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:


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.


Stay informed with Access Pro Bono:

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LSLAP 2016 Summer Program Update

By Law Students’ Legal Advice Program


We are able to run 13 clinics this summer with a wide range of locations, days and times. You may call for appointments at (604) 822-5791.

Free legal advice for low-income people in Metro Vancouver, run by UBC Allard Law students

Please call (604) 684-1628 to set up a Chinese language appointment at our Chinatown clinic. We have clinics operating Monday – Friday with times starting as early as 9am and ending as late as 9pm. Our full list of locations can be found on the HelpMap here and is as follows:

  • North Shore;
  • Burnaby;
  • Robson Square;
  • Coquitlam;
  • New Westminster;
  • UBC;
  • Trout Lake;
  • Surrey Gateway;
  • South Van;
  • Chinatown;
  • Richmond;
  • Carnegie; and
  • Surrey PICS.

We are fortunate enough to have earned the funding for two clinicians at Surrey PICS, UBC and Coquitlam. Overall we were able to hire 18 full time clinicians this summer. Every clinic site also has between 2 and 4 volunteer clinicians assigned to that location. We are confident that this summer will be busy but manageable due to funding, teamwork and the number of eager new summer clinicians.


The Student executive for 2016:

Executive Director – Emma Wilson

Operations Director – Isaac Won

Publications Director – Alexei Paish

Director at Large – Jon Del Castillo

Public Relations Director – Alisyn Burns


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LSLAP Summer Program Update

Free legal advice for low-income people in Metro Vancouver

by Emma Wilson
Peter A. Allard School of Law J.D. Candidate

LSLAP is re-opening its summer program as of today. We have begun booking clients for appointments at our clinics in Surrey, Richmond, Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, North Vancouver and New Westminster. See our service listing on the Clicklaw HelpMap for clinic locations, hours, language support availability, and contact information (This listing will be updated in the coming weeks).

LSLAP provides free legal advice and representation (where appropriate) to low-income earning members of the public living in the lower mainland.

We are happy to take on cases for people dealing with issues including but not limited to:

  • Employment Insurance claims
  • Tenant-side Residential Tenancy issues
  • Human Rights Tribunal proceedings
  • Immigration Review Board
  • Employment Law (ESB and small claims court)
  • Workers Compensation Board
  • Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Pension claims
  • Summary proceedings in criminal court

For a list of the kind of services we can provide, as well as the areas of law in which we cannot assist, please refer to our previous blog post or our website. To book a clinic with LSLAP, please call our switchboard at 604-822-5791.

Intro to LSLAP – a Clicklaw Contributor

Free legal advice for low-income people in Metro Vancouver

By Emma Wilson
Peter A. Allard School of Law J.D. Candidate

Are you familiar with LSLAP? Maybe you’ve seen some of our students in court, or maybe you know someone who has used our legal services. The Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) is a student-run non-profit society dedicated to providing legal advice and representation to low-income people in the Metro Vancouver area.

LSLAP was started in 1969 by a small group of law students at the University of British Columbia. In 1978, we incorporated as the Greater Vancouver Law Students’ Legal Advice Society. We now have an independent Board of Directors and two paid supervising lawyers, but for the most part, LSLAP is still student-run and student-driven.

It can be very difficult for low-income earners to afford a lawyer, and even more difficult to represent themselves in a legal proceeding. LSLAP exists in order to bridge the gap between the services offered by publicly-funded legal aid and the many legal matters in which low-income people find themselves unrepresented.

We are happy to take on cases for people dealing with issues including but not limited to:

  • Employment Insurance claims
  • Tenant-side Residential Tenancy issues
  • Human Rights Tribunal proceedings
  • Immigration Review Board
  • Employment Law (ESB and small claims court)
  • Workers Compensation Board
  • Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Pension claims
  • Summary proceedings in criminal court

But wait, there’s more!