Extended Hours in Kamloops, Nanaimo and New West Courthouse Libraries

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) is pleased to announce extended hours in three heavily used branches, which will increase access for members of the public.

As of today, Kamloops, Nanaimo, and New Westminster will all be open full time, Monday to Friday, from 8:30-12:00 pm, 12:30-4:00 pm. The extended official hours assure that members of the public and all lawyers have more access on Fridays, and that all clients in these locations can benefit from staff expertise for extended hours as well.

These improvements are made possible by funding from the Law Society of BC and Law Foundation of BC. CLBC’s vision is for members of the public as well as lawyers to have the legal information they need and the skills to use it. Now Kamloops, Nanaimo, and New Westminster will offer a similar level of in-person service as CLBC’s other regional libraries in Prince George and Kelowna.

Vancouver and Victoria branches continue to offer continuous uninterrupted staff assistance from Monday to Friday, from 8:30-4:30 pm.

“In person help from our law librarians is consistently ranked as one of the most valued services we offer”, said Kensi Gounden, CLBC’s Chief Executive Officer. “A lawyer can shave hours off their research time with the help of a law librarian’s expertise, and members of the public benefit immeasurably from a librarian who is trained in reference even if that guidance does not extend to legal advice.” Learn more about CLBC’s many services, including free CPD training and remote access to select subscriptions, at www.courthouselibrary.ca

Stay informed with Courthouse Libraries BC:

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April 2018 Events (BC-wide, Online)

Bookmark this post! It will be updated as more events are announced. You can also get frequent updates via our Twitter. Have a suggestion? Email us.

  • April 4 – 20 (various dates): Law for Nonprofits presents various workshops in Creston, Slocan Valley, Nelson, and Vancouver.
    •  Wednesday, April 4 (9:30 am – 12:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Wednesday, April 4 (1:30 – 4:00 pm) Privacy 101 – the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, April 12 (2:00 – 4:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know –  College of the Rockies – Creston campus. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Saturday, April 14 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – CVFD Fire Hall, Crescent Valley. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Friday, April 20 (2:00 – 4:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – Selkirk College, Nelson. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
  • April 4 – 10 (various dates): Plan Institute presents information sessions and workshops by phone and in Vancouver:
    • Wednesday, April 4 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
    • Thursday, April 5 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) OR Thursday, April 19 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Workshop – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: $65.00 per person or $90.00 for two. Register online here.
    • Tuesday, April 10 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: free. Register online here.
  • April 5 – 25 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC hosts free webinars on various topics.
    • Thursday, April 5 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) Canada Pension Plan Disability Application and Reconsideration – for legal advocates, presented by Disability Alliance BC. Register online here.
    • Thursday, April 12 (10:00 – 11:00 am) Financial 1st Aid for Service Providers – for legal advocates and intermediaries, presented by Credit Counselling Society. Register online here.
    • Wednesday, April 25 (12:00 – 1:30 pm) Working with Indigenous Clients: Understanding the Historic and Current Contexts that Affect Your Work – for lawyers and legal advocates, presented by Lynda Gray, author of First Nations 101. Register online here.
  • April 8 – 21 (various dates): the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch presents various events as part of BC Law Week 2018 by phone and across the province.
    • April 8 – 14 Make-a-Will Week
    • April 14 – 21 Regional Events in BC courthouses – Nanaimo, Kamloops, Victoria, Kelowna.
    • April 16 – 20 Vancouver Courthouse Tours
    • Saturday, April 21 (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) Dial-A-Lawyer Day event by phone. Everyone in BC is invited to speak with a lawyer for FREE for up to 15 minutes about the following areas of law: business, employment, family, immigration, tort & motor vehicle, wills & estates. Download the poster (PDF) for more information.

For a list of all classes, locations, and contact info, visit BC Law Week 2018 website. Topics include strata law, employment law, wills & estates, personal planning, accidents & injuries, and mediation. Get more information on each class here.

  • Friday, April 13 (1:00 – 2:30 pm): Peter A. Allard School of Law presents Indigenous Legal Studies Book Talk: Otter’s Journey at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Join the Indigenous Legal Studies for their inaugural book talk series. In Otter’s Journey, Lindsay Borrows employs the Anishinabee tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Get more information here (PDF).

Stay informed:

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Have your say on governance issues for strata corporations

by Kevin Zakreski, staff lawyer, BCLI

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) is asking you for your views on proposals to change the law governing B.C.’s strata corporations. With its Consultation Paper on Governance Issues for Stratas, BCLI has made 83 tentative recommendations to reform the Strata Property Act, the Strata Property Regulation, and the standard bylaws applicable to strata corporations. You can comment on these tentative recommendations until 15 June 2018.

