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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Organization of the Month | July 2017

This month, we feature Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), a Clicklaw contributor.

Meet Samrah

Samrah Mian is the Intake Coordinator for the Community Law Program at CLAS. Samrah acts as the first point of contact for all clients and advocates accessing the Community Law Program’s services. She listens to their stories, gleans relevant information, helps clients gather documents from various sources in order to complete a program intake, and links clients and callers to other resources and referrals when appropriate. She also plays a role in community outreach, public legal education and research, and works towards program goals surrounding residential tenancy.

Thanks for talking to me today, Samrah. Can you tell me more about what you do?

I was hired about a year ago at CLAS, in a newly created position, intended to streamline and simplify intakes with the hope that clients could quickly reach someone who would be able to help them immediately and that this would lessen the load on the rest of the program staff.

What I truly appreciate is the diversity of the work that my job involves. I’ve been given the opportunity to become involved in public engagement, conducting research and learning more about poverty law topics that interest me.

Can you tell me more about what your Community Law Program (CLP) is working on?

Besides providing direct services to hundreds of people every year, we’re involved in a number of systemic advocacy actions.

Our program is active in lobbying for changes to residential tenancy laws and procedures at the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). We supported the new legislative amendments that allowed tenants fleeing family violence to be able to end their fixed-term tenancies early and we actively work with the RTB to improve practices.

Outside of residential tenancy, our recent work includes a case that resulted in the repeal of discriminatory income assistance policies and we are currently challenging the validity of forced psychiatric treatments under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We also intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in a human rights case that will determine whether the BC Human Rights Tribunal can deal with complaints of workplace harassment involving co-workers, customers, contractors and other non-supervisory personnel in the workplace.

Very cool to hear. What about your direct services? When should people refer to CLP?

Here’s a handy chart:

A good time to refer to CLPNot a good time to refer to CLP
Your client has received an Order of Possession from the Residential Tenancy Branch and is required to leave their homeYour client has received a Notice of Eviction from their landlord
After a co-op board meeting, your client’s membership has been terminatedYour client is receiving letters from their co-op that threaten to cancel her membership if she doesn’t comply with their terms
Your client has been served with court papers from the bank holding the mortgage in the house that they live in Your client has missed a mortgage payment
Your client has received a decision from the Workers Compensation Appeal TribunalYour client has received a decision from a WCB officer
Your client has received a decision from the Social Security Tribunal or the Employment and Assistance Appeal TribunalYour client has been told that they are not eligible for income assistance by a government branch such as the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (now Social Development and Poverty Reduction)
Your client has had a human rights tribunal hearing and lost the hearingYour human rights claim has been accepted and you are seeking representation (in this case, the Human Rights Clinic would be a good referral)
Your client has received a decision from the Employment Standards TribunalYour client is being harassed by their employer and want to file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch
Your client has received a decision from the Mental Health Review Panel or is being detained under the Adult Guardianship Act or has been issued a Certificate of Incapability under the Adult Guardianship ActYour client has been involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act (if they have applied for a review panel hearing, they can apply to the Mental Health Law Program for representation)

Fantastic. I think that will be an excellent tool for people to have when making referrals. Anything else CLP is working on that you’re excited about?

We’re currently building self-serve website called BC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide where self-represented litigants can walk through the judicial review process and download templates that will make it easier for them to file for a review. In the past, this used to be a very long PDF but we’ve updated it to make it easier to follow. We’re also making different ‘streams’ for different legal issues. We currently have the residential tenancy and workers’ compensation streams up and we’ll be working on human rights and some other tribunals soon.

What’s the biggest misconception that people have about CLP?

One big misconception is that we can represent all clients in all types of legal matters for free!

The legal services that we provide through the Community Law Program are free of charge but, in reality, our program mandate is limited. We’ve done some work to spread awareness about this fact but we still get the occasional phone call from a client who wants our help in suing their dentist.

Our primary intake criteria is assisting low-income clients resolve their legal disputes when they have a decision from an administrative tribunal in the areas of work-related legal issues, human rights, government benefits, housing, and mental health law. In addition, we can also help individuals when their co-op membership is terminated, we can provide advice to low-income homeowners when their house is being foreclosed upon and we can help with certain situations in regards to adult guardianship.

