Published Results-Based Plan 2012-13

MINISTRY OVERVIEW

The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system that reflects the needs of diverse communities across the province.  The ministry employs approximately 8,000 staff who provide services in criminal, civil, family and small claims courts, the ministry’s agencies, the prosecution of crime, services to victims, support of vulnerable people and legal services to government.

The ministry is guided by three key strategies that support the government priority of justice and the commitment to "keep families safe and secure".  They are:

Deliver an Effective Justice System

The ministry helps protect community, family and personal safety through the effective prosecution of offences.

The criminal justice system receives almost 600,000 new charges each year.  The ministry is determined to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and has implemented initiatives to reduce delay in Ontario’s criminal courts and move criminal cases through the justice system faster and more effectively.

The ministry’s Justice on Target strategy seeks to achieve more effective and efficient court processes by reducing the provincial average number of court appearances and days needed to complete a criminal case.

The ministry continues to support and work with Legal Aid Ontario as it continues to modernize its services to provide high-quality legal services to low-income Ontarians.

As part of Ontario’s Aboriginal Justice Strategy, the province supports a variety of programs for both Aboriginal offenders and victims that provide equitable, coordinated, effective and responsive criminal justice services, including victim services, to Aboriginal people.

The Bail Verification and Supervision Program enables people accused of criminal offences who are not a threat to the community, but do not have the resources to meet bail conditions, to be released from pre-trial custody.

The ministry administers approximately 146 statutes or parts of statutes and maintains public accountability for the administration of:

Protect the Interests of Victims and Vulnerable People

The ministry provides support services for victims of crime through initiatives such as the Victim/Witness Assistance Program, and through community-based victim services.  As an advisory agency, the Office for Victims of Crime works to strengthen victims’ services by consulting with victims and advising the Attorney General on ways to improve services to victims.  The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board awards compensation to victims of certain Criminal Code of Canada offences.

The ministry provides and supports a wide array of services for vulnerable people through community, agency and court-based initiatives, including decision making by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee for mentally incapable people with no one else to act on their behalf.

The ministry also delivers or supports special services for Ontario’s children, including:

  • representing children through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer;
  • assisting families with custody and access issues through the Supervised Access Program.  The government provides transfer payment funding to community-based, non-profit organizations to provide Supervised Access services throughout the province in 52 court districts.

The ministry is responsible for the Ontario Human Rights Code and for the arm’s-length agencies that administer the Code.  Ontario’s human rights system is made up of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. The system reinforces Ontario’s leadership in human rights and addresses systemic discrimination.

Provide an Efficient Court System

The ministry is responsible for administering criminal, civil, family and small claims courts.  In these courts, ministry employees provide courtroom, judicial and administrative support, including maintaining court records, enforcing civil orders, collecting fines and fees and giving information to the public.  The ministry also works with the judiciary and justice partners on measures to improve access to justice, and to encourage alternatives to litigation in appropriate cases.

The ministry is also guided by a strategy that supports the government commitment to “serve the public interest”.

The ministry supports the role of the Attorney General as Chief Law Officer of the Crown.  It provides the government with expert legal services, advocacy and representation before tribunals and at all levels of court.

The following schematic shows how the Ministry’s programs support the government’s Priority of Justice and the commitment to Keep Families Safe and Secure.

The following schematic shows how the Ministry’s programs support the government’s Priority of Justice and the commitment to Serve the Public Interest.