About strata-corporation governance

Governance is the method or system of an organization’s management. Good governance helps an organization to make timely, effective, and enforceable decisions. Laws on governance are intended to foster these goals.

The popular conception of decision-making in property law emphasizes the sovereignty of individual owners. It’s reflected in the saying, “my home, my castle.” This does not work for strata properties. Giving every owner a veto over every decision would make it next to impossible for the collective to manage common property and to ensure harmonious living.

So strata governance has been based on the corporate model. It provides for majority rule on most decisions, with some important, far-reaching decisions calling for greater-than-majority support.

The consultation paper doesn’t take issue with this basic premise of strata governance. But it does propose a significant level of fine-tuning in selected areas, to improve the operation of the law.

An overview of the consultation paper’s tentative recommendations

Highlights from the paper’s proposals include:

  • relocating 11 bylaws (or parts of a bylaw) from the Schedule of Standard Bylaws to the body of the Strata Property Act, to give stratas certainty that those provisions can’t be amended;
  • establishing a defined form of proxy appointment for strata-corporation general meetings, to clarify the relationship between the proxy and the person appointing the proxy and help to stamp out abuses of the proxy system;
  • establishing statutory qualifications for strata-council members, modelled on the qualifications for directors found in the Societies Act, which will set the minimum standards for serving on a strata council;
  • clarifying the order of agenda items for strata-corporation general meetings, to allow for better meeting procedure; and
  • creating a special four-year limitation period for claims that may be subject to the strata corporation’s lien under section 116 of the act, which will help stratas in enforcing their claims.

The consultation paper also considered, but declined to endorse, the following proposals:

  • extending the strata corporation’s lien to cover fines and charge backs;
  • limiting the number of proxy appointments for a general meeting that one person may hold.

How to have your say

Copies of the consultation paper are available for download at the BCLI website. Also on the BCLI website are links to interactive surveys maintained by BCLI and a response booklet, which may be completed and sent to <strata@bcli.org>. Finally, for those who prefer a more focussed experience, a summary consultation paper featuring three highlighted proposals is also available for download.

About the Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two

Since 2013, BCLI has been at work on the Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two. The goal of the project is to recommend changes to the law necessary to support the next generation of strata-property legislation in British Columbia.

In carrying out the project, BCLI has the benefit of assistance from an expert project committee, with 13 leaders drawn from the ranks of the legal, notarial, real-estate, and strata-management professions, public officials, and owners’ organizations.

The project is supported by nine funding organizations.

Stay Informed with BCLI:

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Organization of the Month | March 2018

For women leaving abusive relationships, the complication of dealing with the power and control issues of a violent spouse makes navigating the legal system more difficult. Some women give up and stay with their abuser because it is easier than leaving. Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) supports women leaving abusive relationships, through legal advice, representation and advocacy.

Introducing Harshada

Harshada Deshpande – Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy at BWSS

In her new position of Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy at BWSS, Harshada Deshpande is responsible for the management of the Legal Services and Advocacy Program (LSAP) team. She is also working on a number of on-going and new systemic advocacy projects and strategic interventions, such as the submission for the National Inquiry and the MCFD Advocacy Clinics (more on this below). Harshada co-authored (along with Executive Director Angela Marie MacDougall and Manager of Direct Services, Rosa Elena Arteaga) the BWSS Open Letter to Justice Minister David Eby regarding the Provincial Court Family Rules Project.

Editor’s note: Thank you for providing us with this update on BWSS’ latest services, Harshada!

> Legal Services and Advocacy Program (LSAP)

Approximately 80% of the women who access our services do not have legal representation because they are ineligible for government-funded legal aid and cannot afford a private lawyer.

We provide legal information and legal advice in the areas of family law, child protection, and immigration law.

Our services also include: providing court accompaniments, document drafting, and support with preparation for court hearings and case conferences for unrepresented women.

We will take on full representation files based on: the current case load, availability of time, the number of law students volunteering at BWSS, and the complexity of legal issues involved. BWSS will also consider if the following applies:

  • the woman has been denied legal representation by Legal Services Society;
  • the woman has appealed the Legal Services Society’s decision of denial and the appeal was unsuccessful;
  • there are multiple barriers that prevent the woman from self-representation, including language, disability, complexity of legal issues, gender orientation, and impact of trauma;
  • the abuser is using the court system as way to intimidate or harass or to continue any form of violence;
  • the inability to privately retain a lawyer, such as financial difficulties; and
  • the legal issue is either a family law, child protection or immigration law

Call 604-687-1867 or 604-687-1868 ext. 307 to apply.

