Agent Affairs Program
- Welcome to Agent Affairs
- Legal Agents and the Department of Justice
- Legal Services Contracting Framework
- Deciding to Outsource
- Expression of Interest Process
- Practice Areas
- Geographic Locations
- Requirements to Register Interest
- Sourcing and Selection
- Contracting and Appointment
- How to Register to Become a Legal Agent
- Further Information
Welcome to Agent Affairs
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is responsible for the legal affairs of the government as a whole and for providing legal services to individual departments and agencies. To help the Minister carry out this mandate, the Department of Justice relies on its in-house counsel as well as on private sector law practitioners appointed as Legal Agents. “Law practitioners” include law firms and lawyers, “études de notaires” and notaries in the Province of Quebec, retired judges and law professors.
The Department of Justice invites law practitioners across Canada to register interest in being considered for appointment as Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to provide the Government of Canada with legal advisory, real estate or litigation services in a broad variety of Practice Areas across the country.
This website describes how law practitioners can register their interest in becoming Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. For complete details, visit the section Expression of Interest, where you will find a Registration Form.
Please note that this process does not apply to prosecution work. Information on becoming a Legal Agent of the Director of Public Prosecutions can be found on the PPSC Agent Affairs Program website.
Legal Agents and the Department of Justice
Under the Department of Justice Act, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is responsible for providing legal services to individual departments and agencies and for the legal affairs of the government as a whole. The Department of Justice is the central supplier of legal services to government departments and agencies.
To carry out this mandate, the Department relies not only on its in-house counsel located in regional offices, legal services units or litigation branches across the country, but also on Legal Agents. The term “Legal Agents” refers to private sector law practitioners who are occasionally retained to provide legal services and to act on behalf of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
Legal Agent appointments are contracts that may be entered into only by or under the authority of the Minister of Justice and are not subject to the requirements of the Government Contracts Regulations or the Treasury Board Directive on the Management of Procurement. The Department of Justice is responsible for establishing policies associated with contracting for legal services, as well as the associated administrative processes.
The Department of Justice Agent Affairs Program, created in 1996, established a framework to strengthen the Department’s ability to manage Legal Agents. The overall objective of the Program is to provide functional direction over contracting for legal services with a view to enhancing the stewardship of public resources and securing improved value for money.
In 2003, the Treasury Board Secretariat, in the context of the Expenditure Management Review, recommended that the Department of Justice review its process for retaining Legal Agents. In doing so, the Department considered modern government procurement practices as well as the current practices of large institutional consumers of legal services that use competitive approaches to select their outside law practitioners. The Department paid particular attention to those practices designed to facilitate more transparent and competitive approaches to selecting and engaging private sector law practitioners.
In the fall of 2005, the Department of Justice began implementing a new Legal Services Contracting Framework, along with new processes that align with the general philosophy of government procurement of a fair and accessible system. Subsequently, the Department adopted the Policy on Contracting for Legal Services and Legal Agent Appointments.
Legal Services Contracting Framework
The overall objective of the Legal Services Contracting Framework is to ensure that the Department of Justice has a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated pool of private sector law practitioners to deploy as Legal Agents, using principled processes that meet operational requirements effectively and in a diligent and accountable manner. To that end, the Framework is designed to:
- demonstrate due diligence in the decision to outsource legal work;
- demonstrate fairness, openness, access, and transparency in the selection of private sector law practitioners;
- demonstrate value for money and sound stewardship of public resources; and
- reflect the principles of the Management Accountability Framework and effective procurement.
The basic steps of legal services contracting at the Department of Justice Canada are:
- analyzing the specific requirements of legal work and exercising due diligence in deciding whether to outsource it to the private sector;
- registering law practitioners who have indicated a desire to provide legal services to the Department of Justice Canada and its clients;
- sourcing appropriate law practitioners, according to the specific requirements of the work;
- assessing law practitioners;
- selecting and appointing law practitioners as Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada;
- contracting with law practitioners to perform legal work on behalf of Justice and its clients;
- instructing Legal Agents and monitoring and assessing their performance and associated expenditures, as well as reviewing and taxing accounts in consultation with client departments; and
- gathering information in support of the Agent Affairs Program and the Litigation Practice Management Centre and its operational activities.