CLAS serves the entire province of BC, and our other programs include the BC Human Rights Clinic, the Community Advocates Support Line and the Mental Health Law Program.

Thanks for clearing that up. I hope this helps spread the word, and better connects people to CLAS.

Me too. Speaking of connecting, we are holding our Working CLAS Blues fundraiser on October 26, 2017. If you’re in the lower mainland, we’d love it if you could join us for a night of music, dancing and social justice. Contact Dianne Bankay dbankay@clasbc.net for more information.

Sounds like fun. Last question–what’s something you enjoy when you aren’t working?

I volunteer at Battered Women’s Support Services Family Law Information Clinic along with a team of legal interns. I also spend time reading contemporary literature and listening to HowStuffWorks podcasts.

Stay informed with CLAS:

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June 2017 Events (Online, Vancouver, 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.

  • Tuesday, June 6 (10am-12pm): Usability Testing: A Way to Enhance Your PLEI Resources A workshop at the Law Foundation of BC offices in Vancouver. In developing a public legal education and information resource, usability testing is an excellent way to learn about how people might use your resource and to improve its ease of use and effectiveness. There are several usability testing methods, many of which are increasingly affordable even on small projects. This workshop will share the range of methods in the usability testing toolbox and when to apply each method.
  • June 7-14 (various dates): Nidus logo_niduspresents online webinars & an in-person presentation on Personal Planning

Wednesday, June 7 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Live Demo of the Personal Planning Registry. Register Online.

Wednesday, June 14 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Health Care & Personal Care. Register Online.

Wednesday, June 14 (1:00-2:30pm) In-Person Presentation: Planning for incapacity and end-of-life. No Registration required. At South Granville Seniors Centre, 1420 West 12th Avenue (between Granville & Hemlock) in Vancouver. Held in lounge on 3rd floor.

Wednesday, June 28 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Financial & Legal Matters. Register Online.

  • June 13-28 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC presents various online webinars open to advocates and community workers:

Tuesday, June 13 (12:30pm-2:00pm): Working More Effectively with Clients Who Have Mental Health Issues.
Advocates around BC report they are increasingly providing services to clients with complex and multiple barriers. In this 1.5 hour webinar offered jointly with PovNet, Kristi Yuris and Kris Sutherland will provide practical strategies aimed at increasing each advocate’s capacity to work more effectively with clients with mental health issues. NOTE: This Webinar is now sold out. There is space in our in-person group viewings at the Vancouver (800 Smithe St) and Kamloops (455 Columbia St) library locations. Please email training@courthouselibrary.ca to register for an in-person viewing or to be added to our waitlist for the webinar.

Monday, June 19 (12:30-1:30pm): Civil Resolution Tribunal: BC’s New Online Tribunal (An Update).
The online Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is resolving strata property disputes, and as of June 1, will also begin accepting small claims disputes under $5,000. In this 1 hour webinar hosted jointly with the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Shannon Salter will walk you through the CRT process including some changes specific to small claims disputes and discuss the use of CRT since inception. She’ll also answer your questions about how to help your clients using the CRT.
Register online.

Wednesday, June 21 (12:30-1:30pm): Representing Your Client at a Hearing of the Mental Health Review Board.
In this one hour webinar offered jointly with Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), you will hear from Diane Nielsen and another legal advocate of CLAS. This webinar will assist lawyers and advocates in representing people who are involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act (MHA) at Mental Health Review Board (Review Panel) hearings to review their involuntary detention.
Register online.

Wednesday, June 28 (12:30-1:30pm): Clicklaw Refresher for Libraries & Community Helpers.
This one hour webinar is aimed toward community helpers and public library staff. LawMatters Coordinator Shannon McLeod and Clicklaw Coordinator Audrey Jun will be reviewing how to search Clicklaw for reliable legal information specific to BC as well as how to use Clicklaw Wikibooks and the Clicklaw Helpmap to make better referrals.
Register online.

  • Wednesday, June 21 (starting at 6:30pm): BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) holds their Annual General Meeting at the YWCA Hotel in Vancouver. The AGM is your chance to hear about their work, elect BC FIPA board members, and talk about some of this year’s most important freedom of information and privacy issues. It will feature a talk by Sinziana Gutiu about the current climate for information and privacy issues in BC and what BC’s new political climate could bring. RSVP to fipa@fipa.bc.ca.

