Published Results-Based Plan 2013-14

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 over 540,000 new charges each year. The ministry is committed to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and has implemented initiatives to reduce delays 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 a more effective and efficient criminal justice system by reducing criminal court delay.

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 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 adults with no one else to act on their behalf.

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

  • representing children in child protection proceedings, litigation and custody and access disputes 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 2013-14 Accrual Estimates and 2012-13 Interim Actuals.

Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the Ontario Budget

Click on the image to open full-size image

MINISTRY FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Table 1: Ministry Planned Expenditures 2013-14

Table 1 outlines the Ministry’s Planned Expenditures for 2013-14.

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

Table 2 outlines the Operating and Capital Summary by Vote for 2013-14.

* 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 2013 Ontario Budget.

Click on the image to open full-size image

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 2013-14.

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 approximately 1,000 Crown attorneys for that purpose. The ministry is working to improve the effective functioning of the criminal justice system, which receives over 540,000 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 Program staff 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% of the operations centre including law enforcement, Correctional Services, Probation and Parole, Ministry of the Attorney General and Victim/Witness Assistance personnel, believed that the establishment of the Centre had improved their ability to do their jobs. This increased to 88% in 2011. In 2013-14 MAG will continue its efforts to reduce gang violence and promote public safety by collaborating with its justice partners in the vigorous prosecution of gun crimes.

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 and the service provided to serve the public interest. It is achieving this by better focusing existing resources and supporting innovation and collaboration among criminal court leaders and justice system participants.

This sustained effort has entered a new phase using a benchmark approach to measure progress and promote continuous improvement in the criminal justice system throughout 2013-14. 

Recognizing the success of the strategy’s evidence-based approach, the use of data continues to be a focus for achieving better outcomes.

Transparency and accountability are among the hallmarks of the Justice on Target strategy. In 2013-14, the ministry will continue to report bi-annually on both the progress of Ontario’s criminal justice system in case processing times and the goals for improvement using provincial benchmarks as a measuring tool. The benchmarks establish a general number of appearances and days for most adult criminal cases in the system, taking into account that every case is unique and that not every case can or should meet benchmarks 100% of the time.

The strategy has established specific goals to improve the percentage of cases meeting the benchmarks in each of six categories.  The following table demonstrates the provincial goals for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2013 compared to baseline data for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2011:

The following table demonstrates the provincial goals for the period January 1 to December 31, 2013 compared to baseline data for the period of January 1 to Dece3mber 31, 2011.

Information about the goals and the progress for all Ontario Court of Justice criminal court locations continues to be available to the public upon request.

In 2013-14, all Ontario Court of Justice criminal courthouses in the province (including satellite offices) will continue to be engaged in the strategy. All court sites will continue to monitor initiatives and implement new solutions to address local court delays and ensure sustained improvement.

The Justice on Target strategy has identified priority areas of focus as it continues its efforts in 2013-14, including bail, disclosure, trial readiness and effective use of existing technologies.

In addition to these areas of focus, the strategy will continue to support positive change in Ontario’s criminal courts by:

  • providing data to assist local leaders in measuring the impact of their efforts while identifying new areas of opportunity;
  • identifying and sharing leading practices established across the province;
  • facilitating learning and information sharing sessions;
  • developing implementation guides and other tools to assist in identifying and implementing new and more efficient and effective processes.

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.

Regional committees, comprised of key justice sector leaders, will continue to monitor progress and establish goals for sites within their respective regions.

Through JOT, all justice participants will continue working in a way that respects their independent roles and encourages collaboration, innovation and continuous improvement in the criminal justice system.

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. LAO now receives an additional $60 million per year over its 2009 base funding. This new investment has helped LAO to:

  • allocate additional funding for enhanced family law and poverty law services;
  • increase the hourly fees for criminal, family, immigration and refugee and mental health lawyers by an average of 5% per year for seven years;
  • institute block fees for standard criminal cases;
  • increase funding for expert defence witnesses;
  • implement enhanced fees for the most complex major criminal cases;
  • provide greater quality control and ensure 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 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, and over 95% of criminal matters are heard in courts that have an LAO office on-site. The percentage of decisions on LAO applications that were made within one business day increased from 64% in 2009 to over 70% in 2012-13; the goal for 2013-14 is to continue to improve that performance.

Over the past five years, LAO has increased assists provided by 31.7%, or 253,000 additional assists per year, which includes: certificate services through the private bar; duty counsel assists in courthouses; court worker assistance with forms preparation and help in courthouse locations; and public legal information and summary legal advice over the phone through LAO’s toll-free Client Service Centre.

