2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: September/October

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

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


The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Many Dial-A-Law scripts have been recently reviewed. For a complete list of these resources, see their listings here (sorted by “last reviewed date”). Some of the updated scripts are:

Consumer and Debt Law
by People’s Law School

People’s Law School is delighted to relaunch a tried and true resource, Consumer and Debt Law, as a Clicklaw Wikibook. This problem-solving manual for advocates and other legal professionals helping clients with consumer or debt problems is now fully updated, fully online, and also available by print-on-demand. Covering over 45 topics on consumer purchases, contracts, borrowing money, and being in debt. Explains the relevant law and suggests ways to solve problems.

What can I expect in court?
by the Provincial Court of BC

The Provincial Court website contains a series of eNews articles written by judges and judicial justices to describe what happens at various proceedings in Provincial Court and offer suggestions on how to prepare for them.

West Coast LEAF

  • The Unfinished Story of Yes – This short animated video explains how Canada’s law of consent and sexual assault has shifted in the last few decades – and the deep flaws that remain in the justice system. The video was designed in collaboration with post-secondary students as part of the Only Yes Means Yes project.
  • We Are Here: Women’s Experiences of the Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault – Grounded in the firsthand knowledge of survivors, this report explores the significant barriers to reporting sexual assault through the criminal justice system. Its aim is to inspire change in society and the justice system to make reporting a viable option for all survivors who wish to pursue it.

Get Cannabis Clarity
by BC Ministry of Attorney General

Non-medical cannabis is now legal in Canada. Here, you’ll find information on the laws and regulations for BC.

Protecting Personal Information: Cannabis Transactions
by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPC)

Cannabis is illegal in most places outside of Canada. The personal information of users is therefore very sensitive. Some countries may deny entry to people who have purchased cannabis. This guide was created to help cannabis retailers/purchasers understand their rights and obligations under PIPA.

Stay informed:

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2018 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


Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights at the Border
by BC Civil Liberties Association

This handbook is meant to help you make sense of the current state of play with respect to electronic searches at the Canadian border and at US preclearance zones in Canada, and to provide tools to protect your privacy when traveling with electronic devices.

Online Divorce Assistant Application
by BC Ministry of Attorney General

This online app helps people complete documentation for joint-filing divorces in the Supreme Court of BC in cases without children. Joint-filed divorces are where both applicants agree on all family law issues relevant to their situation, such as spousal support and the division of family property.

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Many Dial-A-Law scripts have been recently reviewed. For a complete list of these resources, see their listings here (sorted by “last reviewed date”). Some of the updated scripts are:

Traffic Court Guide: Guide to Disputing a Ticket
by the Provincial Court of BC

This guide deals with provincial violation tickets – for offences under BC laws, including traffic offences under the Motor Vehicle Act and regulations, and offences under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

Ready to Rent BC

Elder Law Glossary
by Seniors First BC

Elder law and services for seniors are full of unique terms, phrases, and acronyms. We provide this glossary to help you look up this sometimes confusing terminology.

West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL)

  • Back to top Infographic: Marine Protected Areas – Human activities like fishing, shipping and oil exploration increasingly put pressure on our oceans and marine life. This infographic highlights the benefits of Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) in Canada. Legal protections in MPAs can help save our seas.
  • Infographic: Stronger Marine Protected Areas – This infographic explains why Canada’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) need updated and stronger legal protections. We need strong laws to help save our seas.
  • Infographic: Oil and Marine Protection Don’t Mix – Along the Atlantic coast, the ocean does not have consistent protection from oil and gas development. Oil and gas is even permitted within the boundaries of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This infographic shows the inconsistent regulation of oil and gas across Canada’s coasts and MPAs.
  • Guardian Watchmen: Upholding Indigenous Laws to Protect Land and Sea – For thousands of years, the Indigenous peoples of BC have protected and managed the lands and waters. Recently, through the creation of ‘Guardian Watchmen’ programs, nations have continued to uphold their governance responsibilities. Guardian Watchmen follow, enforce, and uphold traditions.
  • A Legal Toolbox to Defend BC from the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline & Tankers Project – This brief highlights the tools BC has to stand up to Kinder Morgan.
  • Infographic: Protecting BC’s Coast – This infographic outlines the need for two policy decisions, banning oil tanker traffic on BC’s North Coast and implementing a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on BC’s North Coast, as essential pieces of protection for BC’s rich natural resources.

The Internet of Things
by Get Cyber Safe

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to physical devices (smart/connected devices) that connect to each other via the internet. This website helps you understand how to protect your privacy and security if you are using them at home. It also has a section for small/medium business owners.