Stay informed:

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2017 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


Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia

  • Navigator for Youth Transitioning to Adult Services
    Youth with disabilities in BC face challenges when transitioning from childhood to adult services. This program helps youth aged 14 to 25, their parents and members of their Transition Support Teams, connect with the services they need, such as disability benefits, health services, or school supports.

Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Disability Alliance BC

The following help sheets are now available in 5 languages: Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish.

Legal Services Society

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

People’s Law School

Each of the following publications now has a fresh new look, new content, and more practical guidance. Both are available in multiple media formats: wikibook, EPUB (for reading on a tablet or e-reader), PDF (print version), and printed booklet (order via Crown Publications).

  • Essentials of Consumer Law
    Explains consumer rights for common purchases and contracts. Now includes a new section on making a contract.
  • Scams to Avoid
    Covers 15 of the most common scams. Now includes new sections on romance scams, charity scams, and expanded coverage of online and computer scams.

Provincial Court of British Columbia

  • Guidelines for Using a Support Person in Provincial Court
    Many self-represented litigants find that having a trusted friend or family member with them to provide emotional support, take notes, and organize documents can be a big help. The BC Provincial Court recognizes this, and has adopted guidelines to make it easier to bring a support person to court.

Common Question – Provincial Court Resources for Everyone: Small Claims Court

On June 1, 2017, the limit for small claims will increase to $35,000 from $25,000. This page has been updated to include this information and a link to the New Small Claims Procedures from the Provincial Court of BC. Note: The Provincial Court Resources pages will be updated for May 2017.

Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL)

  • Older Women’s Dialogue Project
    This project looks at law and social policy issues that affect older woman and explores what can be done to address barriers to their quality of life.
  • Older Women’s Legal Education Project
    A collaboration with West Coast LEAF, this project tries to enhance the capacity of seniors-serving professionals to support older women fleeing violence occurring in the family and to inform older women of their rights in situations of abuse.

Stay informed:

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: September-October

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

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


connected-car-coverThe Connected Car
by BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

The report outlines how data culled from vehicle telematics and infotainment systems can be used for safety, monitoring, customer relationship management etc. Yet some data harvested from cars can also be used to track and profile customers for marketing and other purposes.

starting-a-small-business-in-bc-coverStarting a Small Business in BC Guide
by BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

This 2016 edition is an introductory guide to help you with planning, implementing, and developing a small business. It provides essential information you need to know as well as links to additional resources to help ensure that your new business is successful.

cpabc-logoLegal Workshop videos
by Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia

The videos from CPABC’s legal workshops include topics such as workplace discrimination, victims of crime, and rights for youth in transition.

clas-logoBC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Have you received a decision from the BC government or a tribunal (decision maker) that you think is seriously flawed or unfair? After you have gone through all your appeal options within the system, you may be able to ask a judge to review the decision.

CLAS has a guide for people who are representing themselves in a judicial review. We have now updated and modified this guide into a web-based form where users can navigate through the judicial review process for their selected tribunal. This website gives an overview of options that people have, step-by-step information about filing court documents, and templates that people can use when self-representing in Court. The website also allows people to get in touch with CLAS lawyers to ask for information and advice about their situation.

dabc-logoBC Disability Benefits Help Sheets
by Disability Alliance BC

As of September 2016, Disability Alliance BC has fully updated their Help Sheet series to reflect the changes to the PWD benefit, including a rate increase and changes to the BC Bus Pass Program.

emilys-choice-coverEmily’s Choice
by Legal Services Society

Emily’s Choice uses storytelling and images to describe child protection. Co-produced with the Healthy Aboriginal Network, the video and graphic novel tell the story of Emily, who struggles with addiction and an unhealthy relationship. She loves her son, Greg, but can’t always take care of him. When he goes into foster care, she gets legal help and family support to get him back.

The webpage provides links to the video, trailer, online version of the graphic novel, ordering information, who can help, and promotional material.

the-factum-logoThe Factum
by Legal Services Society

The Factum is a Legal Services Society blog about the law in British Columbia and how people can navigate the legal system. While it talks a bit about all aspects of the law, it focuses mainly on how the legal system affects people who can’t afford a lawyer.

