2017 Bi-Monthly Update Series: March/April

To keep you informed, here are some highlights of changes and updates made to Clicklaw in March and April:

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


Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia

  • Navigator for Youth Transitioning to Adult Services
    Youth with disabilities in BC face challenges when transitioning from childhood to adult services. This program helps youth aged 14 to 25, their parents and members of their Transition Support Teams, connect with the services they need, such as disability benefits, health services, or school supports.

Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Disability Alliance BC

The following help sheets are now available in 5 languages: Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish.

Legal Services Society

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

People’s Law School

Each of the following publications now has a fresh new look, new content, and more practical guidance. Both are available in multiple media formats: wikibook, EPUB (for reading on a tablet or e-reader), PDF (print version), and printed booklet (order via Crown Publications).

  • Essentials of Consumer Law
    Explains consumer rights for common purchases and contracts. Now includes a new section on making a contract.
  • Scams to Avoid
    Covers 15 of the most common scams. Now includes new sections on romance scams, charity scams, and expanded coverage of online and computer scams.

Provincial Court of British Columbia

  • Guidelines for Using a Support Person in Provincial Court
    Many self-represented litigants find that having a trusted friend or family member with them to provide emotional support, take notes, and organize documents can be a big help. The BC Provincial Court recognizes this, and has adopted guidelines to make it easier to bring a support person to court.

Common Question – Provincial Court Resources for Everyone: Small Claims Court

On June 1, 2017, the limit for small claims will increase to $35,000 from $25,000. This page has been updated to include this information and a link to the New Small Claims Procedures from the Provincial Court of BC. Note: The Provincial Court Resources pages will be updated for May 2017.

Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL)

  • Older Women’s Dialogue Project
    This project looks at law and social policy issues that affect older woman and explores what can be done to address barriers to their quality of life.
  • Older Women’s Legal Education Project
    A collaboration with West Coast LEAF, this project tries to enhance the capacity of seniors-serving professionals to support older women fleeing violence occurring in the family and to inform older women of their rights in situations of abuse.

Stay informed:

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2017 Bi-Monthly Update Series: January/February

To keep you informed, here are some key changes and updates made to Clicklaw in January and February (plus one March bonus):

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


Going to (Provincial) Court
by Provincial Court of BC

Most people attending court are nervous, but knowing what to expect can help. Here are answers to some of the questions you may have, depending on why you’re going to court.

Common Question: What if I want legal help for only part of my (family law) problem?

Unbundled legal services may be an option for those who want the advice and assistance of a family lawyer, but for whom hiring one from beginning to end is too expensive. Unlike the traditional full-representation model, a lawyer providing unbundled legal services works on, and charges you for, only those tasks that you agree to in advance. Read more at the Common Question page and see lawyers/paralegals who offer unbundled services on the Roster page.

Mothers Leaving Abusive Partners: Information on Custody and Access for Women with Children
by Legal Services Society and YWCA Vancouver

This updated resource contains information on: what abuse is, how to protect yourself and your children, what the courts can do, deciding parenting arrangements, and where to get help and support. Includes a checklist of what to take with you when you leave an abusive relationship.

Court rules, forms and self-help guides to court procedures

All links to court forms changed this February as Ministry websites were redesigned. Our flow chart that helps you find the forms you may need when going to court (among other things) and has been updated with the latest links.

Service: BWSS Drop-In Family Law Information and Referral Clinic
by Battered Women Support Services

This clinic is designed to provide legal information to women who have urgent matters in family law proceedings; legal information, legal referrals and legal advocacy support will be provided during one to one appointments.

Starting a Franchise in B.C.
by BC Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

This resource covers: What is a Franchise?, Franchisee Checklist, Questions to Ask when purchasing a franchise, Q&A on the new Franchises Act that came into force on February 1, 2017.

An Agenda for Justice
by Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch

The CBABC presents a series of reforms and recommendations aimed at improving access to justice for all British Columbians. An effective justice system is one that actively supports the ability of families, communities and businesses to evolve and thrive.

A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia (March Bonus!)
by Law Society of BC

This report prepared for Benchers by the Law Society’s Legal Aid Task Force concludes that legal aid is a crucial part of the proper administration of justice in a free and democratic society. In a society based on the rule of law, every person must have equal access to the justice system. The report provides a brief history of legal aid in BC, sets out the need for a principled vision, and makes a number of recommendations to realize the Law Society’s Vision for Public Legal Aid in BC.

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Organization of the Month | February 2017

Introduction to the RSTP

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) supports groups interested in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program, through which Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents can engage in the resettlement of refugees.

RSTP works with many different types of sponsoring groups: Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) and their Constituent Groups (CGs), Groups of Five, and Community Sponsors across Canada (excluding Quebec).

