September 2017 Events (Surrey, Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria, BC-wide)

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.

  • September 6-19 (various dates): Access Pro Bono Advice-a-Thon:
    • September 6 (10am-2pm) Surrey
    • September 8 (10am-5pm) Vancouver
    • September 12 (10am-2pm) Kelowna
    • September 15 (10am-2pm) Victoria
    • September 19 (4-6pm) BC-Wide Telephone Clinic

Clients will be low-and modest-income individuals, including homeless people who may otherwise have limited access to traditional free legal advice clinics. Most clients will have pre-scheduled appointments, while others will simply drop in for free legal advice on a wide range of issues. We hope that with your support we can make this year’s event our most successful one yet! E-mail: help[at]accessprobono.ca

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. RSVP at the following link: https://supportforcourt.ca/support-groups-2/british-columbia

  • Wednesday, September 13 (9:30am-12pm): The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know at 100 – 938 Howe Street, Vancouver.

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. Details & registration for this workshop. Questions? administrator@lawfornonprofits.ca

  • Monday, September 18 (5:30-7pm): Amici Curiae’s newest Workshop – VPL at Alma VanDusen Room, VPL Central Branch, Downtown Vancouver.

Amici Curiae is excited to announce it is launching a new legal forms workshop in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library. This new workshop will ultimately be at the centrally located Oakridge Branch and will offer assistance with legal forms, including in the areas of: BC Court of Appeals (civil and family law matters); Supreme Court of BC Civil and family law matters; Provincial Court of BC affidavits; BC Human Rights Tribunal applications; and employment, tenancy and foreclosure matters.

Our free service is available to the public, including battered women, transgender persons, and Indigenous people. We will be hosting an information session and we invite you to come hear more about the services we will be offering at this new workshop. Please RSVP by e-mail to Yvonne Choi at YChoi@harrisco.com.

  • Wednesday, September 20 (1-2:30pm): Nidus logo_niduspresentation at 1420 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver.

Attend a free presentation conducted by a Nidus-trained volunteer. Learn about planning for incapacity and end-of-life. Find out how to book an appointment for personal help to make and register your planning documents. No registration required.

  • Thursday, September 21 (8:30am-5pm): 2017 Info Summit at UBC Robson Square Theatre, Vancouver.

Presented by: BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Given the recent shift in the provincial political climate, we are pleased to announce that we are breaking away from the biennial tradition this year and will be hosting our 7th BC Information Summit on September 21, 2017 at UBC Robson Square. This is an important time in the information and privacy landscape. The change of political leadership in BC gives us the opportunity to bring much-needed attention to the major deficits in our access to information and privacy frameworks. Major changes are on the horizon in terms of the freedom of information systems at both the federal and provincial levels. Courts, committees and Commissioners have made major recommendations for change which would bring major changes to the system. This Conference has assembled a range of experts from varying backgrounds to look at these developments and what they might mean for information and privacy rights.

The “Her Everyday Resilience (H.E.R.) Multicultural Women’s Group” is a drop-in group that is held once a month from September to March (except December) for multicultural women who have experienced violence in relationships in their past or present. Hosted by MOSAIC’s Stopping the Violence Counselling and Multicultural Outreach Services, it’s free and confidential. If you know a woman who may benefit from this group, please share this information with her and encourage her to call the Women’s Support Worker at 604-254-9626 ext. 1081. If a woman isn’t yet ready to do group work, the STV Counselling program and Multicultural Outreach Services can also provide individual counselling support and outreach for those who have experienced, or are at risk of, abuse, threats, violence in relationships, sexual assault, or childhood abuses. Register online.

AMSSA is a unique province-wide association that strengthens over 70 member agencies as well as hundreds of community stakeholder agencies who serve immigrants and newcomers, and build culturally inclusive communities, with the knowledge, resources and support they need to fulfill their mandates. Celebrate their 40th anniversary. Register online.

For information, please contact Rita Hatina, Director of Finance & Administration, at 604-673-3125 or rhatina@clasbc.net

Stay informed:

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2017 Bi-Monthly Update Series: July/August

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

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


BCLI Report on Complex Stratas

This report discusses mixed-use and architecturally varied stratas and the three legislative tools that were introduced to manage legal issues surrounding them — sections, types, and phases. It also makes 68 recommendations for reform.

