Community Updates – Nidus, DABC, CRT

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Nidus is providing updates and public legal education on the status of physician assisted dying legislation on Ask Joanne FAQ (Update: See new post here), which includes resources such as:

Nidus logo
Nidus is a non-profit charity that runs an online Registry on planning for end-of-life, incapacity & other support needs. Nidus is an expert on Representation Agreements and other personal planning documents.

Register for free webinar presentations on Planning for Health Care & Personal Care for more information on MAiD.

BCCLA is also providing updates on the issue via their website here.

Updates to PWD and PPMB Guides

Disability Alliance BC has completed a full update of the following application and appeal guides:

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DABC helps British Columbians with disabilities access supports through front-line & systemic advocacy, community projects, workshops & publications.

The guides are designed for advocates, but can also be used by people applying for or appealing the denial of benefits. They focus on applications, reconsiderations, and tribunals for income supports and medical supplies/services provided by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

If you would like DABC to mail you this publication, please call Val at 604-875-0188 or email her at feedback@disabilityalliancebc.org

Feedback welcome on CRT Draft Rules

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The CRT will give you choices about how, when, and where you resolve small claims and strata property (condominium) disputes, built around your needs and your life.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal is welcoming feedback until July 6, 2016 on its draft Rules of Procedure.

Click here for more details on how to participate, including: an explanation of what the Rules are, what they will do, how people will use them, and what’s different about them.

Need a refresher on Online Dispute Resolution? Check out the introduction to our ODR series here.

Stay informed:

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Rise Women’s Legal Centre: Changing the Legal Landscape

By Ana Mihajlovic
Student Advisor, Rise Women’s Legal Centre

After over a decade of research, work, and planning, Rise Women’s Legal Centre has officially opened its doors to the public. Rise welcomes all self-identified women who are experiencing family law issues, and who: cannot afford legal counsel, may not qualify for legal aid, or whose legal aid hours have run out. Rise is Vancouver-based but accepts calls from clients throughout BC*.

WHAT WE DO

WLC Staff (2)
Standing (l to r): Candice Minnaar, Floriana Costea, Ana Mihajlovic, Miryam Burns Seated: Vandana Sood, Kim Hawkins, Raji Mangat

As a legal centre, Rise offers a multitude of services for women facing family law issues.

At Rise, you can:

  • meet with a student advisor;
  • receive summary advice;
  • receive unbundled services such as drafting of documents for your legal proceeding;
  • receive full legal representation in Provincial Court;
  • get connected to other useful resources in the community; and
  • use our library and computer at our Self-Help Centre to do your own research in a safe space.

WHAT WE DON’T DO

As law students, student advisors cannot appear in Supreme Court, which means we cannot represent you in proceedings at the Supreme Court level. However, we may still be able to help with other steps along the way, such as preparing court forms and documents, and preparation for hearings.

Although our services are restricted to the legal realm, if you seek support in other areas such as counselling, job search, housing, to name a few, we can connect you with right resources.

Presently, Rise will only handle family law issues but will be expanding its services in the future to include other areas of the law.

ABOUT RISE

Rise has been formed through a partnership between West Coast LEAF and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, and with the support of private donors.  Our clinic is staffed by: a dedicated group of senior year law students from Allard Law, our knowledgeable and experienced supervising lawyers, and our wonderful office manager. We recognize the serious gap in funding for family law disputes, which has resulted in the growing population of self-represented litigants in these cases. Self-representation can sometimes lead to very negative outcomes and the overall experience can be scary, isolating, and generally unpleasant. We are here to help.

Student advisors are in their final year of law school, and working at Rise adds an experiential learning component to these students’ academic careers. Aside from completing the Family Law course at the law school, all students have also undergone a two-week orientation and training program led by experienced family law lawyers, advocates, and professionals within the legal community. Additionally, students will be researching and preparing a seminar paper on a chosen topic in relation to the work done at the Centre. As one of the student advisors here at Rise, I have enjoyed my time so far and am looking forward to the busy summer ahead!

