OTLA is governed by a Board of Directors made up of 30 voting members from across the 8 regional court districts in Ontario. In accordance with OTLA’s By-Laws, the directors are elected for 3 year terms and can stand for re-election for up to 3 terms. There are 10 vacancies filled on the Board each year as terms rotate. Nomination forms are sent to the members each year in December and Board elections are held in April. As with most trial lawyer associations, the Board elects a Vice President each year from among the Board members and that person becomes President-Elect and then President and Immediate Past President in the 3 successive years.
The Board is structured in 7 main committees as follows:
Executive Policy and Research
Governance Public Relations
Member Services Access to Justice
Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
These are the working committees of the Board that meet monthly and they are backed by approximately 20-25 task groups made up of both Board members and regular members of the association. These committees and task groups hold several hundred meetings by conference call and in-person each year, accounting for thousands of volunteer hours by many dedicated members.
The Board of Directors also has 3 non-voting, ex-officio members filled each year by the elected chairs of the Medical Malpractice Litigation Section, New Lawyers Division and Women’s Caucus. In addition, the Immediate Past President of the Board is an ex-officio, voting member of the Board for one year. Following that year term, this individual becomes part of the Past President’s group who are always welcomed to participate in Board activities, providing wisdom and continuity in the history of the association.
OTLA’s Board of Directors generally holds 9 Board meetings a year in addition to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May and a Long Range Planning (LRP) meeting in June. The AGM reports to the regular members on financial management and strategic activities and presents the annual slate of Board Directors for their approval. The LRP reviews the association’s Strategic Plan, considers current and long-term issues requiring action by OTLA, and then aligns the strategic directions of the Board and association activities for the year in accordance with the Strategic Plan and any adjusted priorities.
OTLA’s President provides regular reports to the membership through The Litigator and association-wide email messages, as well as addressing members at the major spring and fall conferences, at the President’s receptions and in regional meetings across the province.
OTLA’s Board values two-way communications and welcomes members to become involved in the work of the organization, in the financial support of our fight for Access to Justice, and in sharing their personal and regional views and concerns by contacting any Board member.