The increase in interest in the PSR program and involvement from the public in the resettlement of Syrian refugees that Canada has witnessed since September 2015 dramatically increased demand for RSTP services. With additional funding support, RSTP has been able to expand its staff and programs to assist sponsors across the country. For the first time, RSTP placed Trainers in Vancouver and Halifax to provide more intensive regional support.

What do we do?

RSTP addresses information and ongoing training needs of private sponsorship groups (PSGs), and the initial information needs of sponsored refugees.

RSTP provides training to sponsorship groups via:

  • Webinar presentations
  • Workshops
  • Information sessions
  • Training manuals and guides
  • Online-based training courses

RSTP keeps sponsors informed about policy updates via:

  • Information sessions
  • E-mail distribution lists
  • the RSTP Website (rstp.ca)

RSTP assists sponsors with their case-specific questions by:

RSTP in Western Canada

The RSTP Trainer in Vancouver, BC works closely with PSGs in Alberta and British Columbia. RSTP’s activities in Western Canada include:

Workshops and Training Sessions

RSTP offers trainings and workshops to ensure that PSGs understand the requirements of the program and the level of commitment needed, assist them with preparing application packages and guide them through the sponsorship process. RSTP emphasizes post-arrival issues that private sponsors may encounter and make sure that they receive the necessary assistance with providing settlement support to sponsored refugees.

Support with case-specific inquiries

RSTP responds to e-mail and telephone inquiries from sponsorship groups in Alberta and BC requesting: assistance with completing application forms, clarification of eligibility requirements, obtaining application updates, and seeking support with finding necessary settlement resources.

Updates and Information Sharing

RSTP keeps abreast of policy developments and changes, including provincial initiatives in BC and AB, and informs sponsorship groups via an e-mail distribution list.

Networking and Outreach

RSTP takes part in community events, networking meetings, roundtable discussions, and other events that focus on refugee protection and resettlement issues.

When and how can I contact RSTP?

Please do not hesitate to contact RSTP if you:

  • Are interested in learning more about Private Refugee Sponsorship program;
  • Would like assistance with completing application forms;
  • Have a case-specific question related to a refugee individual/family whom your group is sponsoring;
  • Would like to get connected to a settlement service provider organization;
  • Have questions about preparing for the long-term and ending sponsorship period; and/or
  • Would like to learn about upcoming workshops, webinars, and other training events offered to private sponsorship groups.

RSTP is funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and administered by Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS).

RSTP office in Ontario:

55 Town Centre Court, Suite 401 Toronto, ON M1P 4X4 Canada
E-mail: info@rstp.ca
Tel: 416.290.1700; Toll-free: 1.877.290.1701

RSTP Trainer in Western Canada:

Tel: 604.254.9626 ext. 517

 

 

Stay informed with RSTP:

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What is “Unbundling”? An Introduction to the BC Family Law Unbundling Roster

New on the Clicklaw HelpMap is the BC Family Law Unbundling Roster, filled with legal professionals across BC, who offer “unbundled” services.

This listing is managed directly by Roster Staff. To see full profiles for professionals on the list, which contains information about fee structure, supported languages and more, visit the Roster website here.

What are Unbundled Services?

In short, unbundled legal services means clients pay for some assistance depending on: (1) what they want help with and (2) what they can afford.

Most people would like to have the advice and assistance of a family lawyer, but hiring a lawyer to represent them from beginning to end is often too expensive and makes it difficult to predict total costs.

Unlike the traditional full-representation model, a lawyer providing unbundled legal services works on, and charges you for, only those tasks that you agree to in advance. You start by meeting your lawyer and, as a team, make a plan to address your legal problem. The entire matter is broken down into tasks and you choose which tasks you want help with and which ones you will handle on your own. This approach is flexible, and can be adapted to meet your needs including your budget and your comfort level with managing your own legal affairs.

Unbundling is not for everyone. The Roster website has a questionnaire that will help you decide whether it is for you.

What are some examples of Unbundled Services?

For example, if you are representing yourself in court you may want a lawyer’s help with drafting a document or pre-trial advice. If you are resolving your dispute through an out-of-court process like mediation, an unbundled lawyer can provide legal advice before mediation or draft a binding agreement after mediation.

Related Help

Do you know a lawyer or paralegal who is interested in joining?

Send them to this page on the Courthouse Libraries BC website, which offers a Sign Up link to join the BC Family Unbundling Roster, and a toolkit to assist and guide in the provision of unbundled family legal services in a safe and effective way. These core documents have been prepared with the assistance of the Law Society of BC.

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: November/December

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. This post concludes our 2016 series with a glimpse into some of the changes and updates made in November and December. We plan to continue these updates into 2017.

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


RDSP Helpline
by PLAN Institute

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a Canada-wide registered matched savings plan specific for people with disabilities. This helpline will help answer questions about the RDSP and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) pre-requisite.

Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT): Small Claims Solution Explorer
by Civil Resolution Tribunal

The Solution Explorer is a tool for helping people manage and resolve disputes in BC. It’s now available to beta test for small claims problems. The beta version won’t let you make a claim with the CRT yet. Use it to find free legal information and tools about small claims matters.

Common Question: Can I get a legal order to keep an abuser away from me?

Effective December 5, 2016, the Ministry of Justice will coordinate the service of protection orders under the Family Law Act, when the order is issued without the respondent (i.e. abuser) in court. This is to ensure that the inability to hire a process server does not hinder service. This will be in effect for one year, and may be extended for two additional one-year periods, at the discretion of the Ministry. Read more at the Common Question page.

Common Question: I’ve been turned down for PWD benefits. What can I do?

If the Ministry has turned down your application for the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit, you have the right to appeal. You have 20 business days, from the day you receive the letter telling you that your application has been rejected, to give the Ministry your reconsideration request. You must get the reconsideration request form from a Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation (MSDSI) office. Read more at the Common Question page.

Housing Help Guide
by Justice Education Society of BC

A series of information sheets about legal questions around housing. The help guides includes topics such as: Being a Tenant, Discrimination and Renting, Buying a House, Selling your House and Foreclosure.

MyLawBC: I’ve been served with a court document pathway
by Legal Services Society

This guided pathway will help you figure out what to do next if you’ve been served with (given) court documents in a family law case. It will lead you to the best available resources for your particular situation, including online self-help guides or in-person services.

Guide to the Law of Protests in British Columbia
by McGrady & Company

This guide informs you of your rights when dealing with the police at public demonstrations. It is designed to help you exercise your right to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience, and avoid committing any criminal offence. It is also designed to assist you in the event you are arrested.

Filing Guide: How to file a Transition Application in Societies Online
by BC Registry Services

A step-by-step guide to the Societies Act Transition Application.

Stay informed:

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Common Questions 2016 Update

What are Common Questions (CQs)?

Clicklaw links to so many great resources, which can make it difficult to decide which one to read first. Clicklaw’s Common Questions are like an extended legal FAQ. They help narrow down the resources people should start with. We are currently working on reviewing and updating our 160 questions.

An example of a Common Question:

renting_rights

In the last 30 days, these 5 CQs received over 4000 views:

Some of our new or updated questions are:

  • Can I get a legal order to keep an abuser away from me? Updated: Effective December 5, 2016, the Ministry of Justice will coordinate the service of protection orders under the Family Law Act, when the order is issued without the respondent (i.e. abuser) in court. This is to ensure that someone’s (your) inability to hire a process server does not hinder service.
  • I think I was sexually harassed. What can I do? This common question directs you to information resources, as well as to the BC Human Rights Clinic that can provide help to resolve your issue.
  • What does the new Societies Act require? The new Societies Act is in force as of November 28, 2016. Pre-existing societies have a two-year transition period to come into compliance with the new act. There are numerous helpful resources and services to help you transition.
  • Is marijuana legal in BC? Not for recreational use. Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense across Canada, under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This common question explains the exceptions, and has information on the Canadian government’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation.

Do you have an idea for a Common Question?

Do you get asked the same questions over and over again by your clients? Send your suggestions to: editor[@]clicklaw.bc.ca

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Societies Act – November 28, 2016

s-act_thumbThe new Societies Act is in force today. It replaces the old Society Act.

Resources for you:

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New Feature: Last Reviewed Date

Clicklaw has introduced a new feature on its website—both desktop and mobile—which is designed to help you figure out what’s new and updated.

Resource listings now have a last reviewed date, in addition to a produced in year:

last_reviewed_01

Hovering over the orange “i” icon will tell you what the date means:

last_reviewed_02

You can also sort results by last reviewed date; listings with the most recent date will show at the top:

last_reviewed_03

Read more about the last reviewed date on our new page, Tips on Assessing Legal Information.

We are in the process of working with all contributors to ensure the last reviewed dates on their resource listings are updated.

Let us know if you have any feedback: editor@clicklaw.bc.ca

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: September-October

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 sample from the changes in September and October:

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


connected-car-coverThe Connected Car
by BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

The report outlines how data culled from vehicle telematics and infotainment systems can be used for safety, monitoring, customer relationship management etc. Yet some data harvested from cars can also be used to track and profile customers for marketing and other purposes.

starting-a-small-business-in-bc-coverStarting a Small Business in BC Guide
by BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

This 2016 edition is an introductory guide to help you with planning, implementing, and developing a small business. It provides essential information you need to know as well as links to additional resources to help ensure that your new business is successful.

cpabc-logoLegal Workshop videos
by Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia

The videos from CPABC’s legal workshops include topics such as workplace discrimination, victims of crime, and rights for youth in transition.

clas-logoBC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Have you received a decision from the BC government or a tribunal (decision maker) that you think is seriously flawed or unfair? After you have gone through all your appeal options within the system, you may be able to ask a judge to review the decision.

