BCCPD is now Disability Alliance BC

DABC-logo

By Jane Dyson
Executive Director, Disability Alliance BC

Yes, BC Coalition of People with Disabilities’ name is now Disability Alliance BC. BCCPD members voted strongly in favour of the change at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June. Since then, we’ve been gradually transitioning over to using our new name.

Organizations change their name. In fact, we changed ours 24 years ago. In 1977, our founding name was British Columbia Coalition of the Disabled. In 1990, we changed it to BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. The change reflected the fact that people with disabilities are people who happen to have a disability, rather than being “the disabled.”

So why change our name? Two years ago, we decided it was time to update our logo. We connected with Spring Advertising who generously volunteered their time to help us develop one. They suggested we also look at our name. They asked us if it continued to reflect who we are and how we are changing, what we do and why we do it?

BC Coalition of People with Disabilities is a long name and, while it has served us well, Board and staff agreed it was time to update. A Board member suggested the word “Alliance”–we liked it because it expresses strength and community. As a provincial organization, we also wanted to keep “BC” in our name. We serve people with disabilities and, while the experience of disability is unique to each person, we have many things in common that affect us. “Disability”, of course, reflects this common ground.

So, Disability Alliance BC was born. We are very excited about this change and it is a landmark event for our organization. Spring also designed our new logo and tagline that speak to the importance of building strong connections both within and outside of the disability community.

We hope you like our new name and logo. Change can be challenging—and this is a big change—but it is just a name. Disability Alliance BC–or D-A-B-C for short–will be doing the same work for the disability community. That has not changed.

A note from Clicklaw Editors: You can find Disability Alliance BC’s resources and services through the Clicklaw website. Clicklaw also connects you to a range of common questions, resources, and HelpMap services about disabilities.

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.

New and Revised Publications from the Legal Services Society

By Nate Prosser (guest blogger)
Legal Services Society (Legal Aid BC)

This week saw a shake-up in family law as the new Family Law Act replaced the old Family Relations Act, and a slew of legal changes came into force. As a result of these changes, many of the family law publications produced before the act came into force are no longer legally accurate.

With this in mind, the Legal Services Society (LSS) has revised all of its family law and child protection publications. This included creating many new publications, from booklets to fact sheets and self help-guides, and revising more than 20 booklets, brochures, flow charts, and fact sheets. In addition to these, all information on the Family Law in BC website has been updated to reflect the new Family Law Act.

A list of new and revised resources can be found on the Family Law in BC website. All of the updated publications are available online and in print now (see also Families & children and Abuse & family violence in the publications section of the LSS website).

If you have any copies of these publications dated earlier than March 18, 2013, please recycle and replace them with the updated editions, as they are now incorrect.

BC Law Institute’s Featured Projects

Do you know that Clicklaw has the Reform & Research section? It connects British Columbians to publications from organizations that work to improve and reform the laws, as well as to advance innovative solutions to meet legal needs in BC. One of them is our contributor BC Law Institute, the effective successor of the now-defunct BC Law Reform Commission. They have recently made three of their current projects available on Clicklaw.

  • Technology, Remoteness, Disability & Evidence Project aims to generate practice support materials for lawyers and others about technologies to remove or reduce the disadvantages that persons with disabilities or those living in remote areas face when required to give evidence in court or before tribunals.
  • Franchise Act Project considers the need for franchise legislation in BC and, in doing so, reviews the Uniform Franchises Act adopted by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in 2005. The Act’s key provisions include dealing with disclosure, the duty of fair dealing, rights to rescission, damages for misrepresentation, and dispute resolution.
  • Rationalizing and Harmonization of BC Common-Law Tests of Capacity. The project studies common-law tests of mental capacity, the legal threshold after which a person is considered mentally incapable in the eyes of the law. The goals are to study and illuminate selected common-law tests of capacity, to determine where the current law has shortcomings that require modernization or harmonization, and to recommend legislative reforms to address those shortcomings.

Check out more reports from BC Law Institute, or learn more about BC’s legal needs & innovative solutions on Clicklaw.

Updated Common Question on Refugee Claims

We have recently updated Clicklaw’s common question entitled “We want to start a refugee claim in Canada” to include two new resources from our contributor Legal Services Society. In addition, it also includes a new version of Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants, from Kinbrace Community Society.

