and serving "Vital Public Interest". The charts in Appendix A and B demonstrate how these priorities, their results and strategies relate to each other.
Stronger, Safer Communities
The government has established the following results:
- Make Ontarians safe in their communities
- Enable young offenders to become contributing members of society
- Make Ontario a safe place for victims of domestic violence
- Better Protect Ontario's children.
To achieve these results, the ministry has established four strategies, with a number of related objectives for 2007-2008:
Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System
The ministry works to protect community and personal safety through the prosecution of offences in all criminal matters and criminal appeals before all levels of courts in the province. 900 Crown attorneys prosecute approximately 500,000 charges per year. The ministry is working to improve the effective and efficient functioning of the criminal justice system. Managing caseload requires a multi-faceted, coordinated approach and the cooperation of all partners in the justice system, who include Crowns, police, the judiciary and the private bar.
The ministry is working to find new and innovative ways to move most criminal cases through the system faster. A more efficient system will allow the ministry to focus its resources on high priority criminal offences and offenders, which will enhance public safety and confidence in the criminal justice system. To this end, the percentage of criminal charges that went to trial was eight per cent in 2006-2007. This helps to ensure that court time is used as efficiently and effectively as possible, and that the most serious charges are able to proceed to trial more quickly. This figure is expected to remain at or below nine per cent in 2007-2008.
Additionally, the percentage of criminal charges resolved without a trial date being set was 77 per cent in 2006-2007, and is expected to be at least 72 per cent in 2007-2008, thereby saving court time for those charges that cannot be resolved prior to trial.
The ministry has developed a framework for change to streamline the system. As part of this framework, three demonstration projects will be continuing across the province in 2007-2008.
One project will move appropriate cases involving the lowest level offences out of the formal court process and provide community-based alternatives to prosecution designed to resolve matters quickly and hold low-risk offenders accountable.
Other initiatives include streamlining the bail process at select high-volume locations and changing the way cases are assigned to Crown attorneys in order to increase continuity and reduce time to trial.
The Youth Justice Committee (YJC) program is an alternative to the formal court process that holds low-risk young offenders accountable and addresses issues that may lead to re-offending. In 2006-2007, 77 per cent of youth who attended a YJC meeting successfully completed the agreement made at the meeting, and it is expected that at least 78 per cent of youth will do so in 2007-2008. An evaluation has shown that 80 per cent of youth who successfully complete the program will have no further contact with the justice system in the year after completion. The YJC program expanded in 2006, and now operates in 46 communities across the province.
The ministry will begin implementing a new Crown Management Information System in 2007-2008. The system will allow for the secure electronic exchange of data within and between Crown attorney's offices, replacing the current paper-based systems. This will help to manage work more efficiently, resolve cases faster, and provide better service to citizens.
The ministry will also continue to employ other measures to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the system, including backlog reduction courts at the busiest court sites.
The ministry will continue to work closely with the judiciary of the Ontario Court of Justice, which determines the assignment of judges, to help ensure that courtrooms are being utilized to their maximum, with no lost time.
As of March 31st, 2007, the Government has appointed 65 judges to the Ontario Court of Justice since October 2003.
Guns and Gangs
The ministry will also continue to play a leading role in the government's anti-gun and gang strategy. In 2007-2008, the government will continue to work with all levels of government and members of the community to find legislative changes and community-based initiatives to end gun violence.
Following through on its commitment to intensify its effort to fight gun violence, in January 2007, the government opened a $26 million state-of-the-art operations centre that allows for highly coordinated investigations and prosecutions of gun and gang crimes. The centre is home to the expanded Guns and Gangs Task Force, the Toronto Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Crown prosecutors, support staff, probation and parole officers, and victim services' staff. The government will continue to call on the federal government for changes to the Criminal Code that lead to stiffer sentences for firearms offences.
The ministry is also set to open its second Major Crime Courtroom in Toronto in the fall of 2007. The major crime courtrooms are designed to increase the criminal justice system's capacity to respond to large-scale prosecutions.
On an ongoing basis, the ministry also supports Aboriginal Justice programs, including the development of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy.
Protect the Interests of the Most Vulnerable
The ministry is committed to protecting the interests of the most vulnerable in the province. A range of services is provided by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, the Office of the Children's Lawyer, the Supervised Access program, the Bail Verification and Supervision program and Legal Aid Ontario.