Civil Resolution Tribunal- BC’s New Online Tribunal0000crt (Webinar recording)
by Civil Resolution Tribunal and Courthouse Libraries BC

This webinar focused on the recent changes to the strata dispute process brought about in the Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act and served as an introduction to the CRT’s resolution services (including guides, videos and sample document templates) and their Solution Explorer software tool.

 

Stay informed:

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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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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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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: January-February

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 150+ changes in January and February:

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


 

New Societies Act: Impact on Pre-existing Societies
by BC Registry Services

The Societies Act is new legislation that will come into effect on November 28, 2016. It governs how societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in B.C. Read about the new Act’s impact on pre-existing societies. We’ll keep you updated via our related Common Question and will post here about upcoming training opportunities for you — subscribe to our blog on the left column if you haven’t already!

 

Legal Support Services Program
by Family Services of Greater Victoria (formerly BC Families in Transition)

This advocacy program assists unrepresented people in Family or Supreme Court in Greater Victoria and provides family law information to low-income people, on: separation and divorce, child and spousal support guidelines, family property and debt.

 

Court Form Preparation Clinics at the Vancouver JAC and at Atira
by Law Courts Center and Atira

Get help with BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, BC Human Rights Tribunal court forms. These clinics are run by volunteer paralegals with the supervision of duty counsel (a lawyer). The clinic can help with: Supreme Court of BC civil court pleadings, civil court forms relating to employment, foreclosures and residential tenancy matters, Supreme Court of BC family court forms, Court of Appeal family law pleadings and organizing appeal books, and BC Human Rights Tribunal forms.

 

Being an Executor
by People’s Law School

This publication is for people who have been appointed as executor in a will. It covers the steps involved in British Columbia in dealing with an estate after a person dies, including the procedure to probate the will. Updated to reflect the Wills, Estates & Succession Act, which became law in 2014.

 

Protection Orders – Questions and Answers
by BC Ministry of Justice

You may be more familiar with the term “restraining orders”. In BC, the proper term is “protection orders”, which can be either peace bonds or family law protection orders under the Family Law Act. Read more about what a protection order is, when you should get one, how it will protect you, and who you can speak with to get more information about how to apply for one.

 

NCCABC Native Courtworkers
by Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

The purpose of the Native Courtworker program is to help aboriginal people involved in the criminal justice system obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment. The program can provide the aboriginal accused with appropriate referral to legal, social, education, employment, medical and other resources, liaise between the accused and criminal justice personnel, and much more. The HelpMap service listing has been updated with new location and contact information and is managed directly by NCCABC.

 

Termination under the BC Employment Standards Act
by CBA BC Branch

If your job ends or terminates – whether you quit or you are fired or laid off – you want to be aware of your rights under the law. This script describes your rights under the Employment Standards Act, which sets out some minimum protections for workers in BC.

 

CLAS Services: BC Human Rights Clinic, Community Law Program, Mental Health Law Program
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

CLAS programs have been clarified:

  • Human Rights Clinic: exploring settlement, and representation before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
  • Mental Health Law program: legal advice and representation to people who have been involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act or require representation at a Mental Health Review Board hearing.
  • Community Law Program: 
    • Worker’s Rights – appeals or reviews of SST decision about EI benefits, reconsideration or court review of lost WCAT appeal decision, reconsideration or court review of lost EST appeal decision.
    • Human Rights – information about filing a federal human rights complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal or the Canadian Transportation Agency, court review of decision from the BC Human Rights Tribunal, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, or the Canadian Transportation Agency.
    • Income Security – court review of lost Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal decision, appeal or reviews of SST decision about government pension benefits (CPP, CPP disability, OAS).
    • Housing Security – court review of lost RTB hearing, advice on Order of Possession, advice on co-op evictions, tenant or low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.
    • Mental Health – court review of a Mental Health Review Panel decision under MHA, court review of decision from the Review Board under the Criminal Code, or challenge of certificate of incapability making the PGT statutory property guardian.

Contact CLAS at 604.685.3425 or 1.888.685.6222 more more info. Have your papers ready. Note that CLAS services are for low-income clients; they will refer you to other services if they cannot represent you.