> Legal Advocacy Workshops

BWSS supports women leaving abusive relationships, through legal advice, representation and advocacy.

Who & What: For women who have or are experiencing violence in their relationships and require legal support with the resulting family law issues. Lawyers from the community with experience in family law will facilitate all workshops.

When: Every Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – June 6, 2018, from 10am – 12pm

Where: at the BWSS office – call 604-687-1867 for location

> Family Law Clinic

BWSS provides summary legal advice clinics in family law every month with volunteer lawyers from the community. These clinics are able to offer necessary summary legal advice to women on a continuous basis while they are unrepresented in the family law system.

Call 604-687-1867 for the clinic schedule.

> Court Forms Preparation Clinic

In partnership with the Amici Curiae Paralegal Program, BWSS provides assistance to unrepresented women with drafting Supreme Court forms in family law proceedings, including affidavits, desk order divorce applications, and financial statements.

When: Third Wednesday of every month, from 5:45-7:45pm

Where: Call 604-687-1868 ext. 307 for location and appointments

> The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

BWSS has been standing in solidarity with Indigenous women across Turtle Island in calling for a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada since before British Columbia’s Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry (MWCI). On top of running a crisis line and offering legal, advocacy and counselling services, we are actively involved in a coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls formulated out of the failure of both group and family participation in the MWCI. Our efforts working in western Canada and northwest British Columbia through an initiative called Women’s Leadership and Training brought together Indigenous women to organize local responses to violence toward. We are an active long-time member of the February 14th Women’s Memorial March committee to honour Indigenous women who have lost their lives to violence in downtown eastside Vancouver.

In August 2017, BWSS was successful in obtaining Standing to make submission in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A team of dedicated and passionate women from BWSS, led by the Indigenous Women’s Program, in collaboration with the Legal Services and Advocacy Program, are currently in the process of drafting the written submissions in order to give a voice to the countless Indigenous women and girls who have accessed our services and continue to be invisible in the justice system.

> *Upcoming* MCFD Advocacy Clinics

BWSS is proud to be one of the first organizations in the province of BC to provide advocacy workshops to women who have involvement with the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD). BWSS’ Indigenous Women’s Program, in collaboration with the Legal Services and Advocacy Program, will be providing monthly clinics to women who have an open file with the MCFD. Staff and volunteers will provide women with short-term support, legal advocacy, court and MCFD meeting accompaniments, and strategic advocacy to support women in keeping themselves and their children safe. Watch this space for updates on the dates of these clinics!

Stay informed with BWSS:

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2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: January/February

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

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


Disability Alliance BC

The following help sheets have been updated in January:

Legal Services Society

MOSAIC

  • Legal Advocacy Program
    The program provides information, summary advice, referrals and legal representation to low-income immigrants and refugees. We help newcomers navigate the Canadian legal system, ensuring that they are informed of their legal rights and responsibilities.
  • Legal Clinic for Temporary Foreign Workers
    Pro Bono lawyers are available to provide a 30 minute free legal consultation on issues related to temporary foreign workers including Employment, Family, Human Rights and Immigration.

Nidus

  • End-Of-Life Planning
    Overview of key issues and documents for end-of-life planning. Links to fact sheets and other web pages.
  • Medical Assistance in Dying
    Information on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) with links to fact sheet and government resources. Link to BC Patient Request form. Analysis of two court cases since federal legislation in effect – Ontario Superior Court and Supreme Court of BC.
  • Medical Assistance in Dying – Fact Sheet
    Information on federal legislation for MAiD with examples and links to related Criminal Code amendments. Links to BC resources for MAiD. Information about rights to give and refuse consent to health care. Links for Cross-Canada information about personal planning.

Privacy Guidance for Landlords and Tenants
by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC

Landlords must follow the privacy rules contained in the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). This guide explains about collecting, using, and disclosing personal information from tenants.

People’s Law School

The following resources give consumers practical and step-by-step information:

  • Buying or Repairing a Car
    Learn how to protect yourself when buying a used car, and what’s involved in making the purchase.
  • Cellphones
    Learn how to decide on a cellphone, negotiate with a cellphone provider, or deal with a problem with a new phone or phone bill.
  • Contracts
    Learn how to write a legal contract, what to consider before signing a contract, and what you should know about cancelling or breaking a contract.
  • Hiring Someone to Perform a Service
    Learn your rights and obligations when you hire someone to perform a service, hiring someone who comes to your door, and what you can do if you’re not happy with a service.
  • Holidays
    Learn what your rights are when booking a holiday or flying, and what you need to know if a holiday is cancelled or you have problems during a holiday.
  • Making a Purchase
    Learn your rights when you buy something, how to navigate warranties and guarantees, what you can do if you change your mind, and what happens if there is a problem with a purchase. Covers yoga studios and other continuing services contracts.

