Mothers Without Status

A woman on a temporary student visa comes to Canada to study. During her time here, she has a baby with her new boyfriend. But the boyfriend becomes abusive – she wants to leave him and return with her child to her original country. Can she do this? What are her legal rights? As a service provider, how would you begin to direct her to the help she needs?

One of Clicklaw’s newer contributors, the YWCA Vancouver, tackles this complex issue with a project funded by the Law Foundation of BC called the Mothers Without Status Legal Project. “Mothers without status” refers to single women with children living in Canada, who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. Many of these women have fled their relationship because of abuse.

During the course of this project, staff interviewed almost two dozen women in this type of situation to get a full picture of the multiple challenges they face. As a result of these interviews, the YWCA identified the need for a new resource, and published a booklet called Mothers Without Status: Practical information for service providers working with women who have no legal status. This 26-page booklet provides practical legal information on how service providers can help these women to navigate the immigration and family law systems in Canada.

The YWCA will be publishing the full results of their research project within the next few months – look for it on Clicklaw in the Reform & Research section.

More Resources for Family Law Cases in Supreme Court

More resources relating to the new court rules for family law cases in Supreme Court are now available on Clicklaw. As of July 1, family law cases in Supreme Court have to use new forms and follow new processes. The Legal Services Society has now added to Clicklaw the fact sheet Going to Supreme Court? Read this first!, which points to all the resources on the Family Law in BC website that can help you get started with the new forms and processes.

As well, from Clicklaw you can directly access such new Legal Services Society resources as:

Speaking of JP Boyd’s website, we admire it so much that we’ve added entries on Clicklaw for JP Boyd’s BC Family Law Resource as well as New Rules 101: An Introduction, a section explaining the procedure and forms under the new court rules.

Registered Disability Savings Plan Info for People on Social Assistance

Did you know that if you do nothing but deposit a $250 GST cheque each year into a Registered Disability Savings Plan, starting when you’re 32, by the time you are 60, the value of an RDSP should be over $100,000?

As explained in a new guide, overview, and video series from the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, this is the power of the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Introduced by the federal government in 2007, RDSPs are a long-term savings program for people with disabilities.

With funding from the Law Foundation of BC, the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities created these new resources to explain:

  • who is likely to qualify for an RDSP
  • the importance of the Disability Tax Credit
  • how to get money in and out of an RDSP, including applying for grants and bonds
  • why people with disabilities should open an RDSP, even if they have a low income
  • what people with disabilities on social assistance need to know

In addition to these resources, the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities produces a series of fact sheets for people with disabilities on a range of legal topics. For more information on these and other great legal resources for people in BC, visit Clicklaw.

Legal Help Guide Popular with Legal Helpers

We’ve noticed that Legal Help for British Columbians: A Guide to Help Non-legal Professionals Make Legal Referrals for Clients is a very popular title on Clicklaw! It is often the first title that appears when browsing by topic, which indicates that many visitors are clicking on that title to find out more about it. Here are two comments about the Guide we’ve received from Clicklaw visitors:

“I am a volunteer at 411 Seniors Centre. I frequently get questions about the client’s legal situation and find the legal guide helpful in providing answers that are concise and in plain language. I have photocopied the pages on representation agreements for some clients because the outline is clear and covers the subject well. The guide also covers a wide range of topics that can be of use to seniors.”

                               Dave Hibbard, 411 Seniors  Centre Volunteer

“This guide has come to my aid in helping [non-lawyer] clients several times over the past couple of weeks. Three of the questions I received were identical to examples in Part 1: Common Legal Problems:

– The Ministry has taken my kids 
– A debt collector is harassing me
– My car broke down and the dealer won’t fix it

The author provides clear and concise information on the steps you need to take and where to get help for each problem. The clients have been very satisfied and grateful for the information I passed on to them.

Part 2: Resource Guide is a nine page alphabetical list of sources of legal information, providing quick access to website addresses and phone numbers. To date, there has been only one number I needed that wasn’t on the list – the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner (related to the debt collector question). I keep a photocopy of this list on the bulletin board for easy access.”

            Denise Caldwell, Kamloops Branch Manager, Courthouse Libraries BC

Guidebooks on the New Court Rules

More resources to navigate the new court rules for Supreme Court cases are now availble on Clicklaw. The Justice Education Society has updated and expanded its excellent Supreme Court Self-Help Guidebook series.

The series includes over 20 guidebooks written in plain language for those who are representing themselves in BC Supreme Court. The guidebooks fully incorporate the court rules that took effect on July 1, 2010, and include court forms with annotations explaining key parts of each form.

We admire these guidebooks so much that we’ve featured them in a new common question, “I’m trying to prepare a case under the new Supreme Court rules“. The guidebook series has been expanded to now include guidebooks on the transition to the new court rules and drafting orders in Supreme Court.

The Justice Education Society has also launched the website SupremeCourtBC.ca, which brings together a number of the Society’s videos, web resources and publications dealing with the Supreme Court. Along with the new guidebooks, the site is the new home to the videos Court Tips for Parents and Family Law and You: Representing Yourself in BC Supreme Court, the multimedia presentations Taking Your Case to Supreme Court, and more.

New Court Rules and Forms for Supreme Court Cases

New court rules and forms for Supreme Court cases came into effect on July 1, 2010. We’ve posted a series of common questions on Clicklaw:

Additional resources will be available through Clicklaw in the days ahead, including updated guidebooks from Justice Education Society and updated resources on the Family Law Website from Legal Services Society.

Updated Booklet on Human Trafficking in Canada

People’s Law School has updated its booklet Human Trafficking in Canada. This 16-page booklet is for community workers, teachers and others who want to help their communities learn more about human trafficking. The booklet explains what human trafficking is, what the law says about it, and what you can do. New with this second edition are warning signs indicating that someone may be a trafficked person, may be living in domestic servitude, or is being sexually exploited.