Reviewed & updated Common Questions

With help from Seniors First BC, we have reviewed and updated the following questions:

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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2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: May/June

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

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


The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Many Dial-A-Law scripts have been recently reviewed. For a complete list of these resources, see their listings here (sorted by “last reviewed date”). Some of them are:

Working with Your Legal Aid Lawyer
by Legal Services Society

Now available in French. This fact sheet outlines client and lawyer roles and responsibilities, so each knows what to expect from the legal aid contract.

Gender Self-Determination Project
by PACE Society

A program designed to help trans* folks get proper ID. We work one-on-one with anyone who identifies as trans, two-spirit, non-binary, or otherwise gender-diverse to apply to change their name and/or gender marker and acquire updated IDs. We are able to cover any costs that we cannot get waived by the organizations themselves.

Environmental Legal Aid
by West Coast Environmental Law

West Coast Environmental Law offers free legal advice to help community groups, First Nations and individuals understand their environmental rights. We also offer funding support through our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF), which connects British Columbians with a network of private environmental lawyers around the province willing to work at a legal aid rate.

SFU Centre for Education, Law and Society

The following lesson ideas and educational resources for teachers and students have been reviewed or updated to reflect the new BC curriculum:

Employment Standards Act Reform Project
by British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI)

BCLI has issued a consultation paper on BC’s Employment Standards Act to seek public comment on tentative recommendations for reforming the Act. Responses are requested by 31 August 2018.

Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria

Submissions on Human Trafficking to Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
by Pivot Legal Society

Consensual, adult sex work and human trafficking are distinct. Canada’s laws and policies will only be effective if they recognize the difference between these two concepts.

Cannabis in Canada
by the Government of Canada

Information on what you need to know and what the law means for you. Topics include cannabis and the border, cannabis impairment, and how the laws and regulations will impact your business.

Guidance Document – Competitive Advantage: Compliance with PIPA and the GDPR
by Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPC)

Effective May 25, 2018, some organizations subject to PIPA must also comply with the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This guidance helps organizations in BC determine whether they are subject to the GDPR and explains how to comply with both PIPA and the GDPR.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

  • The Internet of Things
    An introduction to privacy issues with a focus on the retail and home environments.
  • Guidelines for Obtaining Meaningful Consent
    This document sets out practical & actionable guidance regarding what organizations should do to ensure that they obtain meaningful consent. It contains information about the guiding principles for obtaining consent, determining the appropriate form of consent, and the legal requirements.

New & Updated Common Questions

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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2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: March/April

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

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


Courthouse Libraries BC

New extended hours for Kamloops, Nanaimo, New Westminster locations: Monday to Friday, from 8:30-12:00 pm, 12:30-4:00 pm.

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”). Some of the updated scripts are:

Disability Alliance BC

The following resources have been updated:

The help sheets and videos from the series “How I Need to Know” are now available on Clicklaw. The publications provide information for people with disabilities who are victims of crime. See the listings here (sorted in alphabetical order).

Legal Services Society

New and updated publications:

New languages other than English are now available for the following publications:

Parents Legal Centre

The Parents Legal Centre (PLC) provides a lawyer and an advocate to help parents in select locations settle their child protection matters early on and collaboratively (everyone works together). Locations: Surrey and Vancouver.

Nidus

Pivot Legal Society

One of our new contributor organizations have made their resources available on Clicklaw:

Is That Legal? (CyberMisogyny Legal Guide)
by West Coast LEAF

Understanding Canadian law on issues of online harassment, exploitation, & abuse. Now available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified & traditional), Punjabi, and Spanish. Co-published with Legal Services Society.

Strata Property Law—Phase Two
by British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI)

This project is intended to make recommendations to reform the Strata Property Act, in seven identified areas, to help in the development of the next generation of strata-property law in British Columbia.

Environmental Law Centre UVic

Their work on legal issues affecting the environment in BC have been recently added to Clicklaw. See the full listings here and some of their most recent reports below.

Landlord Registry™
by LandlordBC

A program for landlords & building/property managers in BC. For $39 plus tax, enrollees receive access to the e-learning tool I Rent It Right™ and a 3 year access to the online tool kit. This program provides them with fundamental education & best practises in regard to the Residential Tenancy Act.

Property Assessment Appeal Board – Online Dispute Resolution
by the Property Assessment Appeal Board of BC

This new service is available for you to appeal the property assessment of your residential properties. It allows you to have the option to resolve your appeal completely online.

An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods
by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

This study describes the results of a survey of family law lawyers and their views of the use of collaborative processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation in family law disputes.

Stay informed:

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Organization of the Month | April 2018

This month, we feature Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, a Clicklaw contributor.

CBABC is the provincial division of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA). The CBA is a professional, voluntary organization representing 38,000 lawyers, judges, Quebec notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada. More than 6,700 are members of the BC Branch. CBABC operates the Dial-A-Law service.

Law Week 2018 is fast approaching and the Canadian Bar Association’s BC Branch is looking forward to celebrating the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms during the week of April 16-22, 2018.