Residential Tenancy Branch: Solution Explorer
by BC Residential Tenancy Branch

This online tool (a beta version) helps you find useful information, resources and template letters specific to your tenancy problem. It also helps you find out what you need to resolve your dispute and whether you may have a valid dispute resolution claim or if you need to take extra steps.

Child and Youth Legal Centre
by Society for Children and Youth of BC

The Centre provides legal help for young people who are experiencing problems relating to family law, child protection, a breach of your human rights and many other legal issues. If you’re not sure if that includes you, call us and find out. We can help you figure out what you need.

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Many Dial-A-Law scripts have been updated. For a complete list of these resources, see their listings here (sorted by “last reviewed date”). The following scripts have been rewritten or partially rewritten:

West Coast Environmental Law

Their most recent works in strengthening environmental laws include the following recommendations and reports:

New & Updated Common Questions

With help from Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC), we have updated the questions on residential tenancy and added three new ones:

Common Questions help narrow down the resources people should start with. Do you get asked the same questions over and over again by your clients? Send your suggestions to: editor[@]clicklaw.bc.ca

Stay informed:

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March 2018 Events (BC-wide, Online)

Bookmark this post! It will be updated as more events are announced. You can also get frequent updates via our Twitter. Have a suggestion? Email us.

Join us for a book launch of Robyn Maynard’s Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present. The book is a comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization, and punishment of Black life in Canada. Get more information hereBC Civil Liberties Association is a sponsor of the event.

  • March 1-12 (various dates): Plan Institute presents information sessions and workshops by phone and in Vancouver:
    • Thursday, March 1 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) OR Thursday, March 15 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Workshop – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: $65.00 per person or $90.00 for two. Register online here.
    • Tuesday, March 6 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
    • Monday, March 12 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: free. Register online here.
  • Friday, March 2 (12:00 – 1:30 pm): Disability Alliance BC presents Snack & Chat at #204 – 456 West Broadway, Vancouver.

On PWD or interested in PWD? Come learn about disability benefits and meet new people! Please call Val at 604-875-0188 to register or email feedback@disabilityalliancebc.org. Registration required. Find more information here.

  • March 2-9 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC and LSS present free webinars on various topics.
    • Friday, March 2 (12:00 – 1:30 pm) Interjurisdictional Support Services: What’s New in ISO? – will outline recent changes to the BC Interjurisdictional Support Services, the IJSS website and the ISO forms. Register online here.
    • Tuesday, March 6 (12:30 – 1:30 pm) Refugee Law Basics – for lawyers and advocates who have minimal or no experience in refugee law. Register online here.
    • Friday, March 9 (12:30 – 1:30 pm) Gladue Submissions: A Guide to Preparing Gladue Sentencing – for criminal defence lawyers and front line workers who may be assisting a client in preparing for criminal court. Register online here.
  • March 2-29 (various dates): MOSAIC presents 2-day workshops on Canadian Citizenship Preparation in Burnaby, Vancouver, and Surrey.

Join us for a 2-day workshop to prepare for Canadian citizenship! The session will be facilitated by MOSAIC staff. We will talk about topics such as Canada’s history, symbols, government and geography, as well as the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Register online here.

  • March 3-29 (various dates): the BC government is hosting community meetings across the province to help inform its Poverty Reduction Strategy.
    • Saturday, March 3 ( 9:30 am – 12:00 pm) 221 West Esplanade, North Vancouver
    • Saturday, March 10 (10:30 am – 1:00 pm) Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre, Vancouver
    • Saturday, March 17 (10:30 am – 1:00 pm) Best Western Plus Coquitlam Inn Convention Centre, Coquitlam
    • Tuesday, March 20 (6:00 – 8:30 pm) Heritage Hall, Vancouver
    • Thursday, March 22 (5:30 pm – 8:30 pm) Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Society, Fort Nelson
    • Friday, March 23 (1:30 pm – 4 pm) North Peace Cultural Centre, Fort St. John
    • Monday, March 26 (2:30 pm – 5 pm) Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, Maple Ridge
    • Tuesday, March 27 (6:00 pm – 8:30 pm) Langley Senior Resource Society, Langley
    • Wednesday, March 28 (6:00 pm – 8:30 pm) Garden Park Towers, Abbotsford
    • Thursday, March 29 (6:00 pm – 8:30 pm) Coast Hotel, Chilliwack
  • March 6-20 (various dates): Centre for Feminist Legal Studies presents lectures and a symposium at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
    • Tuesday, March 6 (12:30-1:30pm) – Shauna Labman, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba – 24 Years Later: A Comparative Analysis of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Gender Guidelines (1993) and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Guidelines (2017) – Room 122 in Allard Hall, UBC Vancouver. Open to everyone.
    • Friday, March 9 (1:30–6:00 pm) – A symposium in honour of Professor Judith Mosoff and launch of a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Family Law – Terrace Lounge, 4th Floor, Allard Hall, UBC Vancouver. RSVP to eventassistant@allard.ubc.ca.
    • Tuesday, March 20 (12:30-1:30pm) – Sarah Hunt, Geography/First Nations and Indigenous Studies, UBC – Decolonizing Access to Justice for Indigenous Women: Reflections on an Inquiry in Process – Room 122 in Allard Hall, UBC Vancouver. Open to everyone.