MINISTRY LEGISLATION

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

Administration of Justice Act
Age of Majority and Accountability Act
Apology Act, 2009
Arbitration Act, 1991
Assessment Review Board Act
Bail Act
Blind Persons' Rights Act
Class Proceedings Act, 1992
Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act
Compensation for Victims of Crime Act
Courts of Justice Act
Crown Witnesses Act
Dog Owners' Liability Act
Environmental Review Tribunal Act, 2000
Evidence Act
Execution Act
Fines and Forfeitures Act
Habeas Corpus Act
Hospitals and Charitable Institutions
Human Rights Code
Judicial Review Procedure Act
Juries Act
Justices of the Peace Act
Legal Aid Services Act, 1998
Legislation Act, 2006
Limitations Act, 2002
Negligence Act
Notaries Act
Ontario Heritage Act, Part III
Ontario Municipal Board Act
Ontario Works Act, 1997 (section pertaining to Social Benefits Tribunal)
Police Services Act (sections pertaining to Office of the Independent Police Review Director)
Provincial Offences Act
Public Inquiries Act, 2009
Real Property Limitations Act
Rescuing Children from Sexual Exploitation Act, 2002 (Parts III and IV) (not in force)
Safe Streets Act, 1999
Statutory Powers Procedure Act
Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, 2009
Victims’ Bill of Rights, 1995

FAMILY LAW

Child and Family Services Act (sections pertaining to Child and Family Services Review Board, Custody Review Board)
Children's Law Reform Act
Family Law Act
Parental Responsibility Act, 2000

INTER-JURISDICTIONAL

Enforcement of Judgment Conventions Act, 1999
Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002
International Commercial Arbitration Act
International Interests in Mobile Equipment Act (Aircraft Equipment), 2002 (not in force)
Inter-Provincial Summonses Act
Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act
Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (UK) Act
Settlement of International Investment Disputes Act, 1999 (not in force)
Trans-boundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act

PROPERTY STATUTES

Accumulations Act
Aliens' Real Property Act
Conveyancing and Law of Property Act
Disorderly Houses Act
Escheats Act
Expropriations Act
Fraudulent Conveyances Act
Mortgages Act
Occupiers' Liability Act
Partition Act
Property and Civil Rights Act
Religious Organizations' Lands Act
Short Forms of Leases Act
Trespass to Property Act

BUSINESS REGULATION

Absconding Debtors Act
Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 (sections related to Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario)
Bulk Sales Act
Business Records Protection Act
Charities Accounting Act
Commercial Mediation Act, 2010
Construction Lien Act
Costs of Distress Act
Creditors' Relief Act, 2010
Electronic Commerce Act, 2000
Employers and Employees Act
Frustrated Contracts Act
Gaming Control Act, 1992
International Sale of Goods Act
Liquor Licence Act
Mercantile Law Amendment Act
Pawnbrokers Act
Sale of Goods Act
Statute of Frauds
Ticket Speculation Act
Unconscionable Transactions Relief Act
Vendors and Purchasers Act
Wages Act
Warehouse Receipts Act

PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

Architects Act
Barristers Act
Certified General Accountants Act, 2010
Certified Management Accountants Act, 2010
Chartered Accountants Act, 2010
Law Society Act
Professional Engineers Act
Public Accounting Act, 2004
Solicitors Act

CROWN DUTIES/IMMUNITY

Crown Agency Act
Crown Attorneys Act
Ministry of the Attorney General Act
Ombudsman Act
Proceedings Against the Crown Act
Public Authorities Protection Act
Public Officers Act

ESTATES

Absentees Act
Crown Administration of Estates Act
Declarations of Death Act, 2002
Estates Act
Estates Administration Act
Perpetuities Act
Powers of Attorney Act
Public Guardian and Trustee Act
Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (sections pertaining to the Landlord and Tennant Board)
Settled Estates Act
Substitute Decisions Act, 1992
Succession Law Reform Act
Trustee Act
Variation of Trusts Act

OTHER

Civil Remedies Act, 2001
Donation of Food Act, 1994
Education Act (sections pertaining to Special Education Tribunal- English & French)
Executive Council Act
Good Samaritan Act, 2001
Libel and Slander Act
Lieutenant Governor Act
Members’ Integrity Act, 1994
Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians Act, 2000
Prohibiting Profiting from Recounting Crimes Act, 2002
Revised Statutes Confirmation and Corrections Act, 1993
Religious Freedom Act
Time Act

