Public Libraries and Nidus Personal Planning Events

Recently, Courthouse Libraries BC’s LawMatters program partnered with Clicklaw contributor Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry to celebrate their Personal Planning Month with a series of events. LawMatters asked public libraries to host some Nidus events and 9 libraries signed up for a series of 15 public events, including presentations and webinars for the public. Over 400 people attended the free events that explained Representation Agreements and other planning tools.

The launch of the series was held at Vancouver Public Library and attracted over 250 people. A panel of speakers included an innovative example of using audience participation to get the message across. Watch the video of “Gonna Get a Rep Agreement” sung with ukelele to “Sentimental Journey” – it was a crowd hit!

Capacity crowds also attended presentations by Nidus staff at the Burnaby, West Vancouver and Richmond Public Libraries.

Other libraries throughout the province were able to host several Nidus webinars for the public. The webinars brought crowds as large as 50 people to libraries in New Westminster, Kitimat, Victoria, Greenwood, North Vancouver District and Whistler. Nidus presenter Joanne Taylor encouraged questions from the audience through virtual chat.

Comments from webinar host librarians included:

“Feedback from the audience overall was very positive, and several people said that Joanne’s presentation was easy to follow given how complex the subject was. I especially appreciated Joanne showing her face briefly to say “hello” and put a face to the voice.”

“We had 50 people attend our webinar. I didn’t have any technological glitches reported to me, which is good! I think there was a fair bit of community interest in this webinar, so I’m glad we were able to host. There was a lot of interest in the next webinar about Representation Agreements.”

“Audience response – all were appreciative. One Credit Union employee attended and said she had never heard of Nidus, and that the info would be useful to her at work–I’m guessing maybe they get requests to access accounts by family or friends of people with dementia and now can direct them to Nidus to get a representation agreement.”

Librarians also collected some feedback from patrons:

“This was an extremely useful program. I was unaware of Representation Agreements and signed up for the workshop because I am thinking of updating my will. This workshop provided invaluable information on a topic everyone should be aware of. As a person now retired and feeling the pinch of a lower income, to be able to access this legal information at no charge was most helpful.”

“I appreciated being given information from a legitimate source in an environment I trusted. No selling or unwanted advice given! I would be interested in attending similar events.”

“I found the discussion session very useful. It was much better than watching a webinar on my own.”

Nidus offers a regular monthly series of free webinars, and any library or individual can register for future events on the training page. Nidus also offers training to the intermediary and legal communities, and a well-received session was held recently for Access Pro Bono lawyers.

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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.

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Conflict Resolution Week October 11-18, 2014

MediateposterMediate BC is launching BC’s first ever Conflict Resolution Week, October 11-18, 2014.

During the week of October 11-18, Mediate BC and its Roster mediators will be organizing events throughout the province to build awareness of healthy ways to resolve conflicts, including mediation.

The theme for this year is “Let’s Talk It Out”.

“Many people still believe that going to court is the default option to resolve conflicts. The truth is there are many ways to solve most conflicts outside of, or earlier in, the court system which can save you time and money,” says Mediate BC’s Executive Director Kari D. Boyle.

Check out events in your local community.

During Conflict Resolution Week, Kari Boyle, will also announce the highlights of the 2014 survey of its Roster Mediators which confirms that mediation is an effective, timely and affordable option. Join this free interactive seminar at the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia Street, Vancouver) on Tuesday, October 14 from 12:00 – 1:00pm to learn more.

For questions and information contact: 1-888-713-0433 ext. 104 or training@mediatebc.com.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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