Join us for this special event with Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This event is part of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs’ new Policy in Practice series. Register online here or email tina.liu@ubc.ca.

Two of UVic’s leading Indigenous scholars, John Borrows and Val Napoleon, will discuss the sacred in Indigenous law and reconciliation. They are key figures in UVic’s proposed dual-degree program in Canadian law and Indigenous law. In this conversation, they will explore the nature of Indigenous law and pose important – and challenging – questions about the role of the sacred. This is a free event, and everyone is welcome. Registration is required.

  • March 8-9 (various dates): Seniors First BC presents a couple of workshops for seniors in Burnaby.
    • Thursday, March 8 (4:00 – 5:30 pm) Government Benefits for Older Adults Workshop – Burnaby Public Library – Tommy Douglas branch
    • Friday, March 9 (10:00 – 11:30 am) Powers of Attorney, Joint Bank Accounts and Representation Agreements Workshop (delivered in Mandarin) – CCM – Crystal Mall, Burnaby

Celebrate West Coast LEAF and International Women’s Day all in one fantastic morning! Keynote speaker: Roberta A. Kaplan, history-making litigator and champion of the marriage equality fight at the US Supreme Court. Emcee: Gloria Macarenko, CBC News host. Buy ticket here.

  • March 9-24 (various dates): People’s Law School presents several classes for the public on the following topics in Burnaby, West Vancouver, and Vancouver:
    • Friday, March 9 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) The Societies Act: Information for Not-For-Profits – Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch
    • Tuesday, March 20 (6:30 – 8:00 pm) Writing Your Will – Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver
    • Thursday, March 22 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Strata Homeowner Survival Guide—Tips for Avoiding Problems with Your Strata Corporation – West Vancouver Memorial Library
    • Saturday, March 24 (2:00 – 3:30 pm) Employment Law – Burnaby Public Library – Tommy Douglas Branch

What if someone is not capable to make a Will? This might be a senior with advanced dementia; or an adult with a disability from birth or childhood that affects their capability to understand the nature and effect of making a Will. Who has legal authority for burial or cremation if there is no Will? How must the estate (what the deceased owns) be distributed? Find out what you can and cannot do according to BC law. You will also learn about Personal Planning and how it is different from Estate Planning. Click date to register:

With environmental pressures mounting in Canada and worldwide, the need for strong environmental laws has never been more important. As a respected lawyer and Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May will share her unique perspective on the legal profession and the evolving legal landscape in Canada. Free admission.

There are more than 27,000 non-profit societies in BC, providing services and programs that touch virtually every citizen. All pre-existing BC societies need to transition to the new BC Societies Act. The Act includes many significant changes. There is a two-year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to have filed a transition application. This workshop will provide your society with the information it needs on whether to make any bylaw or policy changes necessary for your society to transition to effectively function under the new Act. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.

We offer social support and share legal resources in a confidential setting. This group is run by Self Represented Litigants for Self Represented Litigants. We have a great group with lots of experience to share! We meet monthly. Spaces are limited – RSVP by email: NSSN.vancouver@gmail.com.

  • March 23-29 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC and the Pro Bono Students Canada Family Law Project present free public education sessions for self-represented litigants in Vancouver and online.
    • Friday, March 23 (10:30 am – 12:00 pm) Family Law Financial Disclosure in BC – Vancouver Courthouse Library & also available as a webinar. For self-represented litigants who are applying or responding to an application for child support, spousal support, or property division and will need to complete financial disclosure. Get more information and register online here, or email familylawproject.pbsc@gmail.com.
    • Thursday, March 29 (10:30 am – 12:00 pm) Family Violence – Vancouver Courthouse Library & also available as a webinar. self-represented litigants who are experiencing family violence. Get more information and register online here, or email familylawproject.pbsc@gmail.com.

