Ontario government appoints John McCamus as Chair of Legal Aid Ontario


    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - The Ontario government has appointed Professor
John McCamus as the new Chair of Legal Aid Ontario, Attorney General Michael
Bryant announced today.
    "John McCamus is a recognized expert in the area of legal aid and will
make an excellent Chair," said Bryant. "I have no doubt that under his
leadership, Legal Aid Ontario will continue to provide quality legal services
to low-income Ontarians."
    McCamus will serve a three-year term that begins July 5, 2007. He is a
University Professor of Law and former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York
University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006 and
is currently an Associated Scholar at a Toronto law firm. McCamus is an
experienced adjudicator and arbitrator, and served as the Chair of the Ontario
Law Reform Commission from 1993 to 1996. He is currently a Vice-President and
Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
    In 1996, McCamus chaired a task force that conducted an independent
review of Ontario's legal aid system, the first in its 30-year history. As a
result, Legal Aid Ontario was created as an independent agency responsible for
the administration of the province's legal aid system. Earlier this year, the
McGuinty government retained McCamus to update his 1997 "Blueprint for
Publicly Funded Legal Aid Services." While McCamus will play a new role in
this ongoing initiative as the Chair of Legal Aid Ontario, the independent
review will continue under new leadership. The government will announce
details of that transition in the coming weeks.
    "As an accomplished educator and legal scholar, Professor McCamus is an
ideal choice to assume the position of Chair of Legal Aid Ontario," said Paul
Kowalyshyn, Chair of the County and District Law Presidents' Association.
    "As a leading academic, John McCamus brings a wealth of experience to his
new role. His background and expertise on legal aid and access to
justice-related issues position him well to lead Legal Aid Ontario in the
coming years," said James Morton, President of the Ontario Bar Association.
    "We are pleased that the government has appointed John McCamus as the new
Chair of Legal Aid Ontario," said Louise Botham, President of the Criminal
Lawyers' Association. "He has shown great commitment throughout his career
advancing legal aid issues, most recently with his current review of the legal
aid tariff. We expect that this important task force on legal aid will
continue its mandate as John McCamus changes roles, and we are confident he
will support his successor in his new capacity to help strengthen legal aid
now and in the future."
    "Legal Aid Ontario is a strong, mature and renowned organization," said
Bryant. "I want to thank outgoing Chair Janet Leiper for her tremendous
contribution to ensuring access to justice for Ontarians."
    Leiper will continue serving the public interest in a new role in the
academic field that will build on her experience with Legal Aid Ontario. An
announcement is expected shortly.
    Legal Aid Ontario has an annual budget of over $300 million and operates
certificate, duty counsel and clinic programs that provide services to more
than one million low-income Ontarians each year. The Ontario government is
Legal Aid Ontario's biggest funder. In the 2007 Budget, the McGuinty
government announced $51 million in new funding over three years, including
$15 million in 2007-2008. This will increase annual funding from the
provincial government to $237 million in 2009-2010, up from $199 million in
2002-2003, a 19 per cent increase.

    Disponible en français.www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210