Employment Dispute? Share Your Experience

The Government of BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal Branch is creating an online dispute resolution website and they’re looking for help from the public. They’d like to talk to people who have had a recent dispute with their employer or employee so they can learn more about the kinds of experiences people have had in these kinds of situations. They’ll use this information to inform the design of their online dispute resolution website to make sure it meets the needs of people in BC.

The interviews will take place in the fall in Vancouver and Victoria, and will take about an hour. In exchange for your time, they’re offering a $60 gift card. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, please email them directly at uxbc@gov.bc.ca.



Employment Law for Temporary Foreign Workers

The same laws and regulations that protect all British Columbians also apply to temporary foreign workers. However, as temporary foreign workers, there may be some restrictions on their terms of employment. For example, a temporary foreign worker is usually restricted to working for a specific employer.

For workers who aren’t familiar with employment law in BC, it can be tricky trying to tell the difference between what may be an actual restriction and what is against the law. Two organizations, MOSAIC and the Employment Standards Branch, have resources available on Clicklaw that can help.

MOSAIC is a multilingual non-profit organization that supports immigrant and refugee communities and has produced the following resources with information for temporary foreign workers, available in four additional languages (Chinese (simplified), Korean, Punjabi, Spanish):

Additionally, MOSAIC has a Legal Clinic for Temporary Foreign Workers.

The Employment Standards Branch has a series of employment fact sheets, including the resource Employment Standards for Foreign Workers, which is available in in PDF format in six additional languages (Chinese (traditional), French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino). The resource describes what the law says about the rights of foreign workers, including payment of wages and what happens if employment ends.


Better Legal Information Handbook

cleo-betterlegalinformationhandbookIf your group produces legal information for the public you’ll want to bookmark this new resource, Better Legal Information Handbook – Practical Tips for Community Workers. Produced by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), this handbook provides a comprehensive overview of steps involved in planning, producing, distributing and evaluating public legal education and information (PLEI) resources. As CLEO Executive Director Julie Mathews explains in the handbook’s acknowledgements:

“The handbook covers the fundamentals: knowing your audience and writing for them, choosing the best format for your information, and usability testing and evaluating. It draws together the principles of plain language and design and gives practical advice on how to apply them.”

With practical examples from across Canada, the tips and tools in this resource will be extremely valuable for anyone involved in the development of PLEI.

The online PDF version is available for free. Copies outside Ontario are $20 – for more information on ordering a print copy, visit http://www.plelearningexchange.ca/betterinfo.


Clicklaw Wikibook Author Cliff Thorstenson Visits the Merritt Public Library

Clicklaw Wikibook author Cliff Thorstenson and Merritt Branch Librarian Deborha Merrick
Clicklaw Wikibook author Cliff Thorstenson and Merritt Branch Librarian Deborha Merrick

Continuing the tradition of Clicklaw Wikibook authors visiting their local public librariesLegal Help for British Columbians author Cliff Thorstenson recently visited the Merritt Branch of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library System. Local librarian Deborha Merrick told Cliff that she was pleased to add the latest edition of this very popular legal guide to her library’s legal information collection.

Written in plain language, the guide includes over 40 common legal problems faced by low income people, and outlines the first steps your client can take to address the problem. An annotated listing of over 60 referral resources is also included. The 2013 edition features updated information in family, welfare, employment insurance, and immigration law.

Cliff published the first edition of Legal Help for Rural British Columbians; A guide to help non-legal professionals make legal referrals for their clients in 2008. Recognizing that this guide would be a helpful addition to public library collections and training, the LawMatters program worked with Cliff and a team of volunteer editors to update the 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions. Since 2012, the guide has also been available in a wikibook format. This innovative format makes the online guide easy to search, easy to update by the author and editors, and easy for readers to download and print a recently updated version of a page, chapter, or the whole guide.

For readers who would like their own copy, both wikibooks Legal Help for British Columbians and JP Boyd on Family Law are now available as an e-pub for e-readers and mobile devices. Just look for the e-pub download information on the right hand side of the main page of each wikibook. We are planning to have an information page available soon that will explain how e-pubs work, and how they compare to a PDF version.


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.