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:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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.

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

Societies Act – November 28, 2016

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

Resources for you:

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: July-August

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 July and August:

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


lss-logoLegal Aid Community Outreach
by Legal Services Society

The following community partners have important changes:

  • Boston Bar First Nation – this location is temporarily closed
  • Lytton First Nation – see the new address posted
  • Vernon Women’s Transition House Society – see the new phone number posted

BC_Centre_for_Elder_Advocacy_and_Support_LogoSeniors’ Legal Clinic
by BC Centre for Elder Advocacy & Support (BC CEAS)

New locations added in Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Surrey, and Vancouver’s West End. BC CEAS now offers legal services at those locations once a month. See the schedule posted.

EFry_logoElizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver

Since 1939, EFry has been providing support to incarcerated or at risk women, as well as their children. Services include assisting clients in understanding and navigating the court process at the Downtown Community Court and supporting girls in custody at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre.

BC_Ombudsperson_logoBC Ombudsperson

The Ombudsperson can conduct impartial and confidential investigations to determine if a public agency is being fair to the people it serves. Their services are provided free of charge.

Family_Law_in_BC_postcardsFamily Law in BC: Quick Reference Tool
by Legal Services Society

This set of postcards has been updated. They are available online or in print.

 

bcgov

Options for Parents and Families: Collaborative Planning and Decision-Making in Child Welfare
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

This two-page booklet briefly describes different kinds of shared decision-making, and some of the ways that you can be involved in planning when a child welfare worker has concerns about your child’s safety.

bcgovPermanent Transfer of Custody of a Child to Someone Familiar in BC
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

When a temporary placement for a child is not possible, the alternative could be transferring custody to the caregiver by adoption or a court order. This page briefly describes the conditions, guardian’s responsibilities, financial support, rights, access orders, and future legal matters.

cropped-clicklaw_logo_postit.pngClicklaw’s Find Someone to Talk With

The list of toll-free phone numbers for law-related help in BC has been updated.

Clicklaw HelpMap

Most visited HelpMap services in July & August:

  1. Family Justice Centres
  2. Court Registries
  3. UBC Law Students Legal Advice Clinics
  4. Access Pro Bono Clinics
  5. LSS Provincial Court Family Duty Counsel
Share

Residential Tenancy Rights: Where to go for help?

apb_bannerBy Priyan Samarakoone
Program Manager, Access Pro Bono

The BC housing crisis has been fairly well documented in the news as of late and its ripple effect on subsidized housing is slowly rearing its ugly head. BC’s most vulnerable tenants are those hit the hardest by this trend.

It is commonly known that BC’s social housing providers are not able to keep up with the demand. As a result, many low-income tenants seek accommodation through private landlords in basement suites and split houses to cover the shortfall of available housing. This has provided a workable bridge to a long-term housing solution. Unfortunately, there is no long-term solution in sight. New property owners are faced with higher debt and some are unable to afford to rent out their new homes at the existing low rent. These landlords opt to move-in close family members or undertake significant renovations to force existing tenants out. Other new homeowners prefer to maintain the property for investment purposes and choose not to make them available on the rental market.

The increased market value of rental suites have also resulted in some Corporate Landlords having little tolerance for long term tenants who are effectively rent controlled under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Tenants who have previously had little to no conflict with regards to their suites find themselves battling their landlords over minor lapses that weren’t strictly enforced in the past, such as being a day or two late in paying rent. These factors have combined to cause a spike in eviction notices being served on tenants in the recent months.

The RTA provides some safeguards but has an ultimate two-month notice period for landlords to end tenancies for their personal use of the property. The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB), when dealing with such disputes, enforces strict deadlines and there are other technical steps involved in submitting evidence. It is imperative in this type of tribunal settings to get all the evidence required for the dispute before the arbitrator so that the issue may be correctly decided. If the evidence is not correctly submitted and an error is made at the tribunal, the prospect of success on a Judicial Review is significantly impaired. Unfortunately some landlords and tenants caught in this situation are unaware of their rights and uncertain of what resources are available to assist them deal with evictions. The RTB provides some information and so do organizations like the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC), but not enough is available by way of representation at RTB hearings.

Access Pro Bono (APB) has consulted with various stakeholders, including PovNet, TRAC, the UBC Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP), and the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) to assess the need for additional representation services. Although the existing non-profit organizations are providing invaluable assistance, additional legal representation services are imperative, as significant numbers of people are still unable to secure free legal advocates for hearings before the RTB.

With the assistance of TRAC and CLAS, APB is creating a program tailored to facilitate pro bono representation by lawyers and other legally trained advocates to low-income individuals (tenants or landlords) appearing before the RTB. APB will be launching our Residential Tenancy Program on August 31, 2016. This information will be made available via the Clicklaw HelpMap.

Clients interested in accessing our services will be subject to the standard intake protocol and will have to meet our income threshold. To determine eligibility please visit www.accessprobono.ca.

Lawyers interested in joining our RTP can contact APB at 604.482.3195 ext. 1513.

Please refer to the resources below for additional assistance.

Information on Tenancy Law

  • APB’s Summary Legal Advice Program: 604.878.7400 or 1.877.762.6664.

Representation

Stay informed with Access Pro Bono:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share