CLAS has a guide for people who are representing themselves in a judicial review. We have now updated and modified this guide into a web-based form where users can navigate through the judicial review process for their selected tribunal. This website gives an overview of options that people have, step-by-step information about filing court documents, and templates that people can use when self-representing in Court. The website also allows people to get in touch with CLAS lawyers to ask for information and advice about their situation.

dabc-logoBC Disability Benefits Help Sheets
by Disability Alliance BC

As of September 2016, Disability Alliance BC has fully updated their Help Sheet series to reflect the changes to the PWD benefit, including a rate increase and changes to the BC Bus Pass Program.

emilys-choice-coverEmily’s Choice
by Legal Services Society

Emily’s Choice uses storytelling and images to describe child protection. Co-produced with the Healthy Aboriginal Network, the video and graphic novel tell the story of Emily, who struggles with addiction and an unhealthy relationship. She loves her son, Greg, but can’t always take care of him. When he goes into foster care, she gets legal help and family support to get him back.

The webpage provides links to the video, trailer, online version of the graphic novel, ordering information, who can help, and promotional material.

the-factum-logoThe Factum
by Legal Services Society

The Factum is a Legal Services Society blog about the law in British Columbia and how people can navigate the legal system. While it talks a bit about all aspects of the law, it focuses mainly on how the legal system affects people who can’t afford a lawyer.

Civil Resolution Tribunal- BC’s New Online Tribunal0000crt (Webinar recording)
by Civil Resolution Tribunal and Courthouse Libraries BC

This webinar focused on the recent changes to the strata dispute process brought about in the Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act and served as an introduction to the CRT’s resolution services (including guides, videos and sample document templates) and their Solution Explorer software tool.

 

Stay informed:

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BCLI seeks your views on complex stratas

logo_bcli
BCLI carries out scholarly research, writing and analysis for law reform, collaborating with government and other entities, and providing materials and support for outreach and public information.

by Kevin Zakreski
Staff Lawyer & Corporate Secretary

The British Columbia Law Institute wants to hear from you about its proposals to reform the Strata Property Act.

With the help of a volunteer project committee, BCLI is carrying out a multi-year project on strata-property law. The committee has just released its Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas (PDF).

Strata-property law started out as a way to encourage the development of high-density residential housing. Over time, stratas became increasingly complex. They have become more architecturally varied, incorporating different building styles. For example, a single strata development may have an apartment tower, surrounded by townhouses and other low-rise buildings. More and more, stratas are also combining different uses. It’s become common to see mixed-use stratas with retail and commercial uses on the lower floors and residential uses above.

These complex stratas have many benefits. They create variety in the marketplace. They support amenities that owners enjoy. And they advance urban-planning goals.

But complex stratas also create some problems. The bulk of these problems center on money.

It’s expensive to develop a large, sophisticated strata property. If it had to be done all in one go, only the biggest real-estate developers would be able to do it. And once a complex strata is up and running, the owners of strata lots being used for different purposes often have different ideas about how to spend the strata’s money and how to operate the strata. For example, commercial owners might need things like extra trash pickups and security patrols that don’t benefit residential owners. The residential owners may wonder why they should have to contribute to paying for these services.

The Strata Property Act uses three devices to manage these problems. These three devices are sections, types, and phases. They are at the heart of the consultation paper.

Sections and types allow a strata corporation to manage cost sharing between groups of owners, while phases permit the development of a strata property in segments over an extended time. Sections, types, and phases all entered the law in the 1970s. They haven’t been comprehensively reviewed since that time.

The committee considered some bold ideas to reform the law. It debated abolishing sections and greatly expanding the role of types. It looked at fundamentally changing the government oversight that attaches to phases.

In the end, the committee decided to not to propose bold changes. It proposes keeping the current framework, but with some significant fine tuning.

The consultation paper has 68 tentative recommendations for reform, including:

  • 29 tentative recommendations on sections, which propose clarifying the procedures for creating and cancelling sections, spelling out section powers and duties, and strengthening section governance, budgets, and finances;
  • 14 tentative recommendations on types, which propose clarifying the procedures for creating and cancelling types and fine-tuning the operation of types; and
  • 25 tentative recommendations on phases, which propose enhancing the oversight of the phasing process, simplifying governance in a phased strata corporation, and providing additional protections for the financial interests of owners in a phased strata property.

The committee would like to hear your thoughts on all 68 of its proposals. But if you would rather just focus on the big picture, then you may be interested in the summary consultation. It has just three highlighted proposals for comment.

You can find the full consultation paper, the summary consultation, and instructions on how to participate in the consultation on Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two webpage.

Stay informed with BCLI:

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