DEMOCRACY STATUTES

Election Act
Election Finances Act
Electoral System Referendum Act, 2007
Legislative Assembly Act
Representation Act, 2005

DORMANT/REPEALED ACTS

Charitable Gifts Act
Domestic Violence Protection Act, 2000
Interpretation Act
Ontario Law Reform Commission Act
Public Accountancy Act
Regulations Act
Statute and Regulation Revision Act, 1998
Statutes Act

AGENCIES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS REPORTING TO THE MINISTRY

The following table outlines the Agencies, Boards, Commissions and Tribunals that report to the Ministry and their 2012-13 Accrual Estimates and 2011-12 Interim Actuals.

Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the Ontario Budget

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MINISTRY FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Table 1: Ministry Planned Expenditures 2012-13

Table 1 outlines the Ministry’s Planned Expenditures for 2012-13.

Table 2: Operating and Capital Summary by Vote 2012-13

Table 2 outlines the Operating and Capital Summary by Vote for 2012-13.

* Estimates for the previous fiscal year are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2012 Ontario Budget.

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MINISTRY RESULTS-BASED PLAN 2013-2014

Through its Results-based Plan, the Ministry of the Attorney General supports the government’s justice priority and its commitment to "keep families safe and secure" and to "serve the public interest".

Keep Families Safe and Secure

The government has committed to the result, "keep families safe and secure".  To achieve this, the ministry has established three strategies with a number of related objectives for 2012- 2013.

Deliver an Effective Justice System

The ministry works to protect community, family and personal safety through the prosecution of offences in all criminal matters and all criminal appeals before all levels of courts in the province.  The ministry employs over 1,000 Crown attorneys for that purpose. The ministry is working to improve the effective functioning of the criminal justice system, which receives almost 600,000 new criminal charges per year.

The ministry continues to play a leading role in the government’s anti-gun and gang strategy. The Guns and Gangs Operations Centre’s coordinated crime-fighting model, which brings the police, Crown Attorneys, Victim/Witness Assistance and other justice professionals under one roof to share information and expertise, continues to improve Ontario’s effort to get guns and gangs off our streets.

In 2009, 85 percent of the operations centre staff believed that the establishment of the Centre had improved their ability to do their jobs. This increased to 88 percent in 2011.

Justice on Target

Through the Justice on Target (JOT) strategy the ministry is fulfilling its commitment to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system, better focus existing resources and enhance public confidence in the administration of justice.

JOT was launched in June 2008 initially as a four-year strategy, setting aggressive targets to reduce the provincial average number of appearances and days needed to complete a criminal case. This sustained effort to improve the criminal justice system will continue past the target date of June 30, 2012 and throughout 2012-13.

The ministry is consulting with justice participants and stakeholders on how best to move forward, building on the strategy’s achievements and lessons learned. Recognizing the success of the strategy’s evidence-based approach, the use of data will continue to be a focus for achieving better outcomes.

In the interest of transparency, criminal court statistics dating back to 2000 are publicly available on the ministry’s website.

Statistics for January 1 to December 31, 2011 are now available on the site. Statistics for the 12-month period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 are expected to be available in early September 2012.

All Ontario Court of Justice criminal courthouses in the province (including satellite offices) have been formally engaged in the strategy at the local level.  In 2012-13, all court sites will continue to monitor initiatives and implement new solutions to address local court delay and ensure sustained improvement.  Data provided to court sites assists local leaders to review progress on initiatives and identify new areas of opportunity.  As leading practices are shared across the province and new initiatives are implemented, cases will continue to move through the system faster and more effectively and more efficiently.

Local leaders include representatives of all criminal justice participant groups – Judges, Justices of the Peace, Defence Counsel, Police, Corrections staff, Duty Counsel, Legal Aid Ontario and other organizations in addition to ministry leaders such as Crown Attorneys and Court Services staff.