Disability Alliance BC HelpSheets Update

Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit Application, Appealing Denial of PWD Benefit, Persons with Persistent and Multiple Barriers to Employment (PPMB) Benefit Application, and more.

Opportunities Advocacy Services – Campbell River Legal Advocacy Program

The program provides legal advocacy to low income residents in Campbell River and the surrounding area. Advocates provide information, assistance and representation on issues related to BC income assistance programs (benefits, disability assistance, PWD applications & appeals), federal income related programs (CPP, OAS, GIS, EI), residential tenancy disputes (tenants’ rights, mediation, representation in dispute resolutions), and consumer debt issues.

Access Pro Bono Residential Tenancy Program, Employment Standards program, Mental Health Program Telephone Clinic

  • Residential Tenancy Program: Provides free legal representation to low-income people appearing before the Residential Tenancy Branch (e.g. evictions, rent increases, loss of quiet enjoyment, security deposit withheld, need for repairs, etc.). Legal Representation is contingent on volunteers’ availability for each case as well as availability based on client location.
  • Employment Standards Program: Provides low-income employees with free legal representation before the Employment Standards Branch and/or the Employment Standards Tribunal on issues such as termination pay, vacation pay, overtime, etc. Legal representation is contingent on volunteers’ availability for each case as well as the availability of lawyers in the client’s location.
  • Mental Health Program: Provides individuals certified under the Mental Health Act and their relatives with free summary legal advice over the phone (e.g. right to a second opinion, how to apply for a review panel hearing, procedure at review panel hearings, etc.).

Seniors First BC – Legal Advocacy Program

The Legal Advocate provides legal services to people age 55+ who are not able to access legal help due to low income or other barriers for legal issues involving residential tenancy, government benefits and debt.

Legal Advocate Program for the North Okanagan

Help with income security including income assistance (welfare), both regular and disability benefits, CPP disability benefits, Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, and residential tenancy issues (for tenants). We provide legal information & referrals, and representation and advocacy at administrative hearings. Legal education on areas of service such as tenancy law and policy. The advocate can also be emailed at tishlakes@okadvocate.ca.

Fraser Thompson Indian Services Society (FTISS) – Family Support Program

The Family Support Worker works in the communities of Spuzzum, Boston Bar, Boothroyd and Oregon Jack Creek to help families, children and youth who are struggling to stay together or who just need some information or extra help. Help for families who are involved with or at risk of being involved with the Ministry of Children and Families.

BC Human Rights Clinic – Know Your Rights – what to do about discrimination

Provides useful information on identifying human rights discrimination and provides a walk through the formal system of filing a human rights complaint.

LSLAP Manual on Clicklaw Wikibooks (40th Ed.)

The Law Students’ Legal Advice Program’s (LSLAP) Annual Manual provides quick answers to many legal issues. It is made up of 22 chapters which amount to over 1,000 pages of printed materials. Originally designed as an educational resource for LSLAP students, it is now used by hundreds of organizations across British Columbia. Clicklaw Wikibooks and LSLAP have joined efforts to bring the Manual to the Clicklaw Wikibooks platform.

John Howard Society: Planning for Success

This guide was designed to help with release planning (to think about what you’re going to do once you’re no longer in custody), and contains information about government services and community-based organizations in our community.

CBABC Dial a Law Scripts – Various Updates

Common Law Relationships: Your Income, Support, and Property Rights; What Happens When Your Spouse Dies; Reporting Suspected Child Abuse; Getting Married; Changing Your Name; What is Small Claims Court; Suing Someone in Small Claims Court; Being Sued in Small Claims Court; Getting Your Judgment Paid; and more.

Stay informed:

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For those affected by BC Wildfires

The 2017 wildfires have displaced many people in large and small BC communities. They’ve also given rise to many legal issues and questions.

In response to the 2017 wildfires, Access Pro Bono has:

  • set up a free telephone advice service (1-877-762-6664) for affected people; and
  • enlisted several volunteer lawyers to provide answers to frequently asked legal questions in different areas of law covered in separate information sheets (currently being developed):

The Info Sheets are being updated here: http://www.accessprobono.ca/news/2017/apb-offers-telephone-advice-service-legal-info-people-affected-bc-wildfires

Stay informed with Access Pro Bono:

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Feb. 2017 Events – (Online, Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria)

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.

Wednesday, February 1 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Live Demo of the Personal Planning Registry. Register Online.

Wednesday, February 8 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Health and Personal Care. Register Online.

