June Is World Refugee Awareness Month

Refugee Claim Flow Chart
Refugee Claim Flow Chart

Canadians enjoy many rights and freedoms, such as:

  • a fair, unencumbered right to vote 
  • the right to speak freely without censorship 
  • religious freedom 
  • freedom of sexual and gender expression

Many people around the world have been denied these rights and freedoms, and must fight for them.

June is World Refugee Awareness month when we recognize that Canada is a place that many people from around the world dream to consider home.  These individuals arrive in our country facing many barriers, including language, limited knowledge about the court process and generally may be feeling vulnerable as newcomers to a foreign new land.

Clicklaw features a number of information resources for individuals who wish to start a refugee claim.  Our Common Question – How do I start a refugee claim in Canada – provides guidelines on who is eligible to apply for refugee status, how to seek refugee protection, how to prepare for a hearing, and highlights what legal aid can provide.

Canadian Environment Week – Things To Know About The Use Of Pesticides

Use of pesticidesJune 2-8 is Canadian Environment Week and cities across the country are gearing up for activities to mark the occasion. Some of us may be taking the green route and biking to work, while others will be revisiting their local parks. As tradition goes, many of us will be rolling up our sleeves to commence spring cleaning. With a wide assortment of cleansers and detergents on the market today it may be worth taking a moment to consider the chemical components of cleaning supplies and what impact they have on our environment. 

If you have concerns about everyday chemical usage or pesticides you may want to take a look at the work done by West Coast Environmental Law. West Coast Environmental Law is an organization dedicated to advocating for environment-related issues through law. It offers legal advice, educational programs and advocacy for BC citizens seeking information on protecting our environment.  

West Coast Environment features a number of useful information resources dealing with pesticides, including Pesticides and Your Health, Pesticides in Your Home and A Citizen’s Guide to Pesticide Use and the Law in BC, all of which you can find on Clicklaw.

Victims of Crime Resources – Parole Board of Canada

Parole Board of CanadaIf you or someone you know has been a victim of crime, according to Corrections and Conditional Release Act, you are entitled to obtain certain information about the offender, such as offender’s name, the offence, date of sentence, penitentiary where sentence was served, etc. 

 

The Victims of Crime Fact Sheets & Forms explains what rights victims have to information from the Parole Board of Canada, including who can request information and how to place a request. 

You can also watch a video developed by Parole Board of Canada, titled Victim Services, for a visual depiction of the process involved in submitting a written information request about the offender . 

 

Modern Day Slavery – How To Seek Help

Human Trafficking BrochureDo you know someone who is working in a low paying job with unsafe or unsanitary conditions, is subjected to abuse, has no say in his or her situation and/or is being threatened with deportation?  If so, that person may be a victim of human exploitation or trafficking.  This injustice happens everyday but it is foreign workers that are most vulnerable to such crimes.

 
Every year Canada takes in roughly 150,000 temporary foreign workers, with BC and Ontario leading the way.  These individuals are employed as live-in caregivers, agricultural workers, engineers, doctors and hospitality service providers.  Very often foreign workers feel socially isolated, face language barriers and have limited employment options, all of which makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation.  All workers in Canada, including temporary foreign workers, are protected under Canadian employment and labour laws and it is critical that temporary foreign workers are aware that their rights are protected and help is available. 

  
In BC there a number of agencies dedicated to preventing human exploitation and trafficking, offering  services for affected individuals.  The Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons is a good starting point for people  seeking help.  It offers help with housing assistance, as well as access to health and legal aid services. 

For more information and key contacts have a look at the Modern Day  Slavery information sheet on Clicklaw.

AdminLawBC – Online Resource for Navigating Administrative Law

jes-adminlawbcresolvingdisputes AdminLawBCAre you preparing for a tough talk with your boss and want to get tips on negotiation tactics that will help the dialogue move forward?  Does your phone bill reflect charges that were not included in your original contract and you want to dispute the matter with your phone provider?  Are you a licensed practical nurse who wants to appeal a decision of your College’s Registrar of complaints?  All of these issues fall under the jurisdiction of boards, tribunals and government agencies that make rules affecting our daily lives.  This is administrative law territory. 

On April 15, Justice Education Society relaunched the AdminLawBC site that is intended to help British Columbians identify and navigate the appropriate administrative agencies in order to properly address issues dealt by each organization.  The updated site lists all the administrative agencies by topic, some of which include:

  • Citizenship, Rights & Law Enforcement
  • Culture & Information
  • Employment & Labour
  • Health & Health Professionals
  • Professional & Associations

The new and improved AdminLawBC site uses straightforward language, instructional videos as well as soon-to-be released automated assistant (JESS) or chat, that will help with identifying the appropriate agency and guiding users to relevant information resources addressing their specific administrative law matter.  

Also, have a look at Clicklaw for additional resources dealing with various administrative law areas, as identified under the following Common Questions – I have to do my own judicial review, I’ve been cut off workers’ compensation benefits, I’m representing myself at a landlord/tenant hearing, I’m preparing for a tribunal.  Where can I find out what to do?

Dealing with Cyberbullying

“An intimate text is posted on Facebook for all her friends to see.”  cyberbullying

 “A picture of his tipsy girlfriend circulates on Twitter without her even knowing.”

 

These are real examples of cyberbullying and chances are you know someone who has been affected by it.

 

needhelpnow.ca is a new initiative launched by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc., an organization dedicated to the personal safety of Canadian children and youth.  The site offers information and help resources for young people who have been impacted by a sexual picture, text or video being circulated among their peers via social networks. 

