Ontario Regional Office
Regulatory Law Section
March 2010


1.1 Background

The Ontario Regional Office (ORO) is located in Toronto and consists of approximately 530 employees. As is the case with all regional offices, its first client is the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada. Other clients include the Government of Canada and federal departments and agencies in the south-western and central regions of Ontario. The ORO is organized to mirror the Department’s portfolio structure. It includes nine sections, one of which is the Regulatory Law Section (RLS), which is part of the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP). As of April 1, 2009, the Regulatory Law Section includes the Public Law Group, which was formally part of the Government Law Services Section of the ORO. The RLS also continues to provide legal advisory and litigation services to certain specified former client departments or agencies of the BRLP that are now within the Public Safety, Defence and Immigration (PSDI) Portfolio (i.e. Public Safety Emergency Preparedness (PSEP), which includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Correctional Services Canada, and the National Parole Board).

Clients of the Regulatory Law Section are involved in a diverse range of regulatory and public safety activities that include the safety of food, health, environment, social welfare, personal safety, and public security. The work of counsel in the RLS primarily involves the conduct of civil litigation. The RLS is comprised of 50 lawyers and 30 support staff. The O&M budget for 2009-10 is approximately $0.5 million. More detailed contextual information is contained in Appendix A.

The potential key risk factors that were considered in relation to this audit entity included: impact of legal work on client departments and agencies; appropriateness of linkages with Department of Justice organizations; ability to respond to client demand for legal services; the level of efficiencies in the organization and in workload management; adequacy of information for decision making; accurate reporting of performance information; provision of consistent legal advice and litigation services; management of electronic information; and appropriateness of linkages with clients.

1.2 Audit Objectives and Scope

The overall objective of this audit was to review and assess the framework within which the RLS delivers services to its clients and to recommend improvements to this framework.

The audit team examined and assessed:

  • the management framework (policies, practices, and procedures relating to planning, organizing, controlling, leading, and communicating);
  • the management of human, financial, and materiel resources;
  • the reliability of information systems for decision-making and accountability purposes;
  • the extent of compliance of systems, procedures, and practices with key legislation (i.e. regulations and key central agency/departmental policies relating to the Financial Administration Act, Official Languages Act, Government contracting regulations, and Employment Equity);
  • risk and legal file management and forecasting demand for legal services;
  • the appropriateness of interfaces with other Justice Canada sectors and client departments/agencies;
  • the level of client satisfaction with the legal services provided.

The planning and the on-site examination phases for this audit were carried out between July and October 2009.

Details on the audit methodology are outlined in Appendix B.

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