Some key performance measures related to these services are, as follows:
- percentage of allegations of abuse of mentally incapable adults responded to in 24 hours by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee was 99 per cent in 2006-2007 and is expected to be at or above 94 per cent in 2007-2008.
- percentage of custody/access cases with the Office of the Children's Lawyer representation that are settled without a trial was 64 per cent in 2006-2007 and is expected to be 65 per cent in 2007-2008, thereby protecting children from the anxiety of court and lengthy trials, and saving court time for cases that cannot be settled without a trial.
- percentage of safe visits and exchanges (without incident) between children and their non-custodial parent in Supervised Access Centres was 99.9 per cent in 2006-2007 and is expected to be maintained at or above 98 per cent in 2007-2008, thereby continuing to protect Ontario's children.
- percentage of Bail Verification and Supervision Program clients who attend all of their court appearances was 83 per cent in 2006-2007 and is expected to be at least 83 per cent in 2007-2008, thereby continuing to expedite the court process, and providing verification, supervision and enforcement services to eligible individuals.
The Supervised Access program provides a safe and secure setting where parental visits and child exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers. The program is funded by the ministry and is delivered through partnerships with community-based organizations such as children's mental health centres, neighbourhood support centres, YMCAs and local children's aid societies. It will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2007.
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is an arm's-length agency responsible for the delivery of high quality legal aid services to low-income individuals throughout Ontario. Since 2003, the ministry has increased Legal Aid's base funding by 18 per cent, and proposed to increase funding by $51 million over three years through the government's 2007 budget. In 2007-2008, the ministry is expecting the release of Professor John D. McCamus' review of Legal Aid in Ontario. The Attorney General asked Professor McCamus to update his 1997 report "Blueprint for Publicly Funded Legal Services," and in particular, to investigate ways to ensure regular reviews of the rate paid to lawyers doing legal aid work. He is also reviewing whether LAO has the tools and capacities to manage the legal aid system effectively and efficiently.
In 2006-07, the percentage of Legal Aid Ontario family settlement conferences that resulted in settlement out of court was 61 per cent, and is expected to remain close to that level in 2007-08. This greatly benefits children and their families, and contributes to court efficiency by directing cases away from the courts.
The ministry is responsible for the Ontario Human Rights Code and for coordinating Ontario's obligations under international human rights' treaties and agreements. The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which are arms'-length agencies responsible for administering the Code, are within the Attorney General's policy and administrative responsibilities.
In December 2006, the legislature passed the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006. This act transforms Ontario's 40 year-old human rights' enforcement system so that it can better respond to modern human rights' issues.
When implemented, the new model for human rights will provide a quicker and more efficient way to resolve complaints by allowing claims to be filed directly with an enhanced Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Commission will be better balanced between its roles of investigating human rights' issues and addressing discrimination in Ontario through proactive measures, such as: public education, promotion, public advocacy, research and monitoring.
The act also establishes a new Legal Support Centre, which is to be publicly funded and publicly accountable, to provide legal and other support services to individuals across Ontario related to all aspects of applications to the Tribunal. The 2007 budget proposed to provide this centre with $8 million in funding over three years.
In 2007-2008, the ministry will support the implementation of the new system, including the transfer of the complaint function from the Commission to the Tribunal, and the establishment of the new Legal Support Centre.
To protect children and vulnerable youth, the ministry will work with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in 2007-2008 to implement the government's five-part, $5 million strategy to combat Internet child pornography and luring. For the first time, a unified provincial team of municipal, regional and OPP police officers, Crown attorneys and victim service providers is being brought together to protect children from sexual exploitation on the Internet. The strategy also includes a dedicated tip line, online undercover work, and support for victims and their families.
Ensure Access to Victim Services
The ministry funds community-based agencies that deliver a broad range of services, including: crisis assistance and referral services, sexual assault services, child witness programs, behavioural programs that counsel men who have assaulted their partners, and safety planning for persons at risk of violence.
The ministry's $16 million Victim/Witness Assistance Program is a cornerstone of services provided to victims of violent crime in Ontario. This program, which helped 66,000 people last year, celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2007. It provides direct support, information and referrals to victims and witnesses of crime involved in the criminal court process.
In 2007-2008, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program will open two new satellite offices in Elliot Lake and Geraldton, in addition to the 57 locations across the province where it currently operates.