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 working on fixing that and will keep you updated.

Stay informed:

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Pink Shirt Day – Resources & Events on Bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day across Canada, a day that raises awareness about bullying. Pink Shirt Day has its beginnings in Nova Scotia, started by two high school students in support of their classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

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In honour of Pink Shirt Day, we are listing key resources and events that educate people on different issues related to bullying:

Bookable Events

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TrendShift: a public dialogue/workshop on cyber misogyny, free and open to the public

by West Coast LEAF

When? Thursday, February 25, 5:30-7pm at TRU, Kamloops, BC.

What? This free interactive workshop will open up a dialogue about how inequality, discrimination and violence play out on the internet and what Canadian law has to say about our rights and responsibilities online.

TrendShift workshops are available for booking in Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Greater Vancouver. These workshops are for students in Grades 8-12 and was developed as part of our Cyber Misogyny Project. Its goals are to open up spaces for dialogue with youth about their rights and responsibilities online, to think about what violence and discrimination look like in online spaces, and to clear up myths about the laws that apply to their lives online. More info on the length of the workshops, and who you can contact for more information available online here.

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The Justice Theatre Troupe

Justice Theatre

by People’s Law School

The Justice Theatre troupe consists of seven professional actors who stage scripted hour-long dramatizations of criminal trials on topics affecting students in elementary and secondary schools throughout the school year in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Justice Theatre is delivered throughout the province of BC.

The one-hour performances address current topics affecting young people and communities-at-large. Frequently requested topics include: Bullying and the Internet, and Bullying and Violence. Schools and community groups should contact Rob McAninch, Justice Theatre director, to find out when the troupe will be in their community or to book a special event.

Online Resources

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What can you do about cyberbullying?

This common question gives you good starting points to learn more about cyberbullying and what you can do to stop it. It includes CBA BC’s resource, Stalking, Criminal Harassment and Cyberbullying, and West Coast LEAF’s resource, “Is that legal?” – a CyberMisogyny Legal Guide, which explains Canadian law about issues of online harassment, exploitation and abuse.

 

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Bullying and Harassment: a workplace problem
by People’s Law School

This video resource describes bullying and harassment in the workplace and what can you do if you experience it.

 

BC Human Rights Clinic
Bullying Law in BC
by BC Human Rights Clinic (CLAS)

This resource reviews protection from bullying at work, personal harassment, and includes a more in-depth resource on Bullying and Harassment in Human Rights Law, which gives tips on what managers can do to maintain a harassment-free workplace environment.

Stay informed:

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New Service Alert: Human Rights Clinic Provides Advocacy & Legal Representation

BC Human Rights ClinicToday’s post introduces a New Service from The BC Human Rights Clinic and Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), a Clicklaw contributor.

 

WHY THIS NEW SERVICE?

The new BC Human Rights Clinic is the result of a 2014 Ministry of Justice review, merging two human rights organizations:

The BC Human Rights Coalition, who operated advocacy, information, and education services for the Clinic, merged with CLAS, who were operating legal services for the Clinic.

WHO CAN USE THIS NEW SERVICE?

You may qualify for this service if you have a complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal and seek legal representation or advocacy. You first go through an intake process and must meet certain criteria to qualify. One example of what can qualify you for assistance is the inability to obtain legal representation for free or at a reduced rate from a legal provider.

WHAT CAN THIS NEW SERVICE DO FOR YOU?

Advocacy provided includes:
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  • filing amendments;
  • attending settlement meetings;
  • negotiating settlements;
  • making applications;
  • responding to applications;
  • and doing disclosure

Legal Representation provided if your case is not settled or dismissed includes:

  • clinic lawyers who may represent the complainant at a full hearing; or
  • provide other limited legal assistance; or
  • CLAS lawyers who are able to provide further limited help with submissions if required, following a hearing.

In addition to advocacy and representation, the BC Human Rights Clinic is contracted to provide Public Legal Education and Information, a Drop-in Clinic and Duty Counsel services.

Click here to learn more about human rights

HOW DO I GET STARTED?       

Find Contact Information, Hours of Service and more at the BC Human Rights Clinic Service Listing for this service on the HelpMap.

Click here to learn more about Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

 

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