In the 2013-14 Ontario Budget, delivered in May 2013, the government announced it is investing $30 million over three years in the legal aid system to improve access to justice and enhance outcomes for low income people, victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable groups with the focus on family law. This will be accomplished by strengthening the capacity of family law service centres and other community and legal clinics across Ontario to respond to evolving needs, and ensure direct services are sustainable over the long term.

Funding will be allocated to initiatives that meet the objectives of increased access and enhanced frontline services. In 2013-14 the ministry will work with LAO to develop a framework for LAO to allocate funds to meet the objectives of increased access and enhanced frontline services.

Report on First Nations Representation On Ontario Juries

On February 26, 2013, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci released his report, “First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries”, which proposed a number of ways to increase First Nations representation on juries, and strengthen the province’s justice system.

Since no solution to increase First Nation representation on jury rolls can occur without working directly with First Nation partners, in 2013-14 an implementation committee will be formed that includes representatives from the First Nations community. The committee will consider the report’s recommendations, and how they might be implemented. An advisory group will also be set up to provide advice to the Attorney General on broader justice issues relating to First Nations and the justice system.

The ministry has also appointed an Assistant Deputy Attorney General to lead the ministry’s participation on the implementation project.

Public Inquiry into Elliot Lake Mall Collapse

In July 2012, the ministry announced that the Honourable Justice Paul R. Belanger would lead an independent public inquiry into the tragic events at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake.

The inquiry’s public hearings began on March 4, 2013. In 2013-14 the commission’s work will continue, and the Commissioner’s goal is to deliver a final report to the Attorney General within 12-18 months after beginning the inquiry.

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’s Report was released in November 2012. In 2013-14 the ministry will continue to examine the report’s recommendations in detail as they will help point the way to making the system even stronger.

Protect the Interests of Victims and Vulnerable People

Victim Services

In 2013-14, 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 are provided on a priority basis to the most vulnerable victims and witnesses of violent crimes including: domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and sexual assault, hate crimes and to families of homicide or traffic fatality victims. 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 2012 the standard was reached over 95% of the time.

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

  • modernizing systems and procedures to better improve program efficiency, consistency and allocation of resources;
  • enhancing outreach to stakeholders;
  • redesigning client satisfaction surveys and providing greater access to the survey for clients through a web-based channel.

This work will continue in 2013-14.

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 Mushkegowuk Council has been selected to deliver the new services tailored to the needs of the Aboriginal community that help victims of sexual and physical assault, elder and child abuse, and families of homicide victims. In 2013, these services will be implemented in the Moose Cree, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Weenusk First Nations, the MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation, Moose Factory and the Town of Moosonee.

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.

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. 

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% of requests for emergency and funeral expenses are approved within three business days of receipt of the request, and that 90% of requests for short-term counselling are approved within five business days.

In 2012 those standards were met with over 95% of counselling requests approved within five business days and nearly 91% of funeral requests approved within three business days. 

In 2013-14 the ministry will continue to fund time-limited programs aimed at helping victims of specific crimes or with exceptional needs.  The ministry is currently evaluating the effectiveness of these programs.

For example, a community-based Family Court Support Worker Program was expanded in April 2012 and in 2013-14, will continue to help victims of domestic violence involved in the family court process navigate the court system.

Services for male survivors of sexual abuse are provided across Ontario through a network of agencies that deliver counselling and peer support. A 24-hour toll-free crisis and referral telephone service is also available. 

To help better serve victims of human trafficking, the ministry released a call for applications to invest up to $150,000 in an online training initiative for service providers. This initiative will allow them to better support victims of human trafficking. The ministry entered an agreement with the successful applicant in April 2013. The development of the training curriculum is underway, and it is expected to be launched in December 2013.

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. 

With Ontario’s aging population, OPGT is experiencing escalating workloads. Processes and procedures are continuously being reviewed to ensure maximum efficiency.

The ministry delivers and supports special services for Ontario’s children. The Office of the Children’s Lawyer represents children in child protection proceedings, litigation and custody and access disputes.

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.

In June 2011, the Ontario Court of Justice launched the Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDVC) in Toronto. The one family, one judge pilot allows a family who is dealing with domestic violence and family law issues to have both their criminal and family law cases heard by the same judge. In April 2013 this IDVC was expanded to an additional criminal court location in Toronto.

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.

The following measure shows the commitment to enhancing access to justice:

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

This Performance Measure chart shows that in 2012-13, 87.3% of court clients with single filings were served within 30 minutes.  The target for 2013-14 is 90%.