Stay informed:

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Top 7 Pages on Clicklaw Wikibooks

While we would prefer a world in which no British Columbian needs online help for their legal troubles, the pageview count for our Clicklaw Wikibooks website confirms that is not the world we live in. In reality, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians seek out timely legal information in the course of an average year. For many, this is their only line of support.

In 2017, Clicklaw Wikibooks — which uses the same software that runs Wikipedia — served nearly 940,000 pageviews to over 550,000 individual users. Each year we see these figures growing.

Whereas Clicklaw is a comprehensive legal information website centralizing reliable resources and services from numerous contributor organizations in a variety of formats and languages, Clicklaw Wikibooks is more like a publishing platform. It offers a bookshelf of select legal titles from organizations and independent authors or teams of contributors. These books are for the public and can be read online, downloaded as PDF or EPUB, or ordered by print-on-demand.

The most popular way for visitors to consume the 26 or so titles currently on Clicklaw Wikibooks is to read them online. Usually when we report traffic statistics, we think about the book as a whole. For example, JP Boyd on Family Law is easily the most read title in the collection accounting for about 40% of traffic. But today we look a little deeper to see what the 7 most popular content pages were on Clicklaw Wikibooks for January 2018, give a shoutout to those responsible for their review, and see what insights this data allows.

Surprisingly, for instance, while the overall traffic to JP Boyd on Family Law hints that relationship breakdown as the major legal concern, individual page stats reveal the most popular page from that title is on how to get married in the first place. Looking at the top performing pages can give us clues and help us question assumptions about the types of legal information people need.

Top 7 Pages on Clicklaw Wikibooks by Pageviews

Here is a list of the top seven pages on Clicklaw Wikibooks, the people responsible for their upkeep, plus some thoughts on what this might mean. The list reflects statistics from January 2018, plus relevant changes in a page’s position from January 2017. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section below, or by sharing them with us on Twitter @Clicklaw.

#1 – If You Receive an Appearance Notice or Summons (Script_210)

This page from the popular Dial-A-Law collection by CBA BC attracted 5.18% of total site traffic, up from second position and 2.83% the previous January. That is an incredible figure for a site with over 1,500 pages of legal information. Many people first come into contact with the criminal justice system when they are served with an appearance or summons, so we can well imagine finding this page is a first step for many in addressing their problem. Knowing the significance of that step, what else could the page do or point to?

Kudos to lawyers Jordan Allingham and Paul Briggs for writing the page, plus Annie Chen of the CBA BC for the wiki version of this much valued resource.

#2 – How Do I Get Married in British Columbia?

As noted, JP Boyd on Family Law’s most popular page in January had nothing to do with getting divorced. Quite the opposite in fact… 2.82% of visitors came to learn about how marriage is brought to be, rather than how it decays. The page is up from #4 position in January 2017.

Thanks to lawyer Thomas Wallwork for maintaining this page, and of course to JP Boyd himself for his original work on it.

#3 – I Need to Take Someone to Court — What’s the Process?

A significant percentage of first time exposure to the legal system is when someone needs to start a lawsuit. The page attracted 2.43% of traffic, up from #6 position in January 2017, a rise quite possibly related to the Civil Resolution Tribunal’s introduction in 2017.

Long time Clicklaw Wikibooks editor and experienced lawyer John Bilawich deserves credit for this popular page from Legal Help for British Columbians that introduces the basics of starting a civil claim. So does the founding author Cliff Thorstenson. 

#4 – JP Boyd on Family Law

While the book has over 140 pages and accounts for 40% of site traffic, historically the main entry page for JP Boyd on Family Law has not been among top site pages (in January 2017 it was #13). This year, there appears to be more traffic from direct links to the book’s main page from websites run by LSS, the BC Provincial Court, private law firms, etc. Although overall the percentage of traffic coming from Google to the whole site has not changed over this period, a disproportionate amount of traffic to this main page now comes from referral sources. This speaks to the overall value of the title and the work of its many reviewing lawyers that make it a destination resource for others in the justice sector.

#5 – Immediately After Someone Dies

This page from People’s Law School’s title, A Death in Your Family, accounted for 1.81% of all site traffic last month. The equivalent page in January 2017 held #12 position at 1.59%.

Thanks to Helen Low, QC and Nicco Bautista for their skill abbreviating the legal and practical steps to take upon the death of a family member.

#6 – My Husband Sponsored Me and We Have Now Separated

For years, this page from Legal Help for British Columbians was the top destination page on Clicklaw Wikibooks with 2.86% of traffic. In 2017 it dropped to #3 and 2.65%. Today it’s settled at #6 position with 1.81% of traffic. Nearly 90% of this traffic comes from Google searches.

