A Death in Your Family – A Clicklaw Wikibook Produced by People’s Law School

A Death in Your FamilyWhether expected or unexpected, a death in the family is always an emotionally charged event that involves a considerable amount of last minute arrangements, both logistical and legal, that family members must attend to. 

For example, you may wonder if there is a prescribed time to dispose of a body or who should you first notify of your loved one’s death?  Is an autopsy automatically performed?  What is the coroner’s role in this situation?  Also, you may be wondering how to honor a loved one’s wish to donate their organs to science.  Answers to all of these questions and more are now available in a comprehensive wikibook,  A Death in Your Family, published by the People’s Law School.   This resource was first published in 2007 and was available in PDF format until its wikibook release.  For more information on wikibook features, see Clicklaw Wikibooks

Clicklaw features a Common Question that also addresses this topic – What legal issues do I need to attend to when a family member dies?  It includes links to resources on making funeral arrangements, obtaining death certificates as well as guidelines on some of the costs involved.

Defending Yourself in Court – Newly Improved Criminal Law Booklet Series

Defending Yourself In Court BookletsThe latest redesigned set of criminal law booklets dealing with Defending Yourself In Court is now available from Legal Services Society.  The booklet series is organized by specific offence, e.g. assault, theft under $5000, possession of an illegal drug.  The booklets then tackle each offence by informing what penalties a person may face, what defenses can be applied as well what you can expect the prosecutor to say or do.   The Defending Yourself In Court booklets are an accompaniment to Representing Yourself In A Criminal Trial.

The team involved in the redesign of the booklets applied usability testing techniques in order to make them accessible for users.  The feedback from users led to notable improvements to the publications, including a new format, and a flow chart illustrating which publication should be applied in various stages of the court process. 

For additional resources on pursuing your own defense have a look at our Common Question – I’ve been charged with a crime.  How can I defend myself? – on Clicklaw.

Law Foundation of BC Establishes Research Fund

Law Foundation of BC logo

 The Law Foundation of British Columbia has established a fund of $100,000 per year to support legal research initiatives in British Columbia.  The objective of the fund is to support legal research projects that “advance the knowledge of law, social policy, and the administration of justice”.

 The fund is open to members of the legal profession and others with expertise in carrying out legal research, and eligible candidates are asked to apply by submitting a Letter of Intent by September 20, 2013 by mail, courier, fax, or email for consideration at the November Law Foundation meeting.

For more details visit the Law Foundation of BC site.

Celebrating Seniors Month


SAIL Intake Worker, Lin Chen, answering the Seniors Abuse and Information Line.
SAIL Intake Worker, Lin Chen, answering the Seniors Abuse and Information Line.

Every June, across Canada, a special observance is given to seniors and the wide array of social and legal issues affecting this group of citizens.  From applying for Old Age Security  to seeking support when their own life or security is at risk or suddenly finding themselves involved in raising a grandchild, these are just some of the issues that may suddenly become challenging for them.

Clicklaw offers a wealth of information resources directed at seniors, including Common Questions, and links to various services on the Clicklaw HelpMap that offer valuable information and support.  The BC Centre for Elderly Advocacy and Support (BC CEAS) is a great example of a service that advocates for seniors, works to prevent seniors abuse, and offers assistance to older adults whose safety may be in peril. 

As it happens, the BC Centre for Elderly Advocacy and Support has just announced that their Senior Abuse and Information Line (SAIL) has extended its hours of operation starting July 1st, to 8am-8pm daily except for holidays.  SAIL can be reached at 604-437-1940 or toll-free at 1-866-437-1940

Clicklaw Wikibook Author Visits Maple Ridge Public Library


Maple Ridge Public Library Branch Manager Teresa MacLeod and Clicklaw Wikibook author JP Boyd
Maple Ridge Public Library Branch Manager Teresa MacLeod and Clicklaw Wikibook author JP Boyd

Lawyer and author John-Paul Boyd brought a print copy of the Clicklaw Wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law to his local library in Maple Ridge recently.  Fraser Valley Regional Library’s Maple Ridge Branch Manager Teresa MacLeod welcomed the new resource on family law as a valuable addition to her library’s legal information collection. As noted in a previous Clicklaw Blog post, JP Boyd on Family Law is an innovative and comprehensive resource for members of the public looking for help with their family law questions. Since the resource is available both online in a wiki format (similar to Wikipedia) as well as in bound print copies, it enables vastly improved access to legal information.

The LawMatters at your local public library  program operated by Courthouse Libraries BC works in partnership with public libraries in BC to enhance access to legal information in a variety of formats. LawMatters is arranging printing and distribution to all 241 libraries in the province of free copies of JP Boyd on Family Law as well as the recently updated 4th edition of Legal Help for British Columbians , also a Clicklaw Wikibook title.

National Aboriginal Day: Honoring Canada’s Diverse Culture

Musqueam Aboriginal Day Invite 2013 - FinalOn June 21st provinces and territories across Canada will begin celebrations marking National Aboriginal Day.  From coast to coast we will be able to catch a glimpse of festive performances, tune in to traditional story telling sessions and learn more about the vast contributions made by Canada’s First Nation’s, Inuit and Métis peoples.


Did you know that almost every area of law, from consumer to family law, is affected by Aboriginal legal issues?  One of Clicklaw’s Common Questions – Where can I find an overview of how the law is different for Aboriginal people? – offers links to resources with information on key differences in the law of Aboriginal people.    


Interested in taking part in this year’s National Aboriginal Day celebrations?  On June 21st the Musqeam Indian Band is hosting  xixá??m?t t? na t?m?x? (“Caring for This Land”), an event featuring a barbecue, live entertainment and number of games and performances for audiences of all ages.  Happy National Aboriginal Day!

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.