Modernization and Innovation

In 2013-14 the ministry will continue to focus on its modernization agenda to help meet its goal to continuously improve the provision of a fair, effective and accessible justice system. A new Innovation Office, led by the Associate Deputy Minister, is overseeing this important work. There are a number of critical initiatives, many supported by new technology, that the ministry has committed to and that are designed to improve the ways in which justice services are provided to the public. The ministry is also developing a strategic plan to guide its work over the next five years.

Family Justice

The ministry is working collaboratively on several initiatives to modernize the delivery of family justice, including:

  • working with Ontario’s Family Responsibility Office on measures to improve the payment of child support by payors who are substantially in arrears;
  • developing local best practices for family cases in response to a recommendation in the Drummond Report;
  • reducing wait times for joint or uncontested divorces by creating centralized hubs to process them; (Centralized staff will have expertise in processing divorces and will provide a thorough, expert review to ensure cases are judge-ready. They will also have direct access to the federal registry of divorce proceedings.)
  • redesigning Family Court Forms to make them more accessible, understandable and easier to use;
  • piloting the production of orders in court using standard clauses developed by the ministry in consultation with the judiciary and the bar.

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.

Growth in the regional municipalities of Peel and York and the County of Simcoe has resulted in significant increases to workload in these jurisdictions with resulting pressures on courtroom usage. To address these challenges, the ministry is moving forward with an interim facility strategy while longer term planning continues. Throughout 2013 and 2014, the ministry, working with Infrastructure Ontario, will oversee the installation of modular buildings adjacent to the existing courthouses that will provide additional courtroom capacity and space for associated support functions. The Newmarket project is expected to be completed in fall 2013 and Barrie in early 2014. The site plan for the Brampton project is expected to be approved by summer 2013.

The ministry is committed to working closely with all of its justice partners to improve security in its courthouses. Security improvements are being made at the Barrie and Newmarket courthouses, and at the downtown Toronto courthouses at 330, 361 and 393 University Avenue and Osgoode Hall.

A number of other projects are underway across the province to improve the security of courthouses in Chatham, Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie. These renovations will create a single point of entry and improve the queuing and screening of visitors. The Sault Ste. Marie courthouse is expected to be completed in June 2013, the Chatham project in July 2013 and Ottawa in fall 2014.

The ministry, in conjunction with Infrastructure Ontario, will complete the remaining three new consolidated courthouses in the province. Expected completion dates are:

  • Quinte – mid-2013
  • Thunder Bay – fall 2013
  • St. Thomas – late fall 2013

Note: Expected completion dates may be subject to change due to circumstances beyond Ministry control (e.g. Labour disruptions, weather-related delays etc.)

In addition to bringing justice services under one roof, these new facilities demonstrate the ministry’s commitment to delivering courthouses that meet the highest standards for accessibility, green construction, security and technology.

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 will be assessed through the next survey to be conducted in 2013-14. It is expected that the satisfaction rate will be at 90% or above.

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 2012-13, 100% of source laws were posted on the e-Laws website within two business days.

Protection of Public Participation Act

In 2010, after a number of potential abusive lawsuits came to the attention of the Ontario government, the ministry convened an expert panel to explore the issue, and to recommend steps that could be taken to prevent them.

Over the past two years, the ministry has carefully studied the panel’s recommendations, along with the submissions of individuals and organizations.

On June 4, 2013, the government introduced legislation that, if passed, would allow courts to quickly identify and deal with abusive lawsuits, minimizing the emotional and financial strain on defendants, and the waste of court resources.

Clustering Adjudicative Tribunals

In an effort to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of tribunal operations, the ministry is moving forward with a project to co-locate the downtown Toronto offices of the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario agencies, which will promote the sharing of resources and expertise and provide the public with an easier way to access these important services. Initial planning for this initiative is underway and it is expected that moves will begin in 2015.

The clustering of tribunals promotes cross-agency cooperation and coordination leading to better and more consistent services to clients and promoting adjudicative excellence. The Drummond Report recommended that the ministry continue clustering adjudicative tribunals, to develop a more modern governance and accountability structure for Ontario’s adjudicative tribunals.

Effective April 1, 2013, five adjudicative tribunals were transferred to the responsibility of the ministry, under the direction of the newly-created cluster, Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO). These tribunals are the:

  • Animal Care Review Board;
  • Fire Safety Commission;
  • Licence Appeal Tribunal;
  • Ontario Civilian Police Commission;
  • Ontario Parole Board.

This newest cluster is being led by interim Executive Chair Gary Yee.

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