Originated by the Canadian Bar Association and first held in Canada in 1983, Law Week provides an excellent opportunity for the legal profession to educate the public about the vital role that lawyers and the judiciary serve in guaranteeing an open, independent and unbiased judicial system.

Law Week events are held in communities throughout British Columbia during the month of April and into May this year and are made possible through the efforts of lawyers who donate thousands of hours of volunteer time across Canada.

2018 Events include: courthouse tours, free public law classes, Dial-A-Lawyer Day, The Barry Sullivan Law Cup, Meet the Chiefs student forum, and Judges in the Classroom.

Dial-A-Lawyer Day is an annual event and an integral part of Law Week in BC. British Columbians are invited to speak with a lawyer for up to 15 minutes at no cost about the following areas of law: Business, Employment, Family, Immigration, Tort & Motor Vehicle, and Wills & Estates. Last year, a staggering 325 calls were answered by a group of 20 volunteer lawyers who provided the public with this very valuable service.

Law Week is a collaborative project organized through the partnership of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Law Society of British Columbia, the Vancouver Bar Association, and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC.

To find out more information about Law Week and how you can participate, visit the Law Week website.

Follow and participate on Twitter: @BCLawWeek  #BCLawWeek

In other news…

Earlier this year, CBABC announced the launch of the new BC Legal Directory. After 30 years in print, the publication is now a purely online experience optimized for mobile devices and fully accessible to the public for the first time.

The BC Legal Directory is the most comprehensive listing of BC lawyers, including private practice, corporate counsel and government lawyers. The directory also includes the judiciary, paralegals, notaries and law-related groups such as law schools and local bar associations. Lawyer profiles are searchable by name, location, languages spoken and areas of practice. The directory offers more robust profiles and wider exposure for legal professionals, along with the capacity to update a profile at any time.

Stay informed with CBABC:

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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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2017 Bi-Monthly Update Series: September/October

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

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


The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Seventeen (17) Dial-A-Law scripts have been updated in October 2017. For a complete list of these resources, see their listing here (sorted by “last reviewed date”).

Legal Services Society

  • First Nations Court Duty Counsel
    Duty counsel is now available at the newest location of First Nations Court: Nicola Valley Indigenous Court (Merritt).
  • Your Gladue Rights
    This new booklet explains Gladue rights, rights under the Criminal Code that apply to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal. Gladue rights can apply at bail and sentencing hearings.
  • Your Welfare Rights: Applying for Welfare Online
    New fact sheet about how to apply for welfare using your computer or mobile phone. Describes the three stages involved and the steps you follow at each stage. Expands on information printed in the booklet How to Apply for Welfare. Available in print and online.
  • Mothers Leaving Abusive Partners: Information on Custody and Access for Women with Children
    This booklet is now available in both traditional and simplified Chinese, French, Punjabi, and Spanish. Describes what abuse is, how to protect yourself and your children, what the courts can do, deciding parenting arrangements, and where to get help and support. Includes a checklist of what to take with you when you leave an abusive relationship.

Wills & Estates Q&A
by People’s Law School

Questions and answers on wills and estates topics. Volunteer legal professionals provide answers to questions from the public relating to personal planning, wills, dealing with death, and settling an estate.

Future Planning Tool
by Plan Institute

This new online tool guides you through the steps of planning for a good life, including financial security, personal network building, estate planning, housing choices and supported decision-making.

Support Person Guidelines: Information Poster
by Provincial Court of BC

An informational poster to help explain the BC Provincial Court’s Support Person Guidelines.

Mothers Without Status
by YWCA Vancouver

This updated booklet is for service providers assisting “mothers without status”. They are women who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. It gives an overview of the issues they face and options they can take. It includes information on where to get help.

Legal Forms Workshop at Vancouver Public Library (Amici Curiae Programme)
by Law Courts Centre

Amici Curiae is offering free one-hour sessions with legal professionals who can help you fill out your forms. Get help with forms for court, human rights, employment issues, residential tenancy, and more. No legal advice will be provided. Anyone can make an appointment by calling: 778.522.2839 or by email: aclegal.vpl@gmail.com.

Northern Navigator
by South Peace Community Resources Society

A system for healing for families going through separation and/or divorce. The goal is to improve access to mediation and other services, provide guidance, direction, and information to families in the Peace. The program works with the Registry and Court so when directed by the Judge or when families choose on their own, families will be provided more options for accessing alternative dispute resolution methods (mainly mediation through a roster of mediators working on a sliding scale).

New and updated Common Questions

Gives you a selection of helpful guides when you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft. It also tells you who to call to report the incident and to ask for more information.

Now includes links to Disability Alliance BC’s blog posts about the new increase to disability rates, the restoration of the bus pass program, and the new transportation supplement.

Stay informed:

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Do you have a will?