Through JOT, these justice participants will continue working in a way that respects their independent roles and encourages collaboration and innovation.

Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is an arm’s-length agency funded largely by the Province of Ontario. LAO is responsible for the delivery of legal aid services to low-income Ontarians. LAO’s authority for providing these services is the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998.

LAO’s mandate includes promoting access to justice throughout Ontario for low-income people by providing consistently high quality legal aid services in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  Legal aid protects constitutional and legal rights and ensures fair and equal treatment for low-income people, such as those facing criminal charges, parents involved in child protection proceedings or seeking custody, access or financial support for themselves or their children, and refugee claimants.

In September 2009 Ontario announced a Legal Aid transformation plan which included an investment of an additional $150 million over four years. This will increase LAO’s base funding by $60 million a year by 2012. As part of this, LAO is moving forward on a number of new initiatives, including:

  • allocating additional funding for enhanced family law and poverty law services;
  • increasing the hourly fees for criminal, family, immigration and refugee and mental health lawyers by an average of 5 percent per year for seven years;
  • instituting block fees for standard criminal cases;
  • increasing funding for expert defence witnesses;
  • implementing enhanced fees for the most complex major criminal cases;
  • providing greater quality control and ensuring greater accountability of legal aid lawyers.

LAO has been working with the ministry to modernize the organization to provide services more effectively and efficiently in a manner that improves access to justice and complements the Justice on Target strategy, and the expansion of family justice services across Ontario.

LAO is improving services available in the courthouses including taking legal aid applications, providing status checks and enhancing duty counsel services. Legal aid application sites are now available in 56 courthouse locations. In 2011-12, 80 percent of decisions on LAO applications were made within one business day; the goal for 2012-13 is to maintain or improve that performance.

LAO’s new Client Service Centre toll-free line also provides comprehensive legal aid assistance, such as issuing legal aid certificates and providing summary legal advice in over 120 languages, including 18 aboriginal languages and dialects.

Jury Rolls

A review is currently underway to enhance collaboration with, and participation by First Nations persons living in reserve communities, on Ontario’s jury rolls.

In 2011 the ministry appointed an Independent Reviewer – the Honourable Frank Iacobucci – to closely examine the current legislation and process and to make recommendations for improving the system. Mr. Iacobucci will be providing the ministry with a final report in late summer 2012.

Ontario’s Human Rights System

The ministry is responsible for the Ontario Human Rights Codeand for the arms-length agencies that administer it.  The new human rights system was launched in June 2008, and consists of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.  When the Legislature passed the Government's human rights reform bill, it included a commitment to review the new system's progress after three years.

In August 2011 the ministry appointed Andrew Pinto, a prominent human rights and employment lawyer, to conduct a review of the implementation and effectiveness of changes resulting from amendments to the Human Rights Code.

Mr. Pinto will prepare a report on his findings and submit it to the Attorney General by summer 2012.

Protect the Interests of Victims and Vulnerable People

Services for Victims

In 2012-13, the ministry’s Ontario Victim Services program will focus on modernizing existing services to provide high quality and timely supports and services to victims of crime.

The Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP), delivered by ministry staff, continues to provide support and information to victims and witnesses of crime.  Services begin once police have laid a charge and continue throughout the criminal court process until the disposition of the case.  The program is available in all 54 court districts across the province.

A measure that demonstrates the performance of this program is its service delivery standard, which requires that V/WAP make efforts to contact clients referred to the program within three business days.  In 2011 the standard was reached over 95 percent of the time.

Improvements are helping to make this long-standing program even more successful by:

  • modernizing systems and procedures to better inform decision making and increase accountability;
  • developing and implementing more consistent management practices;
  • enhancing outreach to stakeholders.

The ministry recognizes the importance of addressing the unique needs of clients living in northern Ontario, particularly Aboriginal clients.

The ministry is investing $1 million over three years (2011-12 to 2013-14) to establish new, integrated victim services in remote Aboriginal communities on the James Bay/Hudson Bay coast.

