Departmental Legal Services Unit
Canada Border Services Agency
August 2011

Appendix A – Contextual Information

LSUs are responsible for providing client organizations with legal advice and assistance to facilitate their operations, and for ensuring that their policies, programs, and operations conform to the law. LSUs interact with other sectors of the Department of Justice regarding litigation with which their clients are involved and to obtain advice on specialized matters, such as compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. LSUs are generally located in the same building as the client department, which facilitates interaction, promotes communication, and allows LSU management to attend their client’s senior management committee meetings.

All LSU lawyers are Department of Justice employees while support staff are employees of the client department. The client department also assumes the cost of office materials, supplies, and equipment, and provides furnished accommodation to the LSU.

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

Legal services are billed to the client department based on a set formula approved by Treasury Board and are settled through interdepartmental settlements. The CBSA LSU was created in early 2004 from portions of the LSUs of two departments (Revenue Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada) to serve the newly created CBSA. The CBSA LSU provides a full range of legal services (legislative, advisory, and litigation support). The LSU also supports the organizational and corporate needs of the CBSA.

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