Wednesday, February 22 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Financial and Legal Matters. Register Online.

  • February 3-16 (Various Times): BCCLA has several events going on this month:logo_bccla

February 3-5 (Various Times) In the wake of tragedy: acting together against Islamophobia includes Vancouver and Victoria in a list of more than 30 communities taking part in vigils to mourn the loss of life that resulted from this act of terrorism.

Wednesday, February 8 (5:00-7:00pm) 2228 Oak Bay Ave, VictoriaVictoria meet-up at the Penny Farthing – Come meet Micheal and Paul, discuss current civil liberties and human rights issues, and find out if you might like to get more involved! RSVP so we know how many snacks to order.

Thursday, February 16 (7:00-8:30pm) Alice McKay Room, Lower Level, Vancouver Public Library – 350 W Georgia St, VancouverPanel – Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power – The aim of this roundtable discussion is to explore how we can mobilize the media to, among other issues, educate the public for the need to reform the courts to regain citizen rights to free speech and the right to dissent.

Pro Bono lawyers provide a 30-minute free legal consultation on issues related to TFWs on Immigration, Employment, Human Rights & Privacy, Admin-General and Civil Procedure. This service is for low-income migrant workers including: Low-Skilled Workers, Persons under the Live-in Caregiver Program, Agricultural Workers, etc. All clients should book an appointment at least a week before the target Clinic date. Book an appointment with the organizer.

  • February 6-16 (Various Dates): People’s Law School 1004presents the following events in Burnaby and Vancouver:

Monday, February 6 (7:00-8:30pm) Burnaby Public Library – 6100 Willingdon Avenue: Family Law – Child Access and Custody – Contact 604-436-5400 to register.

Tuesday, February 7 (12:00-1:00pm) 900 Howe Street, Vancouver: Currency Fraud – Register Online.

Wednesday, February 8 (7:00-8:30pm) Burnaby Public Library – 7311 Kingsway: Powers of Attorney, Joint Bank Accounts and Representation Agreements – Contact 604-683-4574 to register.

  • Wednesday, February 8 (6:30-8:30pm): Disability Alliance BC dabc_logopromotes a free online webinar from lawyer Ken Kramer, Q.C. on Disability & Estate Planning – Topics: Preparing a Will, Trust planning for persons with disability, Disability and Estate planning
  • February 14-17 (Various Dates): Mediate BC presents the following events in Vancouver:

Tuesday, February 14 (12:00-1:00pm) #150, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver: Games and Other Tools for Intergenerational Conflict Prevention – Register Online. (Part of Mediate BC’s Learn@Lunch Series with People’s Law School)

Wednesday, February 15 (1:30-3:00pm) Barclay Manor, 1447 Barclay Street, Vancouver: Elder Mediation: Maintain Your Voice and Your Choice – Contact 604-669-5051 to register.

Thursday, February 16 (9:30-11:00am) 900 Howe Street, Vancouver: Top 10 Things To Know About Family Mediation – Register Online. (Part of Mediate BC’s Learn@Lunch Series with People’s Law School)

Friday, February 17 (1:00-3:00pm) South Granville Seniors Centre, 1420 West 12th Ave, Vancouver: Collaborative Gaming for Seniors and Families – Drop-in.

  • Wednesday, February 15 (11:30-2:30pm): Pivot Legal Society redzonesforumpresents A Forum on Red Zones: Bail and Sentencing Conditions & Marginalized People in Vancouver at the Japanese Language School Auditorium, 487 Alexander Street, Vancouver in the DTES.

Speakers will present and comment on findings from a study conducted in Vancouver on area restrictions and other conditions and lead a discussion with participants. Free lunch will be served.

The BC Society Act, which provides the rules for governance and incorporation of non-profits, officially proclaimed important changes on November 28, 2016. There will be a two year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to make the switch to the new Act. This workshop will provide the information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition when the new Act is proclaimed.

Register Online. Tickets are $50.

  • Monday, February 20 (6:00-8:00pm): National Self-Represented-Litigants Support Network meets in Vancouver. The group offers free support for individuals going through the difficult experience of representing themselves in family or civil court. Held at the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre at 2772 East Broadway, Vancouver. Free Parking available. RSVP to NSSN.vancouver@gmail.com.

Stay informed:

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Sept. 2016 – Events (Victoria, Vancouver, online)

  • 0x_adviceathonAccess Pro Bono is holding their annual Free Legal Advice-a-Thon. They’re wrapping up this year’s event in Victoria, Centennial Square this Friday, September 16, from 10am to 2pm.