The percentage of clients satisfied with the services provided by the Victim/Witness Assistance Program was 90 per cent in 2006-2007 and it is expected that clients will continue to be satisfied with this kind of support through 2007-2008, demonstrating the extent to which victims of crime feel they have received support during the court process.
The ministry will also continue to fund projects to help put victims of crime back on the road to recovery. In 2006-2007, the ministry provided $ 3 million to 69 community agencies to support local and provincial projects that address gaps in services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and hate crimes, child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, and under-served and unserved victims. This funding came from the three-year, $15 million community grants program. In 2007-08, $9 million will be made available in grant funding.
In recognition of those who provide victim services, the Attorney General has established the new Victim Services Awards of Distinction. The first awards will be presented in spring 2007, and will recognize individuals or groups who have delivered support to victims of crime, as well as those who work to raise the profile of victim services in the province.
In 2007-2008, the ministry will continue to implement initiatives as part of the government-wide Domestic Violence Action Plan, a $66 million investment over four years in programs and services related to addressing domestic violence. This will include: education and training, more money for supports for shelters and second-stage housing, counselling, prevention and strengthening the justice system response.
The ministry will continue to utilize the Bail Safety Program. The program provides trained staff to interview victims before a bail hearing, and allows Crowns to present the best possible evidence to the presiding judge or justice of the peace. It currently operates in 10 sites across the province.
The government is working on implementation of the recommendations of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group. In December 2006, the group provided recommendations on ways to improve services for victims of hate crimes and to prevent further victimization. The government has struck a Hate Crimes Review and Implementation Project to consider those recommendations that fall within its jurisdiction and to plan the investment of $1.35 million to help strengthen Ontario's communities by taking action against hate crimes.
Deliver a Modern and Efficient Court System
The ministry is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts in Ontario and is committed to providing a modern and professional court service that supports accessible, fair, timely and effective justice services. Services include: providing public information at court counters, maintaining court records, providing courtroom support for the judiciary, managing juries, delivering family and civil mediation programs, enforcing court orders, providing administrative support for the appointment of judges and other judicial officials.
Some key performance measures related to these services are, as follows:
- percentage of civil court customers with single filings who were served in less than 20 minutes was 91 per cent in 2006-2007. It is expected that this level of service will continue through 2007-08, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the court system.
- percentage of family court cases that proceed to mediation, settled (full and partial) through the mediation process was 76 per cent in 2006-2007. This percentage is expected to remain steady through 2007-2008, thereby increasing the efficiency of the court system.
- percentage of small claims court customers with single filings who were served in less than 20 minutes was 94 per cent in 2006-2007. It is expected that this level of service will continue through 2007-2008.
The Access to Justice Act was passed by the legislature in October 2006. It modernizes the justice system and improves access to justice by reforming the justice of the peace system and regulating paralegals. It also amends the Courts of Justice Act and the Limitations Act, and creates a new act that brings the ways Ontario laws are published and interpreted into the electronic age.
The Law Society of Upper Canada, through its Paralegal Standing Committee, will oversee the formal regulation of paralegals, beginning May 1, 2007. In November 2006, the Attorney General appointed five paralegals to this committee, which has a paralegal chair and a non-lawyer majority.
The ministry will be working in 2007-2008 to implement more of the provisions of this act. The new Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee was established in March 2007, and is responsible for providing advice to the Attorney General about justice of the peace appointments.
The Access to Justice Act allows justices of the peace who had retired prior to their mandatory retirement date to return to the bench to serve on a day-to-day basis to help manage the caseload for criminal and Provincial Offences Act proceedings. In 2006-2007, the government designated 23 per diem justices of the peace, and will continue to authorize more in 2007-2008.
Since 2003, the government has appointed 74 full-time presiding justices of the peace, and announced funding in the 2007 budget for the appointment of a further 30.
The ministry will also be in receipt of the Honourable Coulter Osborne's report on the Civil Justice Reform Project. It will review the recommendations contained therein and consider which ones it may implement in 2007-08.
The ministry will also continue to implement the recommendations of the Panel on Justice and the Media. The Attorney General created this panel in 2005 as a forum for the media and the justice system to engage in dialogue. The panel made 17 recommendations in August 2006 in the areas of openness, education, working in the electronic age and the ongoing relationship between justice and the media.