*Rise is able to conduct some interviews over the phone for remote clients to give summary advice. However, for full services (going to trial in Provincial Court as counsel), we may be restricted to courts in the Lower Mainland. For example, in one instance where a client from Kelowna needed help with trial preparation (for her Kelowna court appearance) my colleague was able to provide her unbundled services by giving her advice over the phone and email, but leaving court appearances to the client herself.

CONTACT US

To connect with us, please give us a call at 604-451-7447 or email us at info@womenslegalcentre.ca.

As the inaugural class at Rise, we are honoured to be the first to partake in this amazing project. We look forward to using our legal skills and knowledge to do work that is meaningful and purpose-driven, and we are excited to welcome you to our Centre!


STAY INFORMED WITH RISE WOMEN’S LEGAL CENTRE:

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MyLawBC helps you with common legal problems

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MyLawBC features numerous “pathways” for your legal problems.

By Nate Prosser
Online Outreach Coordinator 

There’s no doubt that the law is complicated. What further complicates matters is when laws vary by jurisdiction (from province to province, and from country to country). This is why sites like Clicklaw are needed to help people find legal information. One of the biggest challenges faced by people who teach the public about the law is making legal information easy to understand and easy to act on.

The Legal Services Society’s new site, MyLawBC, takes a new tack to this challenge. The site is built around the idea of guided pathways — interactive pathways that ask you questions about your situation and then use your answers to create a plan that empowers you to solve your legal problem.

What can MyLawBC help me with?

For now, MyLawBC covers four main areas of law: divorce and separation, foreclosure, wills & estates, and personal planning.

If you’re going through a separation, MyLawBC can help. Its pathways guide you to the best way to work through separation with your spouse, to get a court order, or to respond to a court document. You may also use the Dialogue Tool which simplifies the process of creating a separation agreement by helping you and your spouse identify what’s important to you, giving you the platform and tools to work together to create a fair and lasting separation agreement.

For those facing foreclosure, there’s the missed mortgage payments pathway. As you progress through the pathway, MyLawBC gives you practical information on how to avoid foreclosure and where to find financial and legal help. Upon completion of the pathway, you are provided with an “action plan” which tells you what your options are to keep your house and what steps you need to take. Your plan also includes resources like tips, checklists, and sample letters.

The make a will pathway will help you learn about the decisions you need to make when writing a will. Depending on your situation, MyLawBC may provide you with a simple form to fill out to create your will. Even if MyLawBC cannot provide a will to fit your needs, the pathway will give you information about what to put in your will and how to get help to complete one.

Planning for your future where you may need help making decisions is also important. The plan for the future pathway explains the available legal documents and which one(s) are for you.


STAY INFORMED WITH LSS:

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Access to Justice BC

a2j_logoAccess to Justice BC is British Columbia’s response to a national call for action to make family and civil justice more accessible. It is a forum to facilitate open communication and collaborative working relationships among justice system stakeholders.

The following entry is a cross-post from the Access to Justice BC website

By Mr. Justice Robert J. Bauman
The Honourable Chief Justice of British Columbia
Chair of Access to Justice BC


Welcome to the Access to Justice BC website. It is my sincere pleasure to launch what I anticipate will become a series of updates communicating the activities and progress of Access to Justice BC. I look forward to reaching people across our province who are interested in and concerned about the extent to which the civil justice system is accessible in BC. I want to provide information about what Access to Justice BC is doing about the problem, and to invite you to tell us how well we are doing.

In this posting, I will describe a bit about Access to Justice BC and explain what encouraged me get involved with the initiative.

Access to Justice BC started when a few of the province’s justice leaders and thinkers took to heart the recommendation of the National Action Committee to create a provincial forum dedicated to improving access to justice. The small group of people grew larger and came to involve the major legal institutions in the province, and eventually representatives from organizations outside of the justice system as well. The rationale for this broad membership is to foster an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to the issue, hopefully leading to better ideas and a greater willingness to experiment (and to take risks).

Access to Justice BC got off the ground in 2015 with a handful of meetings addressing the processes that the group will follow and deciding on a first target for action within the civil justice system: family law. Running parallel to the full Access to Justice BC meetings have been a multitude of smaller sub-committee meetings, working on strategy, communications and planning issues.