 

Legal Services Society published the new publications shortly after changes to Canada’s asylum system came into effect on December 15th last year.

More resources on the subject are available on Clicklaw under the subtopic “refugees“. Another useful resource is the page “I want to claim refugee status in Canada” in the Legal Help for British Columbians Clicklaw wikibook.

Newly designed publications from Legal Services Society

Having commissioned a report called Public Legal Education and Information Resources Accessibility Initiative last year, our contributor Legal Services Society has taken steps to improve readability of their publications.

Their revised publications, which feature an attractive new design and an easy-to-read format, are now available via Clicklaw:

  • Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial – a booklet on what can happen when an accused person pleads not guilty to a summary offence. It includes a checklist to guide the accused through a trial, flow charts of court process before and at the trial, and a sample letter to Crown counsel.
  • If You Are Charged with a Crime – a brochure on what happens if someone is charged with a criminal offence, including the court process, dealing with a lawyer, and getting legal aid or other legal help.
  • Defending Yourself: Theft Under $5,000 – a booklet on how to defend yourself if you are charged with theft under $5,000. It includes a new flowchart that shows when various LSS publications can help at each stage of the criminal court process.

A Draft Submission from the Environmental Law Centre Society

Access to safe drinking water for First Nations communities has been a hot-button issue in Canada. Our newest contributor, the Environmental Law Centre Society, has made A Draft Submission: Canada’s Legal Obligation and Duty to Ensure On-Reserve Access to Clean Drinking Water publicly available.

The original draft submission was the work of Craig Crooks, a law student at the Centre, who prepared the document for a BC First Nation. It presents the argument that “Ottawa is legally obliged to do more to upgrade First Nations’ drinking water systems”. As the issue affects many aboriginal communities, this publication would be useful as a resource for other First Nations who intend to make similar submissions to the Federal Government.

New report: Blueprint For An Inquiry

BC Civil Liberties Association, together with Pivot Legal Society and West Coast LEAF, has recently released a new report entitled Blueprint for an Inquiry. The Missing Women’s Inquiry, led by former BC attorney-general Wally Oppal, was set up to examine the problems arising from investigations of the disappearance and murder of dozens of women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Believing that the Inquiry was an absolute failure, the authors Darcie Bennett, David Eby, Kasari Govender, and Katrina Pacey sought to identify specific lessons for inquiries involving marginalized people in the future. The report includes 23 recommendations and focuses on “broad trends and procedural approaches that future commissioners of inquiry and their staff may usefully adapt to the particularities of their own jurisdiction”.

Clicklaw Project Evaluation … and the Winner of the Clicklaw Survey Draw

From July to September 2012, over 600 Clicklaw visitors completed an online survey. For Clicklaw visitors who reported that they found some information related to their legal issue, we asked if we could send them a follow-up survey and offered them a chance to win a $100 Chapters gift card. We received over 100 entries for the draw and last month we picked the winner using a random number generator. Congrats to Tim from West Vancouver! We hope you enjoy your prize …

A word cloud generated from comments submitted by Clicklaw visitors to the website survey

Thanks to everyone who participated. We learned a great deal about visitors to our website and their thoughts about Clicklaw. We learned, for example, that:

  • 60% of survey respondents were people with a legal question
  • 15% were people assisting a friend or family member with a legal question
  • 10% were intermediaries, such as family justice counsellors, community workers, and librarians assisting a client

We asked them if they found information on Clicklaw they would use – 65% of them reported that they did.

In the follow-up survey, we also learned that:

  • respondents rated the information they found through Clicklaw as 4.3 out of 5 in terms of being helpful and 4.4 out of 5 in terms of being understandable
  • respondents provided a 4 out of 5 rating to the question: did the information you found through Clicklaw help you take next steps relating to the legal issue

Kudos to Clicklaw contributors for making quality legal information available to British Columbians!

In other positive Clicklaw news, the number of visits to the Clicklaw site continues to grow. Visits in October 2012 were close to 70% higher than October the previous year.

The findings from the surveys, together with information we gathered from Google Analytics, a survey of Clicklaw contributors, and surveys of Clicklaw training participants, are summarized in the newly published Clicklaw Project Evaluation Report. We are excited about this evaluation as it allows us to set benchmarks and to use the information gathered for planning future enhancements.

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