The ministry has already assigned a designated media contact at each courthouse across the province, and announced a pilot project, in partnership with the Court of Appeal, to place cameras in the Court of Appeal.
In 2007-2008, the ministry expects to complete a courthouse expansion and retrofit in Pembroke, and work will continue on similar projects across the province.
Vital Public Interest
The ministry, through its Legal Services Division continues to support the role of the Attorney General as Chief Law Officer of the Crown by providing the government with expert legal advice, advocacy and representation before tribunals and at all levels of court. The percentage of government clients satisfied with services provided by the Legal Services Division was 92 per cent in 2006-2007, and this satisfaction rate is expected to be maintained at or above 90 per cent in 2007-2008.
A key performance measure related to the Ontario Municipal Board is the percentage of decisions issued within 30 days of the end of a hearing. In 2006-2007, 71 per cent of OMB decisions were issued within 30 days of the end of a hearing, and this rate is expected to increase to 85 per cent in 2007-2008, thereby continuing to improve the efficiency of this government agency.
The ministry is also responsible for the administration of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. In response to the report of the Ontario Ombudsman, in 2007-08 the government will provide $12.75 million to enable the board to directly compensate victims of violent crime, and an additional $2 million to allow the board to hire additional adjudicators and staff to speed up the compensation process.
The government is also investing more than $6 million to establish new programs, to be administered by the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat of the Ministry of the Attorney General, which will provide services to victims, such as counselling certificates and emergency expenses, in the immediate aftermath of violent crime, when they need and want the help most.
The Attorney General also announced the appointment of the Chief Justice of Ontario, The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, to forge a new framework for victim support and compensation following broad-based consultation. He will begin after his retirement from the bench in May 2007.
In 2007-2008, the ministry will also be working to enhance access to justice through its involvement in the newly established Law Commission of Ontario. The commission will work with academic institutions, the legal community, the judiciary and the public to generate practical and creative solutions to existing challenges in the legal system. The commission is a partnership between the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Deans of Ontario's six law schools, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario.
The ministry is also ready to begin implementing the provisions of the Independent Police Review Act, 2007. Third Reading debate commenced on April 3, 2007. It is based on the recommendations of a 2005 report by the former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice, The Honourable Patrick Lesage. If passed, it would establish a new independent civilian body to administer the police review system in Ontario.
The proposed independent civilian body would be responsible for receiving complaints and then determining, on a case-by-case basis, who would investigate the complaint: the independent civilian body itself, the police service affected or another police service. Members of the public would still be able to deal directly with their local police service, if they prefer.
The ministry continues its commitment regarding civil asset forfeiture, to take the profit out of unlawful activities and compensate direct victims of unlawful activities. Anticipated litigation cases under the Remedies for Organized Crime and Other Unlawful Activities Act (Civil Remedies Act) include: fraud, money laundering, marihuana grow ops, crack houses, drug trafficking and organized crime.
Finally, the ministry also provides administrative support for public inquiries. Currently, the Cornwall Inquiry into allegations of abuse of young people continues. Headed by Justice Normand Glaude, this inquiry has a broad mandate to look into the response of the justice system and other public institutions to the allegations of historical abuse. It will also look into processes, services and programs that would encourage community healing and reconciliation.
The government expects to receive the report of the Ipperwash Inquiry in spring 2007.
Table 1: Ministry Planned Expenditures 2007-08
|Ministry Planned Expenditures ($) 2007-08|
Table 2: Operating and Capital Summary by Vote 2007-08
|Change from 2006–07 Estimates||Estimates 2006–07
|Interim Actuals 2006–07
|Operating and Capital|
|Family Justice Services||354,735,000||14,105,500||4.1||340,629,500||342,778,470||327,454,023|
|Total To Be Voted||1,311,611,200||60,214,300||4.8||1,251,396,900||1,290,312,026||1,176,898,080|
|Ministry Total Operating and Capital||1,316,375,899||60,226,755||4.8||1,256,149,144||1,312,715,752||1,215,949,237|
|Total Including Consolidation||1,386,528,899||89,224,755||6.9||1,297,304,144||1,353,870,752||1,286,506,837|
|Family Justice Services||761,000||(457,000)||(37.5)||1,218,000||-||-|
|Total Operating Assets To Be Voted||761,000||(457,000)||(37.5)||1,218,000||-||-|