Ontario Regional Office
Regulatory Law Section
March 2010

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Department of Justice Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP) provides legal services from regional offices across Canada. In the Ontario Regional Office (ORO), the Regulatory Law Section (RLS) provides legal services to a diverse range of client department and agencies. This audit focused on the management practices in the ORO Regulatory Law Section.

Management Framework

The RLS has established a sound management framework that encompasses the following key management functions: planning; organizing; controlling; and, leading. It also has a rigorous governance structure in place.

The audit determined that the key management functions were carried out effectively and overall the RLS was well managed. Efforts are under way to reduce the span of control of the RLS Director through the addition of another Deputy Director to maintain effective management of operations. Furthermore, the need for intermediary positions should be determined and these should be reflected in a revised organization chart. Also, minutes of regional committee meetings should be prepared and communicated to staff.

Management of Human, Financial, and Material Resources

The audit determined that the RLS effectively manages human resource planning, the number and mix of resources, staff recruitment and retention, training, and the performance appraisal process. The audit also concluded that financial planning and the timing of funding allocations were appropriate and that financial resources were managed effectively and in compliance with the Financial Administration Act. However, RLS staff need training on contracting, and funding shortfalls identified should be examined.

Information Systems

The audit determined that the RLS uses reliable information systems that provide the required information for decision making. The audit further determined that the RLS receives appropriate support from the ORO IM/IT Operations and Support (O&S). The audit concluded that the security of electronic information is effective. We noted, however, the lack of an ORO IM/IT contingency plan to adequately respond to disaster situations.

Compliance with Legislation and Policies

The RLS is in compliance with key government and departmental legislation and policies including the Financial Administration Act, Government Contracting Regulations, the Official Languages Act, and Employment Equity.

Risk and Legal File Management and Forecasting of Demand for Legal Services

The audit determined that the RLS has effective legal risk management practices in place. These risk practices conform to the Justice Canada requirements for legal risk management. The RLS also manages its legal files in a diligent manner through the utilization of iCase.

We also noted that effective practices are in place with respect to forecasting the demand for legal services.

Interfaces with other Justice Canada Sectors

The RLS maintains strong interfaces with other Justice Canada organizations such as other regional offices, the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP), and the Law Practice Management Directorate. It also maintains effective interaction with the DLSUs that provide services to the RLS’s client departments/agencies. The RLS takes reasonable measures to ensure that client departments are satisfied with the legal services provided to them. Ongoing communication regarding client department needs, service expectations, and results takes place between RLS legal counsel and those in the DLSUs. Furthermore, formal client satisfaction surveys conducted by the BRLP revealed a high level of client department satisfaction with services provided.

The management responses to the recommendations contained in this report were provided by the Regional Director General, Ontario Regional Office and the Regional Director, Regulatory Law, Ontario Regional Office.

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