Deciding to Outsource
Where there is a need for legal services to respond to an action commenced by or against the Crown or forwarded to the Department of Justice by a government department or agency, or to respond to any other question of a legal nature, the Justice manager responsible decides, in consultation with the client department or agency, whether to assign work to in-house counsel or to recommend that the work be outsourced to a private sector law practitioner. In general, the following types of activities are considered legal services:
- providing legal advice and opinions
- conducting litigation
- drafting legislation and regulations
- negotiating and drafting other legal documents, such as contracts or agreements
- providing general assistance on matters that affect a client’s legal situation
The Department’s in-house resources remain the preferred way of delivering legal services. Before deciding to outsource legal work, the responsible manager must make every effort to canvass internal capacity for expertise and availability.
Expression of Interest Process
All private sector law practitioners wishing to register their interest to act as Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada must be willing to have their knowledge, skills and service motivation assessed by departmental officials.
Assessments are not conducted at the time of registration as they are dictated by operational needs. The Department of Justice Canada may invite registered law practitioners to provide detailed submissions in light of specific work requirements to be assessed and qualified. This may be in the context of specific areas of expertise or geographic locations where there are recurring needs or in the context of specific and immediate file or work requirements.
The Expression of Interest (EOI) is a request for information only. The EOI process does not create any obligations for the Department of Justice or the Government of Canada and is not to be construed as binding upon the Department or the Government. The EOI does not imply either a commitment by the Department of Justice to proceed with, continue or complete this or any other similar process. The Department of Justice reserves the right to reject any or all submissions received in response to the EOI. The EOI is not a request for or an authorization to perform any work. The EOI does not create any exclusive arrangement between the Department of Justice Canada and any law practitioner. All costs incurred in registering interest are borne by the applicant.
This process does not apply to prosecution work. Information on becoming a Legal Agent of the Director of Public Prosecutions can be found on the PPSC Agent Affairs Program website.
The Department of Justice Canada is registering private sector law practitioners interested in being considered for appointment as Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to provide the Government of Canada with legal advisory, real estate or litigation services in practice areas such as the following:
- Aboriginal law
- Access to information and privacy
- Administrative law
- Admiralty and maritime law
- Agriculture and food law
- Aeronautics (aviation and aerospace)
- Class actions
- Collections and claims by Crown (e.g. tax, Canada Student Loans)
- Commissions of enquiry
- Communications, telecommunications and broadcasting
- Constitutional law and Charter issues
- Employment insurance
- Employment law, labour law and staff relations
- Energy, natural resources, oil and gas
- Ethics and professional conduct
- Exports and imports
- Human rights law
- International law
- Official languages and linguistic rights
- Tax law
- Tort, Crown liability and regulatory negligence (e.g. motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, product liability, defamation, professional liability)
- Coroner’s inquest and fatality inquiries
- Disclosure of evidence in criminal matters; publication bans
- Extradition; mutual legal assistance to foreign states
- Firearms hearings
- Law enforcement, policing and the RCMP
- Military and national defence
- National security
- War crimes
- Wrongful convictions; conviction reviews
Business and Finance
- Banking and financial institutions
- Bankruptcy and insolvency
- Charitable organizations
- Canadian International Trade Tribunal
- Competition law
- Contracts and agreements
- Construction and construction contracts
- Corporate law
- Finance and financing agreements
- Intellectual property
- International commercial arbitration; World Trade Organization
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Patents and trademark
- Public-private partnerships
- Trade law and arbitration
- Trusts and estates
- Land development
- Planning and municipal law
- Property assessment
- Property law
- Property taxes
- Real estate transactions and contracts
- Real estate financing
- Title searches
The assistance of Legal Agents may be required in a specific area of expertise as well as in a specific geographic location. General legal services are frequently required in smaller cities and remote locations across the country, particularly across British Columbia, the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, as well as in the northern parts of Ontario. In addition to identifying the areas of expertise offered by interested law practitioners, the Department seeks to identify law practitioners interested and able to provide general litigation, advisory and real estate services in the smaller and more remote centres.