The most recent full meeting of Access to Justice BC, which I will describe in more detail in a separate posting, took place in February of this year and put to the test the creative thinking and commitment of the group. A number of concrete initiatives were identified for exploration, and I will be reporting on these initiatives as they progress.

What drew me to join Access to Justice BC? Like many people involved in the civil justice system, I am sorely aware of its shortcomings. Don’t get me wrong; I’m also proudly aware of its strengths and successes. But when I see litigants struggling to navigate complex court processes on their own, or when I consider the unknown number of people in BC who, thwarted by the potential cost, don’t pursue their legal rights, I have to ask myself: is the justice system there for everyone who needs it? If not, what are we doing wrong? Are there minor fixes to address some problems, or is a complex overhaul required? Conversely, what aspects of the system (or of another system for that matter) are working well? Is there a way to transpose those successes to certain areas of civil justice or to scale them upwards?

Access to Justice BC does not pretend to have the answers to these questions. The access problem isn’t something that can be solved by a group of people thinking hard in a room. It is a complex problem that may require multiple innovative solutions and, in order to reach those solutions, some degree of trial and error. It will also take hard work and, yes, in some cases resources.

I hope that you will visit our website and follow our progress over the next year.

– Bob Bauman, Chief Justice of British Columbia


Stay informed with Access to Justice BC:

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: March-April 2016

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. Here is a selection from the hundreds of changes in March and April:

Jan-Feb | Mar-Apr | May-Jun | Jul-Aug | Sep-Oct | Nov-Dec


Battered Women’s Support Services
by Battered Women’s Support Services

See BWSS’ expanded legal advocacy program which includes full representation (family and immigration matters), and other help on family law issues: workshops, a family law clinic and a court forms preparation clinic.

 

Islamophobia Hotline
by SABA BC, Access Pro Bono, National Council of Canadian Muslims, BCPIAC, FACL BC, CLAS, BCCLA, CABL, CBA BC

Free confidential legal advice if you feel that you have been discriminated, harassed, or faced violence because you are Muslim or were perceived to be Muslim: 604-343-3828

 

Resources on police record checks
by Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Want to know what a police record is? How to try to deal with a non-conviction record? What privacy and human rights laws apply, or best practices for employers? Check out this resource from the CCLA.

 

LSLAP Manuals
by LSLAP Law Students’ Legal Advice Program

See the latest links for LSLAP’s updated legal advice manuals.

 

Coping with Separation Handbook
by Legal Services Society

For spouses (married or living in a marriage-like relationship) dealing with the emotional aspects of separating. Describes ways to cope and how to help your children cope. Includes support services for spouses, parents, and children, and where to find legal help.

 

The Social Security Tribunal
by Disability Alliance BC and CLAS

In 2013, the process to appeal the denial of Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) changed when a new system, the Social Security Tribunal (SST), replaced the Review Tribunal. This guide will help people and advocates who are appealing denial of CPP-D to the SST. The guide has been updated in 2016.

 

Atira Legal Services
by Atira Women’s Resources Society

See updated information for Atira’s Legal Advocacy Program for Women in the DTES, Atira’s Weekly Summary Legal Advice Clinic, and Atira Women’s Court Form Preparation Clinic.

 

The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion
by NSLRP

As a self-represented litigant, you may bring someone to sit with you at the front of a courtroom when you are appearing before a judge or master. You must ask the judge for permission for this person – often a friend or family member – to sit beside you and help you through the process.

 

Executor Guide for BC
by Heritage Law

This publicly available wikibook will help you understand the steps involved in being an executor and probating a will.

 

Leaving Abuse
by Legal Services Society

This graphic novel tells the story of Maya, who is leaving her abusive partner but doesn’t know where to get help. Through illustrations and clear basic legal information, Leaving Abuse shows how she finds the support and legal aid she and her children need to stay safe and start a new life.

 

TRU Community Legal Clinic (CLC)
by Thompson Rivers University (TRU)

The Community Legal Clinic (CLC) is the first student-staffed pro bono legal clinic in the Interior of British Columbia. The students and the supervising lawyer are a passionate team providing legal assistance and advice to those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance.