 

  • srl_supportThe National SRL Support NetworkVancouver Branch, is holding their next meeting for people representing themselves in Family or Civil Court next Monday, September 19, from 6-8pm at Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre. Attendees should RSVP to NSSN.vancouver@gmail.com.

 

 

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  • People’s Law School is holding their open house on Thursday, September 22 from 11am – 3pm at their 150-900 Howe Street location. Learn about wills and get a Justice Theatre Presentation on online bullying. Advanced registration is required. Call 604-331-5400.

 

 

  • 0x_bcinfosummitRegister now for the BC Information Summit! The event is organized BC FIPA, and will have expert speakers (including speakers from organizations like BCCLA) who are involved in how the world of freedom of information and privacy is changing. Thursday, September 22, 8:15am – 5pm.

 

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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:

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Access to Justice BC

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Bob Bauman, Chief Justice of British Columbia


Stay informed with Access to Justice BC:

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: March-April

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

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


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

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

 

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

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

 

Resources on police record checks
by Canadian Civil Liberties Association

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

 

LSLAP Manuals
by LSLAP Law Students’ Legal Advice Program

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

 

Coping with Separation Handbook
by Legal Services Society

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

 

The Social Security Tribunal
by Disability Alliance BC and CLAS

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

 

Atira Legal Services
by Atira Women’s Resources Society

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

 

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

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

 

Executor Guide for BC
by Heritage Law

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

 

Leaving Abuse
by Legal Services Society

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Debt collection & debt repayment agents
by Consumer Protection BC

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

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


Notice – BC Government URLs

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

Stay informed:

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Justice Access Centres (JACs) – Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo

What can JACs help you with?

Family and civil law issues: separation, divorce, income security, employment, housing and debt.

A range of information and services are available, designed to help you find an early and affordable solution.

If you don’t live in Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo, see “How Can I Get in Touch?” at the end of this post for phone numbers you can call for information.

Specific services that JACs offer:

freepik_discussion
Get help with and information about court forms, civil legislation, court procedures, mediation, and more.

You can:

  • meet with intake staff who assess your needs;
  • get informed about the Family Law Act, the Divorce Act, and various other civil-related legislation;
  • get informed about the different levels of court and related court procedures;
  • get a referral to a mediator (family justice counsellors and other mediation options), other dispute resolution professionals, legal services and community resources;
  • access Provincial and Supreme Court forms; and
  • get help with court forms and access computers and dedicated staff for assistance in the Self Help Resource Room (In Nanaimo, if you would like self-help assistance, book an appointment with an interviewer in advance. You can also get help with simple forms on the phone.)

Help from Partnering Agencies at some JAC locations:

01_Clicklaw_30pxMediate BC Society:

Practical, accessible, and affordable choices to prevent, manage and resolve non-family civil disputes (any kind of dispute outside of: separation and divorce, personal injury, child protection or criminal matters).

Vancouver and Victoria have an onsite Mediation Advisor who can explore and help connect people to civil mediators; Nanaimo clients are referred to Victoria.

01_Clicklaw_30pxLegal Services Society:

Family Duty Counsel (FDC) and Family Advice Lawyer (FAL) services (Provincial and Supreme Courts) are available for those who are seeking legal advice in relation to family matters and who do not qualify for legal representation through Legal Aid. FDC and FAL can provide advice about:

  • parenting time or contact / access;
  • guardianship / custody, parenting responsibilities;
  • child support;
  • applications, variations of child support, enforcement;
  • tentative settlement agreements;
  • court procedures; and
  • property (limited advice).

Note: FDC/FAL will not take on your whole case or represent you at a trial.

Aboriginal Community Legal Worker services are available in Nanaimo.

01_Clicklaw_30pxFamily Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP):

FMEP is a BC Ministry of Justice service that helps families and children entitled to spousal support or child support under a maintenance order or agreement.

The Vancouver JAC has an onsite outreach worker to help with the process, and provides information about enrolment, enforcement or changing an order.

Vancouver and Nanaimo JACs only.
01_Clicklaw_30pxCredit Counselling Society:

Free and confidential help for consumers. A Counsellor will review your monthly budget, including: income, expenses and debt payments, and can provide information and guidance to help you make informed, financial decisions.

Vancouver JAC only.