Thanks to Rochelle Appleby for reviewing this page over the years, and to its original author Cliff Thorstenson.

#7 – How Do I Prepare an Affidavit?

Up from #8 position in January 2017, this page from JP Boyd on Family Law accounted for 1.54% of traffic in January 2018. It continues to demonstrate the demand for practical, hands-on tips, and the fact that it derives a substantial greater proportion of its traffic from people who link to the page directly (34% versus the site average of 10% for pages) hints that this is a valuable bookmark for people.

Thanks again to Thomas Wallwork for reviewing the page over the years, and to JP Boyd for the original content and practical examples of how to write an affidavit.

Editor’s Note: Though these were the most viewed pages/titles on the Wikibooks over the past year, our other pages and titles also received an incredible amount of views. Thank you to all of our contributors and volunteers, whose work makes this initiative possible.

Stay informed:

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Improve your online safety

Today is Safer Internet Day (SID). We wanted to showcase an online tool that can provide practical advice for safer internet use — for everyone.

Security Planner provides recommendations on implementing basic online practices, such as: enabling two-factor authentication on important accounts, making sure software stays updated with the latest bug fixes, and using encrypted chats to protect private communications.

This is a project of the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Security Planner recommendations are made by a committee of experts in digital security and have gone through a rigorous peer review evaluation of experts from universities, nonprofits, and the private sector.

The people at Citizen Lab realize that “we now count on digital tools to keep our information safe and a growing slice of our private life…private. There are big questions about whether the devices and services we use respect our privacy and if they adequately safeguard our information. Has a good balance been struck? Many of us are not sure. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of how to be safer online.”

We went inside the Security Planner tool in order to show you what to expect. Take a look:

The main page gives you a clear call to action to start.

Continue reading »

February 2018 Events (BC-wide, Online)

Bookmark this post! It will be updated as more events are announced. You can also get frequent updates via our Twitter. Have a suggestion? Email us.

  • February 1-28 (various dates): Seniors First BC presents several workshops for seniors in Pender Harbour, Sechelt, Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Richmond.
    • Thursday, February 1 (1:00-3:00pm) Advance Care Planning against Elder Financial Abuse – Pender Harbour Community Hall, Madeira Park
    • Thursday, February 1 (6:30-8:30pm) Advance Care Planning against Elder Financial Abuse – Seaside Centre, Sechelt
    • Tuesday, February 6 (1:00-2:00pm) Powers of Attorney, Joint Bank Accounts and Representation Agreements – Thunderbird Community Centre, Vancouver
    • Thursday, February 15 (1:00-2:30pm) Powers of Attorney, Joint Bank Accounts and Representation Agreements – Glen Pine Pavilion, Coquitlam
    • Wednesday, February 28 (1:00-3:00pm) Bullying between Older Adults in Communal Settings – Richmond Public Library – Brighouse branch
  • February 1-20 (various dates): Plan Institute presents information sessions and a workshop by phone and in Vancouver:
    • Thursday, February 1 (10:00am-12:00pm) Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Workshop – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: $65.00 per person or $90.00 for two. Register online here.
    • Wednesday, February 7 (10:00am-12:00pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
    • Tuesday, February 20 (10:00am-12:00pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver (Feb 20). Cost: free. Register online here.
  • February 1-17 (various dates): the BC government is hosting community meetings across the province to help inform its Poverty Reduction Strategy.
    • Thursday, February 1 (6:00-8:30pm) Princess Margaret Secondary School, Surrey
    • Friday, February 2 (2:30-5:00pm) Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Williams Lake
    • Saturday, February 3 (10:00am-12:30pm) Quesnel Tillicum Society Native Friendship Centre, Quesnel
    • Thursday, February 8 (4:30-7:00pm) Senior Citizens Hall, Cranbrook:
    • Friday, February 9 (1:00-3:30pm) TBD, Nelson
    • Saturday, February 17 (1:30-4:00pm) Prince George Native Friendship Centre, Prince George

The door opens half an hour early and a hot meal will be provided. Supports are available to help you participate. Get more information here.

  •  February 5-20 (various dates): People’s Law School presents several classes for the public on the following topics in Burnaby and Vancouver:
    • Monday, February 5 (7:00-8:30 pm) Employment Law – Burnaby Public Library – Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch
    • Thursday, February 15 (7:00-9:30pm) Probating a Will – Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch
    • Thursday, February 15 (7:00-8:30pm) Writing Your Will – Burnaby Public Library – Tommy Douglas Branch
    • Tuesday, February 20 (6:30-8:00pm) Residential Tenancy for Landlords – Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver

Open to everyone. Speakers: Ayesha Chaudhry, Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice, University of British Columbia, and Sarah Khan, BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

 

Join us for a free public talk on the BC Supreme Courts decision to end indefinite solitary confinement. Panelists will be unpacking the decision, its impact on prison justice and mapping what’s to come. Get more information here.