 

Preparing for B.C.’s New Societies Act: A Guide to the Transition Process
by BC Registry Services

The new Societies Act will come into effect on Nov. 28, 2016. In the two years following that date, every preexisting society will be required to “transition” to the new Act. This document sets out some basic information about the transition process and other matters that societies may wish to consider over the coming months.

 

Debt collection & debt repayment agents
by Consumer Protection BC

Consumer Protection BC is the licensing and regulatory body for the debt collection and repayment industry (which includes debt collectors, collection agencies, bailiffs and debt repayment agents). They provide information on your rights & obligations around debt collection practices. Includes links on how to dispute a debt, request communication in writing only, or notify a collection agency you are not the debtor.

Includes updated information on debt collection practices. See also blog post on Debt Repayment Agents: New Rules are in place and New things to know about BC’s debt collection laws


Notice – BC Government URLs

You may have noticed that some of the links to websites hosted by the BC Government may be broken as they restructure. We are currently working with BC Gov website staff to keep links updated. For example, see the updated link to Family Justice in BC.

Stay informed:

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Free webinar on legal issues facing older women survivors of violence in British Columbia

Roads to Safety partial cover
“Roads to Safety” will launch on May 24th to coincide with Part 1 of the webinar, and all participants will receive the link to download the PDF. It will also be available via Clicklaw.

By West Coast LEAF

Elder abuse and violence against women aren’t separate issues, and we believe that they must not be separate conversations. That’s why West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are offering a free webinar for front-line service providers to explore the legal challenges that are most likely to impact older women in BC who have experienced violence.

If you support or advocate for older women in BC, we invite you to join our free two-part webinar on Tuesday May 24th and Tuesday May 31st from noon to 1 pm Pacific Time. We will introduce our new 90-page plain language legal handbook for older women fleeing violence, called Roads to Safety, and offer an overview of some of the legal topics it covers:

TUESDAY MAY 24th – PART 1

• Decision-making rights and capacity, including for women with dementia and mental health diagnoses
• Substitute decision-makers and the abuse of decision-making authority
• Protection orders and peace bonds
• Options to assist older women who are facing abuse and cannot take action to protect themselves

TUESDAY MAY 31st – PART 2

• Public pensions
• Basics of property division after separation or divorce, including pension division
• Steps to protect assets in cases of financial abuse

Each session will be framed by discussion of the insights that 450 older women shared with us in nine different languages as part of the Older Women’s Dialogue Project. Throughout the webinar, we’ll maintain a focus on the gendered dynamics of violence against older adults. We aim to prompt reflection about how legal challenges in the aftermath of abuse can vary based not only on age and gender, but also based on ability, citizenship status, Indigenous identity, language, access to financial resources, and more.

We hope you will come away with greater confidence in talking to older women in BC about their legal rights and options in the context of abuse.

This webinar is part of the Older Women’s Legal Education Project, a collaboration between West Coast LEAF and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. Funding has been generously provided by the BC Council to Reduce Elder Abuse.
Space in the webinar is limited to 100 people. Please register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1678353196952104195

Questions? We would love to hear from you! Please contact Alana Prochuk at education@westcoastleaf.org or 604-684-8772 extension 117.

Stay informed with West Coast LEAF:

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Census 2016 Resources

Census2016The following information on the 2016 Census is from the City of Vancouver but includes general helpful info:

Dear Community Partners:

As you are aware, the 2016 Census is officially underway!

In an effort to encourage all Vancouver residents to participate in this year’s Census, we ask you to share the following information with your colleagues and clients.  Among other things, people may not be aware that, in addition to English and French, the questions are available here in 11 ethnic languages and 11 aboriginal languages, as well as in braille, audio and sign language (video). It is important to note that the questions are translated for reference purposes only. The census questionnaire must be completed online or on paper, in either English or French. The census paper questionnaire can be obtained in large print format by calling the Census Help Line at 1-855-700-2016.

Statistics Canada staff will also go out into the community and give presentations on request: please contact Peter Liang at Peter.Liang@canada.ca or 604.366.7597.

