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:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

2017 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


Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU)

ILRU is committed to the recovery and renaissance of Indigenous laws. The following resources build awareness of Indigenous laws:

Legal Services Society

Legal Help for British Columbians
by Courthouse Libraries BC

All chapters have been recently reviewed and updated by a team of reviewers and contributors, all volunteers from the BC legal profession. This guide provides first steps to address over 40 common legal problems and information on where to get help. Published on Clicklaw Wikibooks, it is available in multiple media formats: wikibook, EPUB (for reading on a tablet or e-reader), PDF (print version), and printed books (will be available soon at public libraries across BC).

RDSP Tutorial
by PLAN Institute

This online tutorial helps you learn about Canada’s Registered Disability Savings Plan. You can navigate through the chapters at your own pace or go directly to a specific question from the list on the homepage.

Standardized wording for Bail, Probation and Conditional Sentence Orders
by Provincial Court of BC

This resource has a list of picklists, which are lists of standardized terms for court orders. They are stored in courtroom computers so a Court Clerk can use them to quickly and accurately capture the order a judge makes. When a judge decides to change the standard wording, a Court Clerk can edit the term accordingly.

Trans Rights BC
by Catherine White Holman Centre and the VCH Transgender Health Information Program

This website is part of a project that aims to disseminate human rights information that is accurate, accessible, and relevant to the safety and well-being of trans and gender-diverse individuals and their supportive allies across British Columbia.

Oversight at the Border: A Model for Independent Accountability at the Canada Border Services Agency
by BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

In this new report, BCCLA proposes a model for providing independent oversight and accountability to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It also includes detailed recommendations on the components necessary to ensure effective, credible oversight and review of CBSA’s activities.

New Common Questions

With help from BC FIPA, we have added the following questions:

Updated common question: Is marijuana legal in BC?

Now includes the following resources from the federal government:

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

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:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30px FB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: May-June

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 hundreds of changes in May and June:

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


New Resources on Adult Guardianship & Enduring Powers of Attorney
by Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

 

Sponsorship Breakdown
by Legal Services Society

New French Edition added. Sponsorship Breakdown is for permanent residents and conditional permanent residents who need help when the person sponsoring them in Canada is no longer supporting them, and they are unable to support themselves. Explains what happens when a sponsorship breaks down, and how to apply for welfare.

 

Updated Dial-a-Law Scripts
by Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch

 

A Guide for Manufactured Home Park Landlords and Tenants in British Columbia
by BC Residential Tenancy Branch

This booklet provides a summary of the key features of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act and how they affect landlords and tenants in manufactured home parks in British Columbia.

 

Roads to Safety: Legal Information for Older Women in BC
by West Coast LEAF

Roads to Safety is a legal handbook for older women in BC that covers legal issues that older women may face when they have experienced violence. It explains rights and options, using stories to illustrate the legal information.

 

Rise Women’s Legal Centre

Formed through a partnership between West Coast LEAF and UBC’s Allard School of Law to provides free and low-cost legal services to women. Services are provided by upper year law students, under the supervision of staff lawyers. Rise offers a range of services, from information and summary advice, unbundled legal services, and in some instances representation in court. Currently accepting appointments for Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May 24 to July 20; fall dates TBA.

 

Common Questions: In response to questions we have been asked repeatedly via email, reference or by webinar attendees, we added three new FAQs this June:

 


An Evaluation of the Clicklaw Wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law: Final Report
by Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

This study assesses outputs & outcomes of the JP Boyd on Family Law wikibook by analyzing data from Google Analytics and data collected from a pop-up survey of users, a follow-up survey administered 1 week later and a follow-up survey 6 months later, to gauge the efficacy of wikibooks as a collaborative PLE model.


Disclosing Your Disability: A Legal Guide for People with Disabilities in BC
by Disability Alliance BC

The guide discusses the legal rights and responsibilities around disclosure for people with disabilities in the context of employment.

 


HIGH STAKES: The impacts of child care on the human rights of women and children
by West Coast LEAF

This report is grounded in diverse women’s real-life stories about how the inadequacy of the child care system has impacted them and their children—undermining their safety, well-being, & human rights. The report analyzes the legal implications of these harms and calls for urgent government action.