A conversation with BC’s most distinguished public-sector jurist on Child Protection, Conflicted Premiers, the Suppression of Protests, and the Public Interest. Ted Hughes will be interviewed by CBC journalist Laura Lynch, with special guests David Eby, QC, Attorney-General of BC; Maureen Maloney, SFU, former Deputy Attorney-General of BC and Dean of Law at UVic.

This event is free and open to everyone.

The march honours the lives of missing and murdered women and all women’s lives lost in the Downtown Eastside. March begins at Main Street and E. Hastings, Vancouver. Get more information hereBC Civil Liberties Association supporters will congregate in front of RBC at 11:45 AM.

  • February 14-15 (various dates): Law for Nonprofits presents workshops in Vancouver and Cranbrook.
    • Wednesday, February 14 (9:30 am-12:00 pm) Privacy 101 at BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, February 15 (6:00-7:30pm MST) Societies Act Transition Workshop at College of the Rockies – Cranbrook Campus. Free for societies who have registered with the East Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.

We offer social support and share legal resources in a confidential setting. This group is run by Self Represented Litigants for Self Represented Litigants. We have a great group with lots of experience to share! We meet monthly. Spaces are limited – RSVP by email: NSSN.vancouver@gmail.com.

We would like to invite you to attend our 2018 Post-Valentine’s Dance Fundraiser. This fundraiser is a community-building event that will be attended by caregivers, migrant workers, and their friends. Your attendance contributes towards advocating on behalf of some of the most precarious workers in our province, and your solidarity contributes to ensuring justice for all workers. As well, we will be celebrating the launch of our organization’s new name—the Migrant Workers Centre! Get more information and buy your tickets here.

This year, on Pink Shirt Day, a national day of bullying prevention, YWCA Metro Vancouver and Hootsuite have partnered to host #Cyberbullying, a discussion exploring how race and gender are connected to cyberbullying. Join us for an interactive panel discussion that will feature experts, advocates and youth discussing the root causes, effects, and themes surrounding cyberbullying. One of the speakers will be Dr. Wanda Cassidy from SFU Centre for Education, Law and Society. Register online for this free event here.

Stay informed:

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Organization of the Month | January 2018

New Website

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) has just launched a refreshed website to provide you with better service: https://www.courthouselibrary.ca

It’s awesome because it now has:

  • Search with precise and relevant results
  • Navigation that makes sense
  • A snappy new look and feel

User-centred approach

The whole process started over a year ago. As an organization committed to meeting the needs of our clients, we conducted interviews with lawyers to discover how they were using our website. Among other things, these interviews uncovered:

  • How effectively the website delivered service.
  • How effectively the website enabled legal research.
  • The most common complaints and areas for improvement.

We took this valuable feedback into consideration when we started work on refreshing the site.

Changes we made

We made some of the biggest changes to the areas of the site that let users help themselves. Search was completely overhauled – clients are no longer left sifting through hundreds of confusing results. Searches of the library catalogue and the website are more precise, and the results are more relevant. We also improved how clients can browse the site. The new website is clean, easy to use and simple to navigate for lawyers and the public.

Resources and services we provide

If you are just getting started in your legal research, the CLBC website is a great place to start. Not only does the new site allow clients to find what they are looking for faster, it houses resources like Our Legal Knowledge Base, our answers to clients’ particularly difficult legal questions. This resource continues to grow as we add new items and update older ones.

Members of the public are welcome to use our digital tools, which include links to self-help websites, Clicklaw and Clicklaw Wikibooks, as well as LawMatters, the program that supports legal collections in all public libraries in BC.

If you have a question or would like to get pointed in the right direction with your legal research contact us by phone, email or in person.

About Courthouse Libraries BC

Courthouse Libraries BC is a non-profit that serves the legal community, the judiciary and the public of BC. Our mission is to help lawyers, the legal community and the public find and use legal information. Our vision is that everyone in BC has access to the legal information they need and the ability to use it. The CLBC website is the heart of the Library’s online presence. It houses the library catalogue, awesome content created by our staff, legal information training resources, and explains our services, mission, and policies. It also provides access to subscription databases to members of the Law Society of BC.

The CLBC website can be found at https://www.courthouselibrary.ca

Stay informed with Courthouse Libraries BC:

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