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I. Brief Review of First Mandate
The Strategic Plan briefly reviews the LCO’s activities during its first mandate, January 2007 to December 2011. It explains that the LCO has been renewed for an additional five years.
II. The LCO’s Mission and Values
The Plan sets out the LCO’s mission and values. The Founding Agreement identifies the LCO’s mandate as recommending law reform measures to enhance the legal system’s relevance, effectiveness and accessibility, to clarify and simplify the law, and to use technology to increase access to justice; to stimulate critical debate about the law; and promote scholarly research.
The LCO will be guided by the following values: independence and impartiality; integrity; excellence; transparency; innovation; open-mindedness, diversity and multidisciplinarity; collaboration; relevance and pragmatism; and efficiency. These values inform the choice of and approach to projects and other activities.
III. The LCO’s Strengths, Challenges and Opportunities
The LCO’s strengths are: the relationship with its partners; relationships with community groups; its legal and administrative staff; the executive director; the Board of Governors; its experience over the first five years; and the relationship with government. The LCO can build on these strengths.
The LCO’s challenges are: engaging in outreach across the province; community expectations; staffing; relations with government; translation and accommodation costs; the economic situation. The LCO has ways of addressing a number of these challenges; others, however, may relate to circumstances beyond its control.
The LCO’s opportunities as it begins its second mandate are: building on the substantive and law reform expertise gained in the first five years; enhancing the dialogue with various government ministries; collaborating with other organizations; and reinforcing its distinctive role as a law reform commission.
IV. The LCO’s Strategic Objectives
The LCO’s short-term objectives are: preparation of a new project selection document for posting on the LCO’s website; timely completion of projects; selection of projects that build on existing expertise and relationships; selection of projects that develop new expertise and relationships; revision of existing policies; and development of new policies and manuals.
Its medium-term objectives are: expand relationships; ensure the new Law School Research and Liaison Group and Community Council are an integral part of the LCO; and refine the process of law reform.
Its long-term objectives are: establish the LCO as an integral part of the Ontario legal landscape; develop new sources of support; and become a source of assistance for other commissions.
V. Means to Achieving the LCO’s Objectives
This section sets out a number of factors that will influence the LCO’s capacity to achieve the objectives set out in the previous section. These include receiving proposals from various sources; selecting a mix of projects; careful project planning; a manageable number of projects; early calculation of the cost of a project; outreach; undertaking other activities; and adding value to the partners’ funding through other sources.
VI. Assessing the LCO’s Performance
Assessing the performance of a law commission is difficult, but there are a number of quantitative and qualitative factors that can be used. This section lists some of them. They include how the LCO selects projects; support for recommendations in the analysis; feasibility of recommendations; government acceptance of recommendations and references or use by courts, academics and others to the LCO’s work; the LCO’s conformity to its mandate and adherence to its values; the LCO’s contribution to the dialogue around law reform and the law generally through its projects, organization of conferences and staff members’ participation in conferences; contribution to law reform scholarship; collaboration with other organizations; and the willingness of other organizations to participate in the LCO’s activities.
The section concludes by briefly illustrating how the LCO has satisfied these criteria during the first five years.
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