Important Information for Applicants Seeking Funding
What do I need to do for the Commissioner to recommend that I receive funding?
Under the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference, the Commissioner may recommend that you receive funding only if she is of the view that you would not otherwise be able to participate in the Inquiry without funding. Therefore, you will need to come to the Participation (Standing) Hearings (the “Hearings”) with evidence to show the Commissioner that this is the case.
What kind of evidence will I need to bring?
If you are seeking funding, you will need to provide an affidavit (i.e. a sworn written statement) outlining your financial circumstances and explaining why you would not otherwise be able to participate in the Inquiry without funding. You will also need to provide documents to support the statements in your affidavit. Please bring your affidavit and supporting documentation to the Hearings.
In your affidavit, you should refer to any relevant financial circumstances. For example, you may want to provide evidence of your annual net income, the number of dependents you have and the expenses associated with supporting those dependents. Examples of documents you may wish to attach to your affidavit in support of your application for funding include:
- Tax returns;
- Bank or financial statements;
- Other financial documentation that supports your application for funding, such a statement of expenses.
What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a sworn written statement that outlines the facts and/or attaches documents to support those statements. A template to help you prepare your affidavit can be found here.
I don’t have a lawyer. How can I swear my affidavit?
You can bring your prepared but unsigned affidavit to the Hearings. The Inquiry has arranged for a lawyer to be present to help you swear your affidavit on the morning of December 12, 2017. There is no cost to you to use the lawyer’s services for the purpose of swearing the affidavit. You must bring a piece of photo ID with you. In order to swear your affidavit, the lawyer will need to verify your identity and must be present with you when you sign the affidavit.
What kind of funding can I seek?
You may seek funding for: (1) legal counsel to enable you to participate in the Inquiry’s public hearings; and/or (2) expenses that you will incur if you are given the right to participate in the Inquiry’s public hearings.
If I seek funding for expenses other than for legal counsel, are there any limitations on how much funding I can receive or what I can use it for?
Yes. The Government of Ontario specifies the maximum amount that can be reimbursed for certain expenses, such as mileage. Please be aware that the amount granted may not cover all of your expenses.
In addition, any funding you receive must be used for the purpose for which it is granted. This means you must keep original receipts showing what you paid for, how much you spent, and when the expenses were incurred. You will need to provide these receipts when you make a claim for reimbursement. If you are given funding to cover mileage, you will need to show the distance from your home to the Inquiry’s Public Hearings. Your receipts will be reviewed by an Independent Assessment Officer (who will be appointed by the government) before you will be reimbursed.
I am seeking funding for legal counsel. Is there anything my lawyer needs to know?
Yes. The Government of Ontario has established rules governing the reimbursement of legal fees and disbursements. If the Commissioner recommends that you be granted funding for legal counsel, your lawyer will have to agree to those terms, which provide for the following maximum hourly rates:
- Junior counsel (up to 7 years’ experience) – $132/hour
- Intermediate counsel (8-9 years’ experience) – $160/hour
- Senior counsel (10+ years’ experience) – $192/hour
- Articling students – $45-$55/hour
- Law students – $30-$45/hour
- Law clerks/paralegals – $30-$55/hour
If the hourly rates above are less than the rate that your lawyer would ordinarily charge you, your lawyer may not recoup the difference from you or from any other third party. Your lawyer may only receive the applicable hourly rates above.
In accordance with the government’s guidelines, your lawyer also cannot be reimbursed for his or her:
- Meals, snacks and beverages;
- Laundry or dry cleaning;
- Valet services;
- Dependent care;
- Home management; and/or
- Personal telephone calls.
Are there any guidelines that specify how much applicants can be reimbursed for legal fees and disbursements?
Yes. The Government of Ontario has prepared Guidelines that will be used by the Independent Assessment Officer to assess claims for reimbursement. The Guidelines can be found here.
What kind of legal expenses and disbursements can the Commissioner recommend be funded?
The legal fees and disbursements eligible for funding are those that:
- relate to reasonable preparation for, and representation at, those portions of the Inquiry’s public hearings for which you have been accorded participation rights;
- are associated with attendance at meetings requested by the Commission, the production of documents in your possession or control to the Inquiry, if so requested, and the provision of other information requested by the Commission; and/or
- are associated with preparation for and attendance at interviews by Commission counsel or staff.
Only legal fees and related disbursements falling within these categories and that have been incurred after the signing of the Order-in Council that established the Inquiry (dated July 26, 2017) are eligible for reimbursement.
Any recommendation for funding for legal counsel will specify the number and seniority of counsel for which you are to receive funding. Your lawyer can be funded for a maximum of 10 hours per hearing day. There will also be limits imposed on the number of preparation hours that will be funded. Funding will cover your lawyer’s attendance at the Public Hearings only for the days on which your particular interests are engaged.
Will the amount of funding I receive and the information about what I use it for be confidential?
No. Because funding is provided by the Government of Ontario, the Public Inquiries Act, 2009 applies. It states that no privilege or confidentiality applies to information about any funding granted to a participant, including the existence of any funding and its nature, rate, and amount.
The Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry
400 University, Suite 1800C
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9
Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday (except holidays),
9 am to 5 pm (Eastern time)