Requirements to Register Interest
The Department of Justice requires loyal and dedicated private sector law practitioners that are willing to devote their time and resources to representing the best interests of the Government and its client departments and agencies. Every team member must strive to contribute significantly to excellent results. The Department of Justice is committed to monitoring and measuring those results on an ongoing basis.
In registering their interest in being considered for Legal Agent appointment, law practitioners must confirm their willingness to make the following commitments upon a resulting agent appointment:
- To ensure that each counsel or notary identified for inclusion on a legal team has the level of competence in handling litigation work or providing legal services commensurate with their experience and the type and complexity of file or file activity;
- To ensure that each counsel or notary identified for inclusion on a legal team is legally permitted to practice law in the relevant provincial or territorial jurisdiction;
- To carry law-practice insurance in the province(s) or territory(ies) in which the practice is conducted, in compliance with the requirements of the relevant law societies;
- To comply with the federal government’s conflict of interest guidelines, which seek to ensure that contracts with the private sector meet the highest ethical standards;
- To foster diversity by promoting strategies and actions that effectively recognize, accept and utilize law practitioners and employees of all employment equity groups;
- To ensure that each counsel or notary identified for inclusion on a legal team, as well as their staff, who will require access to Government of Canada information, assets and/or restricted work sites will hold, at a minimum, a valid personnel security screening at the Reliability Status level, granted or approved by the Department of Justice Canada’s Personnel Security Services Unit (PSSU) or by the Canadian and International Industrial Security Directorate (CIISD) of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC);
- To ensure that each counsel or notary identified for inclusion on a legal team, as well as their staff, is in compliance with the requirements outlined in the Terms and Conditions of Appointment, which details the relationship between a Legal Agent and the Department of Justice Canada, policy obligations, and expectations regarding case management practices and administrative provisions;
- To ensure that each counsel or notary identified for inclusion on a legal team, as well as their staff, is fiscally responsible, follows recommended file handling practices and complies fully with administrative provisions, billing guidelines and fee and disbursement policies;
- To comply with automated litigation support and technology standards as defined by the Department of Justice Canada.
Sourcing and Selection
The final selection of a law practitioner for appointment as a Legal Agent is based on the premise that the Government of Canada is entitled to the highest quality of legal services and advice consistent with the reasonable demands of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Competence, integrity, professionalism and trust remain primary considerations in the appointment of Legal Agents.
The Department selects the most appropriate law practitioner to be recommended for appointment by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, based on the following criteria:
- specifics of the work
- timelines and urgency of the work
- availability of the law practitioner and capacity to provide adequate resources and infrastructure
- suitability of the law practitioner’s profile, experience and expertise relative to the specifics of the work
- proposed case plan and case budget
- geographic considerations
- travel considerations
- security considerations
- conflict of interest considerations
- financial considerations
- requirements under the Official Languages Act
- public-interest considerations
- unique considerations associated with the work
As much as possible, selection is made on a competitive basis, drawing from the general list of law practitioners that have registered their interest with the Department of Justice.
Should they be selected to act as Legal Agent, they will be required to submit to the Department’s contracting and appointment requirements. Moreover, their performance will be evaluated, and the results will be factored into future selection processes.
Contracting and Appointment
When a selection process is complete, the Department of Justice recommends the appointment of the selected law practitioner to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, who maintains final approval authority. Once the Minister approves, Department of Justice officials formalize the appointment and enter into a contract with the selected law practitioner on behalf of the Minister, according to the approved delegated financial signing authorities.
The Department of Justice Canada confirms all terms and conditions of the Legal Agent contract and appointment in writing. In all cases, the law practitioner who will have carriage of the file(s) will be specified. The letter of appointment and its appendices detail the terms and conditions of the appointment and define the relationship between the Legal Agent and the Department. The Legal Agent acknowledges and confirms acceptance of the terms and conditions by signing and returning the letter to the instructing counsel. In accepting an appointment, the Legal Agent is confirming acceptance of the terms and conditions of the appointment, as well as compliance with Department of Justice Canada and Government of Canada policies and standards, for the duration of the mandate. These include:
- Workplace Equity Policy for Legal Agents;
- Security requirements;
- Standard technology requirements; and
- Family support obligations.