 


Responding to Child Welfare Concerns: Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

Updated for 2016, this booklet explains when to report child abuse and neglect, and what to report. Includes what child abuse and neglect is, warning signs, what to do if a child tells you about the abuse, and what to do if you suspect abuse. It also explains what to expect when you make the report and what happens next.

 

0000_CLICKLAW_WEBINAR

Clicklaw Refresher (Webinar Recording)
by Clicklaw + LawMatters (Courthouse Libraries BC)

See the recording of our live 1-hr webinar for front-line community workers, advocates and public librarians. Learn how to search online for reliable legal information & help specific to BC, with an overview of how to use Clicklaw, the HelpMap, and the Clicklaw Wikibooks.

 

00000_WFL_webinar

Women and Family Law: Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities (Webinar Recording)
by West Coast LEAF and Courthouse Libraries BC

See the recording of this live 1.5-hr webinar on recent changes to family law in BC and their impacts on the parenting experiences of women with abusive or harassing exes. Speaker Zara Suleman considers some common legal challenges including parenting assessment reports, denial of parenting time, relocating with a child, and litigation harassment. Zara offers lawyers and frontline service providers who assist women fleeing abuse effective strategies to cope with and address these issues.

 


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:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

Free Webinar for Community Workers & Advocates: Clicklaw Refresher

00LMCL
LawMatters and Clicklaw will be collaborating on this upcoming webinar.
For: Community Workers, Advocates, and Public Librarians
When: June 28th 1:00-2:00pm PST*
Presenters: Audrey Jun and Shannon McLeod
Cost: Free

Brush up with this great introduction (or review) to using Clicklaw to help answer legal information questions and make effective referrals.
We will be reviewing how to search Clicklaw for reliable legal information as well as how to use Clicklaw Wikibooks and the Clicklaw HelpMap.

Raise your awareness of different resources, publishers, and organizations and sign up today!

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

New information on Certificates of Divorce

CQ_iconWe’ve added a question to Clicklaw that gets asked quite often by people who visit our Courthouse LibrariesHow can I get my Certificate of Divorce? Does it make my divorce official? What forms do I need?

Our new Common Question clarifies that you do not need a certificate to make your divorce legal, but that it can be useful in some cases.

If you want more info on the different ways you can apply for a certificate, you are directed to a brand new page of the JP Boyd on Family Law Clicklaw Wikibook (JPBOFL), which:

  • answers when you can get your certificate, and
  • gives 3 options for how you can apply for it: (1) at a Supreme Court Registry in person – if you have a lawyer, or (2) in person if you are doing it by yourself, and (3) via snail mail.

We also include tips on finding your court file number, and getting a copy of your divorce order.

What is a Clicklaw Wikibook?

Clicklaw Wikibooks is Clicklaw’s companion site – it provides plain language legal information and is a platform for lawyers and legal organizations in BC to publish and update legal information in a range of different digital and physical formats by editing a single source. I like to call it a curated wiki of BC law.

In addition to reading the Wikibooks online, you can find several of them in print at your local public library, through the LawMatters programJP Boyd is a well-known family law expert and the founding author of this post’s featured Clicklaw Wikibook, which is updated by BC lawyers.

Other posts ft. JPBOFL

Stay informed

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

How Do I Get Married In British Columbia?

Photo courtesy of Freepik.com

In British Columbia, opposite and same-sex couples who are 19 years or older (with some exceptions) and are currently unmarried can marry. Although it is not difficult to get married in BC, there are a number of crucial steps that must be taken before, during and after the ceremony. Here is a quick checklist:

CheckboxApply for a marriage licence

You and your partner need a licence to get married in BC. To apply, one of you has to go in person with primary identification for both individuals (e.g. birth certificate, citizenship card) to a Vital Statistics Agency office. The license is ~$100 and is valid for three months.

CheckboxGet married in a religious or civil ceremony

You can choose either a religious or civil ceremony. The person performing the ceremony must be licensed under the B.C. Marriage Act

  • Not all religious officials are licensed. They must register with Vital Statistics.
  • For civil ceremonies, this person is known as a marriage commissioner. The base fee for a marriage commissioner is $78.75 and they may charge additional fees.
  • The marriage ceremony must be held in the presence of at least two witnesses, in addition to the marriage commissioner or religious official.