01_Clicklaw_30pxAccess Pro Bono (APB):

APB offers a number of programs which are offered onsite at the JAC (by appointment only, see contact info at end of post):

  • Legal Advice Clinic – Volunteer lawyers provide 30 minute free legal advice appointments for civil and family law issues. Call for financial criteria.
  • Wills Clinic Program – In partnership with the federal Department of Justice and the Provincial Ministry of Justice, APB operates a Wills clinic for low-income seniors (ages 55+) and people with terminal illnesses.
  • Court Form Preparation Clinic (Paralegal Program) – Vancouver JAC only. In partnership with Amici Curiae; support for self-represented litigants who need assistance in preparing BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, and BC Human Rights Tribunal documents.

How can I get in touch?

  • The Self Help Resource Rooms are in-person ONLY (no telephone assistance).
  • Reception and Intake Services can be reached by phone or drop-in.
jac_vancouverVancouver JAC

Located at the Vancouver Provincial Courthouse, #290-800 Hornby Street.

Hours are M-F, 8am-5pm, extended hours until 7pm on Wednesday by appointment, until 5:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Self-Help Resource room is open 8:30-4pm.

Call 604.660.2084 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 604.660.2084. The centre serves Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_victoriaVictoria JAC

Located at 225 – 850 Burdett Avenue.

Hours are M-F 8am-5:30pm, extended hours until 6:30 on Thursday. Self-Help Resource Room is open 9-4pm.

Call 250.356.7012 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 250.356.7012. The centre serves Victoria and the surrounding south Vancouver Island and Gulf Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_nanaimoNanaimo JAC

Located at 302 – 65 Front St.

Hours are M-F 8-5:30pm, with extended hours on Wednesday until 7pm by appointment only.

Call 250 741-5447 or 1-800-578-8511. The centre serves Nanaimo and the surrounding mid-Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

Note: JACs are not able to provide support or services for criminal issues, small claims court forms and filings, and some other specific legal solutions.

Get informed with JACs:

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Access Pro Bono – Wills Clinic Training

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Are you a lawyer (or do you know a lawyer) interested in volunteering with the Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic (scroll to Wills & Estates Program), but don’t have much experience with drafting wills and personal planning documents? Access Pro Bono and Courthouse Libraries BC are hosting 2 training sessions to help you get started!

You can participate in these training sessions for free from anywhere in the province. In-person sessions will be held in Vancouver and Victoria, or you can watch the webinars from any place with a computer and an internet connection. Plus each session counts for CPD credit!

Find out more about the Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic and how you can volunteer here.

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements

This training session is designed for lawyers who have limited or no experience in drafting Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements and who are interested in providing pro bono personal planning assistance to low income seniors and end-of-life clients. In this session, Joanne Taylor and Ron Usher of Nidus will introduce some of the types of documents that can be used to assist clients with personal planning. Participants may attend in-person at the Courthouse Libraries in Vancouver or by webinar. The Justice Access Centre in Victoria will also be hosting a group viewing of the webinar.

Participants in this course may claim up to 1.5 hours of CPD credit.

Date and time: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 1:00-2:30pm PST

Register here to attend in-person in Vancouver

Register here to attend at the JAC in Victoria.

Register here for the webinar.

Wills Basics

This presentation is targeted towards non Wills & Estate practitioners who are looking to get involved in providing pro bono will drafting for low income seniors and end-of-life clients. Nicole Garton of Heritage Law will share some of her knowledge and experience in drafting basic wills. Participants may attend in-person at the Courthouse Libraries in Vancouver or by webinar. The Justice Access Centre in Victoria will also be hosting a group viewing of the webinar.

Participants in this course may claim up to 1 hour of CPD credit.

Date and time: Friday, January 29, 2016 from 10:00-11:00am PST

Register here to attend in-person in Vancouver

Register here to attend at the JAC in Victoria.

Register here for the webinar.

For more information about our training programs, please contact us at: training@courthouselibrary.ca


Not a volunteer lawyer?

The Access Pro Bono Wills Clinics are offered to low-income seniors (55+) and people with terminal illnesses at physical locations in Vancouver (11:30am to 1:30pm at the Justice Access Centre at the Vancouver Courthouse, 800 Hornby Street), and also in Victoria and Nanaimo on a more limited basis.

Volunteer lawyers provide free legal help with simple wills and representation agreements. Please call the number or send an email to the address provided at the above link to make an appointment.

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