Legal Services provides the highest quality of legal services to the City of Toronto and functions as a strategic resource for Council, City Divisions and Agencies. Legal Services responds to the increasing demand by the City for legal services and promotes risk management and various mitigation strategies.

Budget Notes

Legal Services provides the highest quality of legal services to the City of Toronto and functions as a strategic resource for Council, City Divisions and Agencies. Legal Services responds to the increasing demand by the City for legal services and promotes risk management and various mitigation strategies.

2018 Budget Summary

The total cost to deliver these services to Toronto residents is $62.476 million gross and $19.209 million net.

The 2018 Operating Budget reflects a net expenditure reduction of $0.095 million, or 0.5% from the 2017 Approved Operating Budget. The reduction is primarily attributable to increased cost recoveries from internal client programs and contribution from reserves. The Program is able to more than offset the operating base budget pressures for salaries and benefits and additional resources required to support key service priorities.

Fast Facts

  • 87% of cases resolved after prosecutor action through early resolution
  • Over 275 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings assigned and attended
  • 99.3% of employment law matters referred to Legal Services are handled by in-house counsel
  • Approximately 45,000 hours spent on drafting opinions/contracts/agreements
  • Approximately 112,000 hours spent reviewing contracts/agreements and other legal documents

*The above are projections to year-end 2017.

Trends

  • Approximately 20% of staff are eligible to retire over the next 5 years. As part of succession planning and a strategy to reduce salary and benefit costs, Legal Services continues to recruit junior lawyers, where feasible, to replace senior lawyers.
  • Increase in the number of significant city-building projects requiring legal assistance.
  • Increasing complexity in Prosecution cases is resulting in increasing costs as cases require more investigation, court time, staff resources, and research materials.
  • The number of OMB hearings (excluding Liquor Licences Board hearings) has increased in 2017 and are expected to further increase in 2018 due to Bill 139. This number may reduce in future years if Bill 139 passes.

Key Service Deliverables for 2018

  • Legal Services is responsible for the provision of legal services and the promotion of risk management and mitigation strategies to the City. The 2018 Operating Budget will provide funding to:
    • Attend Committee/Community Councils and City Council meetings.
    • Continue working with Finance and Risk Management Division to increase claims work capacity.
    • Maximize courtroom trial time by rebalancing caseloads.
    • Continue successful implementation of the early resolution process.
    • Educate clients in the various practice areas to minimize City liabilities.
    • Educate clients in enforcement divisions in proper court process and procedures
    • Prosecute a wide range of City by-laws and Provincial statute violations, including sewer pollution, tree destruction, parking offences, Fire Code and Building violations and zoning.
    • Inspector training and agreement negotiations relating to provincial offences.
    • Represent and defend the City at all levels of courts and tribunals which include the Ontario Municipal Board, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, the Labour Relations Board, the Human Rights Tribunal, the Workplace Safety and the Insurance Appeals Tribunal.
    • Manage/administer the new Administrative Penalty System, allowing for faster resolution of parking tag offences.

Our Key Issues & Priority Actions

  • Opportunities for savings or benefits to the City through changes to Federal/Provincial Legislation
    • Continue to review relevant legislation to identify opportunities for cost savings as well as avenues for additional revenues to the City.
  • Manage increased service demands due to increasing complexity and duration without any increases in resources
    • Provide legal advice for 2018 municipal election
    • Continue to monitor and efficiently schedule staff resources.
    • Continue succession planning to maintain core body of knowledge and staffing.
    • The 2018 Budget includes $0.120 million for an organizational review which will identify process efficiencies and improve document and file management in preparation for office modernization.
    • Continue successful implementation of the Administrative Penalty System (APS).
    • Continue to educate clients in enforcement divisions in proper court processes and procedures.
  • Increasing numbers and complexity of Ontario Municipal Board hearings is straining resources and resulting in delays in processing development agreements.

2018 Operating Budget Highlights

  • The 2018 Operating Budget reflects a net expenditure reduction of $0.095 million, or 0.5% from the 2017 approved Operating Budget. This was achieved through reduction measures taken based on the following:
    • Base budget pressures are primarily due to inflationary increases for salary and benefit and annualization of APS support costs.
    • The reduction is primarily attributable to increased cost recoveries from internal client programs and higher Contribution from the Development Application Fee Reserve.
    • Additional positions required for New/Enhanced Service Priorities are fully funded by client programs.
  • Staff complement will decrease by 4.6 from 2017 to 2018.
  • The 2018 Operating Budget of $62.476 million gross and $19.209 million net provides funding for three services: Civil Litigation, Prosecution and Solicitor.