Archive for the 'The broader context' Category

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!


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?


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    


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 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.


Free Legal Advice on Dial-A-Lawyer Day

Gearing up for Law Week 2013 the BC Branch of Canadian Bar Association will be offering free legal consultation sessions as part of its Dial-A-Lawyer Day, happening on Saturday, April 13.  Law Week is a terrific initiative that aims to raise awareness about our legal system, recognizing the dedicated legal professionals involved and it aims to help the public understand how the justice system works. 

 The Dial-A-Lawyer event makes legal advice accessible.  If you live in British Columbia and you have a question about a legal issue in the following 6 areas of law – family, wills & estates, tort & motor vehicle accident, immigration, business or criminal – you can call (604.687.3221 or 1.800.663.1919) and speak with a lawyer for up to 15 minutes for free

 While we are on the topic of free legal advice take a look at other options available to members of the public seeking an alternative to costly legal services.


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.


JESS – a virtual assistant for navigating BC Small Claims Court matters

Are you disputing a car repair bill, pleading with a carpenter to complete your unfinished kitchen reno, or seeking damages for personal injury for $25,000 or under, all by yourself?  Then JESS may be the resource for you.  Launched on January 10, 2013, JESS is a pilot project developed by Justice Education Society and is now available on website.

It is a virtual assistant that offers guidance on what steps you may take in order to move your case forward.  JESS delivers expertise by combining interactive video scripts, website text and multiple choice questions that offer a much needed roadmap for people going to small claims court.

This latest project is based on a legacy of resources – legal publication, websites and instructional videos – created by Justice Education Society, an organization that strives to improve access to British Columbia’s justice system.

If you would like to inquire further about this program visit the Society’s website at or explore some of Clicklaw’s own resources dealing with small claims matters.


Client Data and Privacy Laws for Small Organizations Event

The BC Civil Liberties Association and the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association held an event on January 22nd titled “Privacy Issues Facing Small Organizations”. This informative breakfast workshop described the basics that small organizations need to know about client data privacy laws, such as:

  • Good privacy policy creates and maintains trust with your clients. Clients need to know what level of confidentiality you can offer.
  • Valid consent includes both express and implied.
  • Your clients have the legal right to withdraw consent at any point, even after it has been given, and even if it will effect service provision.
  • The Personal Information Protection Act protects your right to collect, use, and disclose client information, but also places limits on how and to what extent those practices occur.
  • Once you collect data from your clients, it is in your control, even if it is not in your custody. You are responsible for data disposal. If you use a 3rd party data storage provider, then you need to know how secure the data is.
  • The Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. oversees compliance with provincial privacy laws.
  • A paper titled “BC Civil Liberties Association’s Online Communications Strategy” was distributed. Further resources are available at the Clicklaw topic Privacy & access to information.

Public Access Computers in Public Libraries

Do you use your public library for Internet access? That could be about to change. At the beginning of April, Industry Canada announced that they have ended the funding for the Community Access Program. This program had been operating since 1995 to help connect Canadians to the Internet by funding public access computers in places such as public libraries.

The Canadian Library Association is dismayed at this announcement and released a statement in response. Industry Canada says 79% of Canadians now have Internet access at home, and many can also get online access through their smart phone. However, the Canadian Library Association points out that only 54% of households in the lowest income quartile have home Internet access, so community-based Internet access is still needed. The BC Library Association also issued a statement, describing the funding cuts as “a blow to some of the country’s most vulnerable and remote communities.”

While a few larger public libraries in BC have announced that they’ll continue to provide public access computers, there are real concerns that many libraries in smaller communities will no longer have the resources to provide public access computers.

At Courthouse Libraries BC, we’re also dismayed that funding for the CAP program has ended. We work closely with public libraries in BC through our Law Matters program. We help them to develop legal collections for the public, and provide training for librarians on using Clicklaw to answer legal information questions. Our recently released consultation report, Talking to Librarians about LawMatters: Promising Practices, confirms that people use public access computers in public libraries for many purposes, including to access legal information, to complete court forms, and to apply for federal and provincial government programs. Ending the funding for these public access computers will have a negative impact on many communities in BC and across Canada.

The Nova Scotia CAP Association has launched a campaign to save the Community Access Program, called Save CAP. They’re asking people to contact their MP to say why they value this program. We encourage you to check out their website and have your say.


BC’s Law Week 2012: celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Charter

Every April the Canadian Bar Association  organizes events across Canada to celebrate the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In BC, Law Week is a collaborative project organized through the partnership of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association (CBABC), the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Law Society of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Bar Association.

This year’s theme is Access to Justice: The Celebration of the Charter of Rights in recognition of the Charter’s 30th birthday. From April 15-22, events such as a speech contest for students, the Dial-A-Lawyer program, and the 9th annual CBABC Fun Run, will be held at various locations throughout BC.

Here at Clicklaw, we think it would be smashing if you joined us at the Vancouver Law Week Open House on Tuesday the 17th. A chance for the public and student groups to learn about the law and the legal system, this year’s Open House is being held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery from 10 am to 3pm. Clicklaw, alongside their friends from Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia , will be there to answer your questions and share what we do. We’d love to see you!  You will also be able to  learn specifically about Clicklaw at Law Day events in Nanaimo (on the 14th) and Victoria (on the 21st ).

To get you all primed for Law Week, check out these Clicklaw resources from CBABC:


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