All Legal Agent appointments are at the pleasure of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and may be terminated at any time without prior notice.
The departmental rate guidelines set out below provide a foundation for determining what constitutes fair and reasonable rates for domestic legal agents. While the rates below serve as guidelines, each situation should nevertheless be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors such as the nature and complexity of the work, the area(s) and level of expertise required of counsel, and relevant market rates for that region, area of expertise and experience.
|Years at Bar||Hourly Rates|
|Student/Paralegal||Up to $50|
|0 to 2 years||Up to $100|
|3 to 4 years||Up to $120|
|5 to 6 years||Up to $140|
|7 to 8 years||Up to $160|
|9 to 10 years||Up to $180|
|11 to 12 years||Up to $200|
|13 to 14 years||Up to $220|
|15 to 16 years||Up to $240|
|17 to 18 years||Up to $260|
|19 to 20 years||Up to $280|
|More than 20 years||Up to $350|
In all cases, remuneration is established in the specific context of the work. Remuneration is, therefore, not necessarily based on any previously negotiated rate nor is it considered a precedent for future negotiations.
Remuneration for domestic legal services is negotiated on a case-by-case basis and may not necessarily be based on hourly rates times the level of effort. Some examples of alternative billing arrangements, or what is sometimes referred to as ‘value billing’, include flat or fixed fees, blended rates, capped fees, and weighted average rates.
How to Register to Become A Legal Agent
The Department of Justice Canada invites private sector law practitioners across Canada to register their interest in being considered for appointment as Legal Agents of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to provide the Government of Canada with legal advisory, real estate or litigation services in a broad variety of Practice Areas across the country. To facilitate the registration process and submission of an expression of interest, a Registration Form is available. Only one expression of interest should be submitted per law practitioner - members of law firms or “études de notaires” should not express interest on an individual basis. Law firms and “études de notaires” with multiple offices and locations may coordinate their submission through one central office and with one point of contact.
In completing the Registration Form and submitting an Expression of Interest, you must:
- identify if you, your law firm or “étude de notaires” has previously registered interest with the Department of Justice through the EOI process, by checking the box provided on the Form;
- identify if you are making a coordinated submission, on behalf of a law firm or notary office with multiple offices and locations, by checking the box provided on the Form;
- provide the full name of the law practitioner making the submission, along with contact coordinates and mailing address;
- identify the official language(s) in which you, your firm or “étude de notaires” has the capacity to provide legal services, by checking the appropriate box(es) provided on the form;
- provide the name of an individual within the law firm or “étude de notaires” who will act as a principal contact throughout the Expression of Interest process and any follow-up that may be required;
- provide the name of the managing partner of the law firm or “étude de notaires” making the submission, and provide the appropriate signature endorsing the submission;
- provide the name of the national managing partner, where applicable to law firms or “études de notaires” with multiple offices and locations that have submitted a coordinated submission, and provide the appropriate signature endorsing the submission;
- confirm compliance with minimal requirements as identified on Schedule A of the Registration form;
- identify practice area(s) of interest on Schedule B of the Form by selecting from the list provided or by typing in free text where necessary. “Études de notaires” and notaries are also asked to identify themselves as “notaries for the Province of Quebec” by checking the box provided at the bottom of Schedule B; and
- identify the name of the individual “law practitioner” who would lead a legal team for each of the selected practice areas of interest, providing the city in which he or she conducts their practice and their year of call to the Bar or “Chambre des notaires du Québec”.
If you prefer not to use the attached Registration Form, your response should be concise and organized in conformity with and in the same sequence as the prescribed Form.
The completed Registration Form can be submitted electronically via e-mail to: EOI-EDI@justice.gc.ca.
Questions pertaining to the EOI process should be submitted electronically and directed to:
Litigation Practice Management Centre
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