The ministry will continue to assess the best methods for providing ongoing services to remote communities, in partnership with First Nations and northern service providers.

In 2012-13, the ministry will continue to fund time-limited initiatives aimed at helping victims of specific crimes or with exceptional needs. 

The Victim Quick Response Program provides immediate assistance to victims of violent crime who need help to access short-term counselling, crime scene cleanup or emergency expenses or funeral expenses for family members who are victims of homicide.  Eligible victims have no other financial means available.  The program is now being made permanent.

Measures that demonstrate the performance of this program involve the time it takes to approve requests for services. The established service standard requires that 90 percent of requests for emergency and funeral expenses are approved within three business days of receipt of the request, and that 90 percent of requests for short-term counselling are approved within five business days.

In 2011 those standards were met with over 95 percent of counselling requests approved within five business days and nearly 91 percent of funeral requests approved within three business days.

In 2012-13 the ministry will continue to fund time-limited programs aimed at helping victims of specific crimes or with exceptional needs.

For example, a community-based Family Court Support Worker Program began delivering services in family courts across Ontario in December 2011.

Family Court Support Workers are now helping victims of domestic violence, involved in the family court process, when they are at the greatest risk of further violence. Depending on the specific needs of the client, the worker may provide a number of services, including information about the family court process, help with safety planning and referral to community services.

Services for male survivors of sexual abuse are provided across Ontario through a newly developed network of agencies that deliver counselling and peer support. A 24-hour toll-free crisis and referral telephone service is also available.  The ministry is currently evaluating the effectiveness of this program.

Programs for Vulnerable People

The ministry provides and supports a wide array of services for vulnerable people through community, agency and court-based initiatives.  This includes decision making by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) for mentally incapable people with no one else to act on their behalf. 

In 2012-13, the OPGT will continue to modernize its information technology system. New releases will enhance the quality of decision making by making available to staff electronically detailed case information and allowing for automatic workflows to the appropriate staff member.

With the aging population, OPGT is experiencing escalating workloads.  Processes and procedures will receive ongoing scrutiny to ensure that as much efficiency as possible is achieved.

The ministry is committed to protecting Ontario’s children and offers a range of services provided by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

The ministry also supports children through the Supervised Access Program, through which non-profit organizations provide safe settings for visits and exchanges between a child and non-custodial parents or other persons, where there are concerns about safety.

Provide an Efficient Court System

The ministry is responsible for the administration of criminal, family, civil and small claims courts in Ontario. It is committed to providing a modern and professional court service that supports accessible, fair, timely and effective justice. Services include:

  • providing public information at court counters at information centres and online;
  • maintaining court records;
  • providing courtroom support for the judiciary;
  • managing juries;
  • delivering family and civil mediation programs;
  • delivering the Mandatory Information Program and information and referral coordinators in family courts;
  • enforcing court orders;
  • providing administrative support for the appointment of judges and other judicial officials.

Some key measures that show how these services enhance access to justice include:

  • Percentage of court clients with single filings who were served in 30 minutes or less*

This Performance Measure chart shows that in 2011-12, 85% of court clients with single filings were served within 30 minutes.  The target for 2012-13 is 90%.
*Note: New measure introduced in 2010/11.

Family Justice

In 2009 the ministry embarked on a plan to make the family justice system faster, more affordable and less confrontational.

In September 2011, the following family justice services were expanded province-wide:

  • a Mandatory Information Program that provides information about the effects of separation on children and options, other than court, that are available to resolve disputes, often faster and for less cost;
  • a Family Mediation Service that can be accessed before after a case has begun, that helps families work out solutions outside the courtroom;
  • information and Referral Coordinators who help direct families entering the family court system and connect them to community services that assist with family breakdown, including counselling and support services and alternatives to litigation.