Census Questions

Data Collection

  • Mailout of letters to all households in Statistics Canada database about has already taken place (May 2nd).
  • Any household not receiving a letter should call the Census help line at: 1-855-700-2016 or TTY 1-866-753-7083. In particular in Vancouver, many secondary suites may not be known to Statistics Canada, and we’d really like their information to be collected.
  • In-person enumeration and follow up will take place over the next few months.

Making the Census Accessible

  • Census help line: The Census Help Line operates Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting May 2, 2016. The census help line will answer questions in non-official languages as able.
  • Anyone can request a printed copy of the questionnaire if they are unable to complete it online.
  • Accommodation for people with sensory disabilities: http://www.census.gc.ca/ccr16h/ccr16h_001-eng.html
  • Multilingual fact sheets and translations of the questionnaire: http://www.census.gc.ca/ccr16f/ccr16f_000-eng.html

Content of the Questions

  • Completing the census is mandatory.
  • No personal information is published (until 2108, if people give permission to future researchers) and it’s not used for anything but statistical purposes.
  • The census isn’t perfect, and some questions may not include everyone: In particular, persons not identifying as either male or female should leave the sex question blank but must add an explanatory note in the comments section: http://www.census.gc.ca/ccr16c/ccr16c_010-eng.html#a73.
  • There are city resources that can help with some of the long-form questions: In particular, people can use Vanmap to look up the year their dwelling was built and what its assessed value is.

Census Jobs

  • Statistics Canada is still hiring field staff to collect data. People may apply if they are 18 years of age or older and are eligible to work in Canada as a citizen, permanent resident or temporary resident with a work permit.
  • More information about the hiring process is available online: http://www.census.gc.ca/ccr16d/ccr16d_000-eng.html.

Stay Informed:

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Legal Resources for Youth

Do you work with children and youth? Here are some interesting services and programs from our Clicklaw contributors that you may not know about:

Bookable Court Tours, Mock Trials & School Workshops

mock_trials_JES_youthJustice Education Society runs a Justice Education Program that provides bookable court tours in various locations across BC and also facilitates youth mock trials: JES helps coordinate about 70 youth mock trials each year, performed by youth ranging from Grade 5 to Law 12 students. Younger participants will use scenarios from popular book series (e.g. Harry Potter), while Law 12 students will perform actual case re-enactments. To read more about how to book a court tour or mock trial, click here.

DCC_frontThe Downtown Community Court (DCC) in Vancouver’s DTES, which opened in 2008, is a partnership between the BC Provincial Court, the Ministry of Justice, and social and health service agencies. Its goal is to reduce crime, improve public safety, and provide integrated justice, health and social services to offenders in a timely manner, while holding them accountable for their actions. DCC offers tours to the general public, school groups and even international visitors, who come to learn about the DCC model. The tour lasts for about 1.5 hours during which the guide will introduce: how the DCC got started, who generally attends at the DCC, a typical day in court, and what integrated programs are connected with the court. Tours are provided on Tuesday and Thursday or by special arrangement. To organize a tour, contact communitycourt@gov.bc.ca.

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People’s Law School runs the Justice Theatre program, delivered throughout the province of BC: a troupe of professional actors perform dramatizations of criminal trials at elementary and secondary schools and to community groups. Each show is designed for participatory engagement. Attendees are encouraged to be part of the jury, to debate the issues and to vote on the overall outcome of the case. Topics can range from: Bullying and the Internet, Bullying and Violence, Stanley Cup Riot, Gang Violence, and Shoplifting. For more information on Justice Theatre, please contact: Rob McAninch 604-331-5400

wcleaf_trendshiftWest Coast LEAF offers workshops for students in Grades 8-12, in Kamloops, Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland. The workshops can be delivered in schools or community groups. The goals of the workshops are to: open a space for discussion with young people about the ways the Internet is used in our lives, and to clear up myths about what the law in BC says about online behaviour. The workshop is 2.5 hours in length and can be offered over 1-3 sessions. Read more about the TrendShift workshops here.