CheckboxWhere you cannot get married and who cannot marry you

“The City of Vancouver does not provide marriage licences or perform marriage ceremonies any longer”, says Brad, an information rep from City Hall who referred us to the BC Vital Statistics Agency. Nor can you get married inside a courtroom. Similarly, marriages are not performed by judges or judicial justices. As stated above, either a marriage commissioner or religious official conducts the ceremony.

CheckboxRegister the marriage

The marriage commissioner or religious official who conducts the ceremony will help you complete a Marriage Registration Form. This form must be sent, within 48 hours of the ceremony, to the Vital Statistics Agency for registration.

CheckboxFor more information

Details regarding how to get married in BC can be found at: JP Boyd on Family Law, CBA BC’s Dial-A-Law Scripts and BC’s Vital Statistics Agency.

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px 01_Twitter_30px 01_Linkedin_30px 01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Share

New Study Supports the Wikibook Model of Public Legal Education

CRILF LogoBy Lorne Bertrand & Joanne Paetsch
Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

Wikibooks are websites built on the MediaWiki platform, an open-source application that powers websites such as Wikipedia, Scholarpedia and the notorious WikiLeaks. Wikibooks are agile and highly adaptable, and are normally used to present large amounts of text from multiple authors in a digestible, easily accessible format. Clicklaw, a public legal education web resource run by Courthouse Libraries BC, has adapted the wikibook concept to provide plain language legal information to the public.

Unlike most MediaWiki websites that allow any user to add and revise content, Clicklaw Wikibooks use a unique development model in which potential contributors are screened by the Clicklaw Wikibooks team before being given editorial privileges. This collaborative approach allows several lawyers to contribute content and ensures that the task of maintaining and updating the material is not overly burdensome for any one individual.

In 2013, Clicklaw added JP Boyd on Family Law to its collection of wikibooks. The resource offers more than 120 webpages of substantive legal information, about 500 definitions of common legal words and phrases, links to hundreds of key government and non-government resources, and more than 100 downloadable forms for the British Columbia Supreme and Provincial Courts.

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family has just released the findings of the first phase of its evaluation of JP Boyd on Family Law, conducted with funding from the Law Foundation of British Columbia and Courthouse Libraries BC. The evaluation used data from several sources to assess the use and usefulness of the wikibook, including: a pop-up survey completed by 546 users of the website; a follow-up survey of 142 users administered one week after completing the pop-up; and website traffic information generated by Google Analytics.

Continue reading

Share

The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information now available as a Clicklaw Wikibook!

BGLI coverCourthouse Libraries BC is pleased to announce that our new Clicklaw Wikibook, The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information; A how-to for legal research and representing yourself in court in British Columbia is now available online. Our news release gives detailed information about the publication.

We describe the Guide as a new resource that “helps people handle their everyday legal problems. It is particularly useful to people who are representing themselves in court in British Columbia. Written by librarians at Courthouse Libraries BC, the new Guide gives a basic introduction to understanding laws & legislation, and gives how-to instructions to find specific legal resources on a given topic.”

A copy of the Guide can be printed by using the PDF download option, or you can download it as an ePub on a mobile device.

We encourage feedback on the Guide’s content, because one of the great features of Clicklaw Wikibooks is that they can be updated so easily. Please send your comments to jfreeman@courthouselibrary.ca

Share

Clicklaw Wikibooks Go Mobile!

Mobile_3Devices
Both the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 run on Android. The iPhone runs on iOS. But you get a similar experience looking at wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca across all devices.

Do you have a smartphone? You can already read the Clicklaw blog in a mobile-friendly format, and our Clicklaw Wikibooks (which have helpful legal info on family law, residential tenancy law, wills and estates, and more) now have a mobile option too. We are working on making the main Clicklaw website mobile-friendly, stay tuned.

Why go mobile? Mobile use is not going away; in fact, it’s increasing every year. Nearly 33% of visitors to Clicklaw and the Clicklaw Wikibooks are on either mobile or tablet. We wanted to make the experience better for you, across all devices.

Here’s what you see when you go to a specific Clicklaw Wikibook:

Mobile_Inside_Wikibook

You still have the option of downloading the Wikibook in PDF, EPUB, or ordering a print copy–right from your phone.

See more features below the cut..

Share