Some key measures that show the effectiveness of family justice improvements include:

  • Percentage of cases that proceeded to Family Mediation that reached full or partial settlement

This Performance Measure chart shows that in 2011-12, 78.7% of cases that proceeded to Family Mediation reached full or partial settlement.  In 2012-13, the target is 75%.

  • Percentage of Family Mediation clients satisfied with Family Mediation services

This Performance Measure chart shows that in 2011-12, 92.4% of Family Mediation clients were satisfied with Family Mediation services.  The target for 2012-13 is 90%.

  • Percentage of Family Law Information Centre clients satisfied with their services*

This Performance Measure chart shows that in 2011-12, 73.5% of Family Law Information Centre clients were satisfied with their services.  In 2012-13, the target is 90%.
*Note: New survey introduced in 2010/11, with revised categories for assessing satisfaction.

Courthouse Modernization

Ontario is creating a modern, effective and accessible justice system by funding an accelerated new courthouse construction program and investing in existing courthouses.

In mid 2012, the expansion and renovation of the Parry Sound courthouse is expected to be completed.

In early 2013, construction is expected to be completed on the Waterloo Region Consolidated Courthouse. The Quinte Consolidated Courthouse held a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2011 and completion is planned for mid 2013. The St. Thomas Consolidated Courthouse groundbreaking took place in June 2011 and construction is expected to be completed in late 2013. Also in late 2013, construction is expected to be completed on the Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse.

These projects have been developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Infrastructure Ontario.

The ministry has also launched a courthouse wayfinding initiative to make it easier for people to find the services they need.

New signs will make courts more user-friendly and improve accessibility for all courthouse users. A pilot project was completed at the Barrie Courthouse in August 2011. Implementation in Brampton; Gore Bay; Hamilton; Kenora; Kingston; Newmarket; Ottawa; Sarnia; Sudbury; and, Toronto will be completed in 2012. 

Serve the Public Interest

Through its Legal Services Division, the ministry supports the role of the Attorney General as Chief Law Officer of the Crown. It provides the government with expert legal services, advocacy and representation before tribunals and at all levels of court. The percentage of government clients satisfied with services provided by the Legal Service Division was 90.6 percent in 2010-11.  The next survey will be conducted in 2012-13 and it is expected that the satisfaction rate will be similar.

The Office of Legislative Counsel (OLC) is responsible for drafting all provincial bills in both English and French (including private members’ public bills) and drafting all regulations, motions and proclamations and translating them to French as required. OLC also provides legal advice to the Legislative Assembly and Government with respect to the legislative process, bills and regulations. OLC provides editing and publishing services to the Legislative Assembly and Government, oversees the official e-Laws website and supplies all legislative data, including consolidations of statutes and regulations.

In 2011-12, 100 percent of source laws were posted on the e-Laws website within two business days.

Capital/Infrastructure Strategy

The ministry recognizes the importance of “doing more with less” in the current fiscal environment.

The ministry is exploring a number of strategies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of justice services, including:

  • implementing a comprehensive asset management plan to help ensure capital dollars are spent wisely;
  • creating a province-wide, rather than regional approach, to capital investment decisions so that facilities with the greatest needs will be given priority;
  • rebalancing the infrastructure portfolio between government owned facilities and private sector leases;
  • realigning the service level agreements;
  • continuing to explore alternative project delivery opportunities as a way to achieve greater value for money.

The ministry will continue to work with its service providers to transform the way infrastructure decisions are made and to reduce costs while enhancing service delivery.

Clustering adjudicative tribunals across the Ontario Public Service

The ministry has completed the clustering of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario Cluster and is in the process of completing the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Cluster.

Clustering promotes cross-agency cooperation and coordination of operations and administration and enhances consistency in practices, procedures and decision making. The Drummond Report recommended that the ministry continue clustering adjudicative tribunals.

For more information on the ministry’s programs and services, please contact the Ministry of the Attorney General at 1-800-518-7901 or visit ontario.ca/mag