Printable PDF handouts with accessible Wills and Personal Planning Resources for all audiences

Wills are essential tools for responsible planning and are applicable to persons considered “mentally capable” and 16 or older in BC.

Completing a will is usually a relief.  If you have been thinking about a will for yourself or if you have family members who have yet to take that step, the next few weeks are an excellent time to start.

April 9-15, 2017 is Make-a-Will Week, and a number of organizations and legal professionals are coming together to donate their time and effort to help people write their will or bring an existing will up to date.

Don’t forget about Personal Planning

A will doesn’t mean you’re totally covered — if you don’t know about Representation Agreements, Enduring Powers of Attorney and other personal planning documents, you’ll want to read more about these important legal planning documents with experts like Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry.

What events are going on?

On April 22, 10am-2pm, call 604 687-3221 OR 1-800-663-1919 for a free 15 minute consultation with a lawyer

Make a Will Week is closely followed by Law Week, so there are a lot of events happening in the month of April. We covered a variety in our last post on April Events.

For example, the CBA BC is holding its province-wide Dial-a-Lawyer day on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 10am – 2pm where anyone can call 604 687-3221 or 1-800-663-1919 for a free 15-minute consultation with a Wills and Estates Lawyer. They also cover other areas of law: Business, Employment, Family, Immigration and Tort & Motor Vehicle.

Nidus is holding online and in-person presentations about Personal Planning — legal documents for health care, personal care, financial and legal matters.

People’s Law School in collaboration with various organizations are holding many Public Legal Education Law Classes across BC on various topics, ranging from Writing a Will and Probating a Will to Strata Law.

I want to learn more about making my will. What do I read? Who do I call?

At the Wills and Personal Planning Resources page on the Courthouse Libraries BC website, there is a comprehensive list of free or nominal fee resources and services for everyone—from lawyers to people who aren’t familiar with the law. The webpage contains the full list of resources, services and events. The PDF handouts (printable, shareable) contain examples of types of help that can be found on the webpage, and contain a short bit.ly link that forwards to the webpage.

If you would like to make a suggestion for a resource, please email us.

Want to share the Wills & Personal Planning Resources page? Use this short redirect URL: http://bit.ly/CLBCwills

Stay informed:

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Moving in together, “Common-Law Relationships” and Unmarried Spouses in BC

Are we or aren’t we?

0_censusThis past year, your household would have received some form of the 2016 Census, which included a question that could stump a few people: Are you married? Do you have a common-law partner?

The Statistics Canada website defines Common-Law Partner as “persons who are members of an opposite-sex or same-sex couple living common law. A couple living common law is one in which the members are not legally married to each other but live together as a couple in the same dwelling.”

“Common-law partner” is the term used federally (Canada-wide) to mean a marriage-like relationship that has lasted for two years, just one year or even less, depending on what law applies.

In BC, our provincial family laws use the term “spouse” or “unmarried spouse” to refer to an unmarried couple who has lived together in a “marriage-like relationship” for at least two years, or less than that if they have had a child together. There is no such thing as a “common-law spouse” or “common-law marriage” in BC. However, there are still certain consequences of being an “unmarried spouse”. See Unmarried Spouses.

What should I know about before moving in with my partner?

keys-525732_1280In BC, If you have lived together in a “marriage-type relationship” for two years (with some variability), these are some important consequences to know about:

  • the debts either of you incurred while you were living together are considered “family debt”, which means that when you break up, the responsibility for this debt may be divided equally between you. Read more about this at: How to divide property and debts, Property & Debt in Family Matters;
  • if you buy property together during your relationship, regardless of who paid the downpayment, you could equally share it and equally share the increase in value of property you had before the relationship, which can even apply to the increase in value of “excluded property” like gifts and inheritances;
  • the courts will treat you like a married couple when determining spousal support. See Spousal Support;
  • you may be considered spouses for the purpose of social assistance and other benefits* (which may negatively or positively affect your eligibility). See Thinking of moving in together?;
  • it may affect your partner’s right to “contest” your will. See What Happens When Your Spouse Dies.

I’m already living with my partner. Is there anything I could do?

I want legal advice and/or more information on my situation. Where can I get it?

If you are low income and have questions on family law matters, the Family LawLine can provide more information and help.

To find legal advice and other help on family law issues, see Helpmap results for “family law” and “legal advice” here. It includes services like the CBABC’s Lawyer Referral Service, which connects you with a lawyer who will offer an initial 30-minute consultation for a nominal fee of $25 plus taxes.

This post didn’t cover everything. Read more about this topic:

For example, we weren’t able to discuss situations where an unmarried couple have had a child together. That would have made this post very long indeed! Read the resources linked throughout this post for more information. Another great resource to consult is: Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce

Past posts on Family Law from the Clicklaw Blog:


STAY INFORMED:

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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


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