 

needhelpnow.ca offers real solutions for youth dealing with cyberbullying including information on who to contact to request a picture or video to be removed, guidance on how to report an incident and useful tips on how to recognize signs of bullying and taking steps to prevent this type of harassment. 

 

Using videos, plain language discussion and reflecting the sensitive nature of cyberbullying, needhelpnow.ca is a great go-to site for youth as well as teachers poised to start a discussion on this topic with their students. 

 

For more information on this subject check out our Common Question – What can you do about cyberbullying? – on Clicklaw.

Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic

By Priyan Samarakoone (guest blogger)

(Access Pro Bono Society of BC)

We’re soon approaching the 1st anniversary of the Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic, and it’s been quite the success.  As one of a handful of Pro Bono Projects for the Department of Justice (DOJ), these programs marked the first time the DOJ got involved in Pro Bono Services in Canada in its 140 plus year history. We have since expanded and now have a mix of both government and private sector lawyers involved in the program.

 

Estate planning is an important issue for most families.  Proper planning can make the lives of loved ones much simpler and result in significantly less conflicts and disputes.  Estate Planning can range from drafting wills to drawing up representation agreements (for medical and financial decision making) as well as assigning a Power of Attorney.  While the Wills Clinic is not able to provide all these documents as of yet, we do believe that drawing up a simple will should be available to all those in need. 

 

The Wills Clinic takes place every Wednesday at the Justice Access Centre at the Provincial Courthouse in Downtown Vancouver.  We are able to assist 8 to 12 clients each month and we aim to have a document prepared within one month after the initial interview with a client.  The Wills Clinic has also recently expanded its scope to include section 7 Representation Agreements for medical decision making and other standard powers. 

 

If you would like further information regarding this program or would like to book an appointment, please contact the Wills Clinic at 604-424-9600 or email willsclinic@accessprobono.ca    

 

Program Criteria: for low income seniors (Age 55+) and people with a terminal illness. 

Location: The Justice Access Centre, Room 290 800 Hornby St. (By appointment only).

JP Boyd on Family Law: A New Clicklaw Wikibook

BC lawyer John-Paul Boyd has updated his popular family law website, and with some help from Courthouse Libraries BC, it has been re-launched as a Clicklaw Wikibook, JP Boyd on Family Law.

JP Boyd on Family Law reflects the changes that came into effect in BC last month with the new Family Law Act. It offers practical, indepth information written in plain language on a wide range of family law topics, including:

This new Clicklaw Wikibook includes over 50 “How Do I” pages, a legal glossary, links to court forms and examples of documents. JP offers the same tone and frank, pragmatic (and often humorous) approach to family law issues that made bcfamilylawresource.com such a valued resource.

JP Boyd on Family Law continues to complement other updated sources of family law information, including the Family Law in BC Website from LSS and other family law resources available through Clicklaw.

For more information about JP Boyd on Family Law, see the one-sheeter describing this new Clicklaw Wikibook and the news release announcing the launch of JP Boyd on Family Law.

What are Clicklaw Wikibooks?

Clicklaw Wikibooks are collaboratively developed, plain language legal publications that are born-wiki and can also be printed. Using the same technology that powers Wikipedia, they are updated over the Internet by a team of qualified contributors. They are free to access and download, and can be printed as a softcover book at a low cost. They enable legal information to be shared widely with British Columbians who seek reliable, up-to-date information to address legal issues or learn about the law.

The Clicklaw Wikibook format makes the information easy to search, easy to update, and easy to turn into a print resource. In fact, later this spring, we’ll be working with public libraries to make sure a print version of JP Boyd on Family Law is available at your public library.

The ABC’s of Drinking & Driving Offences

Wondering about drinking and driving laws?  How much alcohol in your system makes it okay for you to drive?  Drinking and driving legislation is a very complex area of law, where both provincial (BC Motor Vehicle Act) and federal statutes (Criminal Code of Canada) apply, depending on the circumstances. 

 The British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association features a recently updated Dial-a-law script titled Drinking & Driving that outlines the rights and responsibilities of someone who is stopped by the police and suspected of driving under the influence.

 Essentially, if you do drink and drive you can face three serious criminal charges:

 (a) displaying blood-alcohol level of over .08 or over eighty

 (b) demonstrating impaired driving due to alcohol or drug consumption, and

 (c) refusing to provide a breath sample without a lawful excuse. 

 What to do if you are charged with a drinking & driving offence , a guide published by LSS, is a good starting point for those interested in what happens when someone is charged with drinking and driving under the Criminal Code.   In summary, this guide explains the type of charges that apply, offers a checklist of what the prosecution must prove in court, outlines the steps involved in defending  yourself in court and what sentence one can expect if found guilty. 

 Both guides emphasize the complicated nature of drinking and driving offences and encourage clients to seek legal advice when necessary.

What Happens with Parenting of the Children in Cases of Wife Abuse?

One of the significant changes brought about by the new Family Law Act is in the area of family violence, as briefly described in this Vancouver Sun article. In the words of BC Attorney General Shirley Bond, the new Act is about “ensuring children’s interest and safety are given the utmost priority”. Our newly updated common question directs you to three publications that can help you get started on understanding how the new law would deal with the subject matter.

The common question “What happens with parenting of the children in cases of wife abuse?” features the following resources on Clicklaw:

You may also want to check out Clicklaw’s common question: I want to learn more about the new BC Family Law Act. It features helpful resources for navigating the new BC Family Law Act.