CPABC-logo2Cerebral Palsy Association of BC operates a number of programs for youth with disabilities, including: a Youth Without Limits Support Group – a peer-to-peer support group for people with disabilities – youth and young adults between the ages of 13-29, facilitated by people with disabilities. Youth Without Limits is held in downtown Vancouver. The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC also operates the Navigator for Youth Transitioning to Adult Services, which helps connect youth with the services they need through our specialized information and referral resource. The Navigator service is available for youth aged 14 to 25, their parents and members of their Transition Support Teams. To access this service, call the CPABC office at 604-408-9484, or email Jeanne@bccerebralpalsy.com.

Online Resources

  • Explore the “Children & teens” section of the Clicklaw site to find common questions and resources on: young people and criminal law, parental separation, rights of children & teens, and protecting children.
  • The HelpMap features multiple services that provide help with legal issues related to children & teens here.
  • The Law Foundation of BC and the Representative for Children and Youth have compiled a list of resources and services for children and youth; many of these resources can also be accessed through Clicklaw.
  • Justice Education Society has just soft-launched a new service for youth legal_rights_youth_jes
    at LegalRightsForYouth.ca. What’s new: a virtual assistant to help youth understand basic legal concepts and find the right information. Every weekday from 11am to 2pm, youth can chat live (with LSLAP students) to get answers to their legal questions. During offline hours, youth can ask questions and get answers back by email. Topics include: Working, Renting, Driving, Debt, etc.

Stay Informed:

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Clicklaw at the first Canadian Twitter Town Hall with #AskChiefJudge

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Chief Judge Crabtree taking a selfie by request at the Twitter Town Hall. Also pictured: Karen St. Aubin from the CBA BC Branch, Audrey Jun from Courthouse Libraries BC (Clicklaw)

The BC Provincial Court — a Clicklaw contributor — made history last Thursday as the first court in Canada to hold a Twitter Town Hall.

Everyone was invited to participate by tweeting questions to the Provincial Court’s Chief Judge Crabtree using the hashtag #AskChiefJudge or by sending an email prior to the event. The Chief Judge tweeted 100 direct replies in response between 1-3pm on April 14th, BC Law Day.

As the Provincial Court eNews notes, the event was promoted by “[t]he communications team of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch…as part of BC Law Week. They, and the BC Law Society, Trial Lawyers Association, Courthouse Libraries BC, Clicklaw, Justice Education Society, Legal Services Society, Mediate BC, Access Pro Bono, Access to Justice BC, and Nidus joined the conversation, adding helpful information.”  Thank you as well to all Clicklaw contributor organizations and Clicklaw visitors and users for participating!

News of the event made waves online:

Following the Town Hall, reflections on the event’s success:

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Take the first step: Wills and Personal Planning

End of life.

It’s one of those topics that we usually like to dance around or pointedly avoid until a problem is staring us in the face.

I’ve narrowed it down three possible culprits:

  • we may think learning about estate planning and personal planning is too difficult and complicated;
  • we may think it costs too much money; and/or
  • in the context of personal planning, we may easily conceive of accidents happening to us as we explore new and unknown places, but not in our own home, workplace or community.

Here are some ways to take the first step:

MakeAWillPoster2016
Make a Will Week encourages the public to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.

There’s no better time than now to start learning about the importance of having these legal documents in place. Think of it like travel insurance–nobody especially likes planning for it, but don’t you want to make sure you’re covered in a crisis?

At the Wills and Personal Planning Resources page on the Courthouse Libraries BC website, you have one page with information guides, forms, free or nominal-fee services, tools, and events—for everyone to use. Did you know about CBA BC’s Dial-a-Lawyer Day coming up on April 16th?

The PDFs are printable and shareable.

What’s Personal Planning? Isn’t a will enough?

If you don’t know about Representation Agreements, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives, you’ll want to read more about these important legal planning documents here.

PLS_Nidus_April14
Law Day is April 14, across Canada.

Along with the other Law Week presentations, bookmark Nidus’ topical presentation (free, in-person) at People’s Law School on April 14th, which will cover the key legal documents, as well as:

Check out everything mentioned above here.

All Law Week/Make-a-Will Week Events:

Stay Informed:

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Photo credit: Freepik

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