Departmental Legal Services Unit
Natural Resources Canada
April 2010


DLSUs are responsible for providing client organizations with legal advice and assistance to facilitate their operations, and ensuring that DLSU policies, programs, and operations conform to the law. The DLSUs interact with other sectors of the Department of Justice with respect to litigation that their clients may be involved in, and to obtain advice on specialized matters, such as compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A close relationship typically develops between DLSUs and their clients. DLSUs are generally located in the same building as the client’s senior management team. Most DLSU heads regularly attend their client’s departmental management committee meetings.

All DLSU lawyers are Department of Justice employees. Support staff are employees of the client department. The costs of the DLSU’s lawyers are covered by a rate structure formula based on the average salary of all lawyers at a given level (i.e. LA1 or LA2), as well as an O&M charge of two percent of salary for training plus $1,600 for bar fees; central administrative support costs, set at $4,266 per employee; and employee benefits, set at 20 percent of salary.

All lawyers working in a DLSU are costed according to this rate structure, whether they are funded by the Department of Justice or by the client department. This allows a total cost for all lawyers working in each DLSU to be calculated. The DLSU A-base is then subtracted from that total cost, and the client department or agency is billed quarterly for the difference.

The client department is also billed for services provided via the DLSU by lawyers in the Department of Justice’s headquarters units, such as the Constitutional and Administrative Law Section. In addition, the client department directly funds the salaries of the support staff, provides funding for office materials and supplies, and directly furnishes computer equipment and accommodation.

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