How much do you really know about the City of Calgary law department?

Council's audit committee recently received the annual report from the law department. But this year's report had some additional information as members of the committee wanted to know more about how the department handles claims and litigation.

Did you know...

  1. The department has three divisions: Legal Services, Risk Management and Claims and Corporate Security.
  2. The law department employs 128 people.
  3. The Corporate Security division oversees a contracted guard service of 150 people for city facilities.
  4. City solicitor Glenda Cole can "settle any action, claim or other proceeding" up to $250,000.
  5. The city solicitor can retain outside counsel when she deems it in the best interest of the city and can report to city council on any matter where she feels a council decision is necessary.
  6. The Risk Management and Claims division handles 9,000 claims a year. 
  7. City lawyers are not insured by the Law Society of Alberta and they must provide an undertaking to the law society every year that they will not provide legal advice outside the scope of their job. They are not permitted to provide legal advice to the public nor to city employees or members of council on non-city related matters.    

After the flood...

  1. The city has not been served with any lawsuits from property owners affected by flood damage. However, the city has "received notices of potential claims from 946 citizens" and a notice of a potential claim from an insurance company on behalf of its affected policy holders.
  2. The report says after the 2013 flood, many insurers have changed the way in which they view flood risk in Calgary. As a result, many "decided to significantly increase premiums or limit their participation in covering flood risk," reads the report.
  3. The Risk Management and Claims Division has secured the same types of coverage it had prior to the flood but the premium is "significantly higher and the available limit on flood coverage was reduced."
  4. Members of the city's law department were present at Calgary's Emergency Operations Centre throughout the 2013 flood."Senior leaders in the corporation have indicated that they appreciated this because immediate legal and risk-related advice was available throughout the emergency response and during planning for recovery."