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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Organization of the Month | February 2017

Introduction to the RSTP

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) supports groups interested in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program, through which Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents can engage in the resettlement of refugees.

RSTP works with many different types of sponsoring groups: Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) and their Constituent Groups (CGs), Groups of Five, and Community Sponsors across Canada (excluding Quebec).

The increase in interest in the PSR program and involvement from the public in the resettlement of Syrian refugees that Canada has witnessed since September 2015 dramatically increased demand for RSTP services. With additional funding support, RSTP has been able to expand its staff and programs to assist sponsors across the country. For the first time, RSTP placed Trainers in Vancouver and Halifax to provide more intensive regional support.

What do we do?

RSTP addresses information and ongoing training needs of private sponsorship groups (PSGs), and the initial information needs of sponsored refugees.

RSTP provides training to sponsorship groups via:

  • Webinar presentations
  • Workshops
  • Information sessions
  • Training manuals and guides
  • Online-based training courses

RSTP keeps sponsors informed about policy updates via:

  • Information sessions
  • E-mail distribution lists
  • the RSTP Website (rstp.ca)

RSTP assists sponsors with their case-specific questions by:

RSTP in Western Canada

The RSTP Trainer in Vancouver, BC works closely with PSGs in Alberta and British Columbia. RSTP’s activities in Western Canada include:

Workshops and Training Sessions

RSTP offers trainings and workshops to ensure that PSGs understand the requirements of the program and the level of commitment needed, assist them with preparing application packages and guide them through the sponsorship process. RSTP emphasizes post-arrival issues that private sponsors may encounter and make sure that they receive the necessary assistance with providing settlement support to sponsored refugees.

Support with case-specific inquiries

RSTP responds to e-mail and telephone inquiries from sponsorship groups in Alberta and BC requesting: assistance with completing application forms, clarification of eligibility requirements, obtaining application updates, and seeking support with finding necessary settlement resources.

Updates and Information Sharing

RSTP keeps abreast of policy developments and changes, including provincial initiatives in BC and AB, and informs sponsorship groups via an e-mail distribution list.

Networking and Outreach

RSTP takes part in community events, networking meetings, roundtable discussions, and other events that focus on refugee protection and resettlement issues.

When and how can I contact RSTP?

Please do not hesitate to contact RSTP if you:

  • Are interested in learning more about Private Refugee Sponsorship program;
  • Would like assistance with completing application forms;
  • Have a case-specific question related to a refugee individual/family whom your group is sponsoring;
  • Would like to get connected to a settlement service provider organization;
  • Have questions about preparing for the long-term and ending sponsorship period; and/or
  • Would like to learn about upcoming workshops, webinars, and other training events offered to private sponsorship groups.

RSTP is funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and administered by Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS).

RSTP office in Ontario:

55 Town Centre Court, Suite 401 Toronto, ON M1P 4X4 Canada
E-mail: info@rstp.ca
Tel: 416.290.1700; Toll-free: 1.877.290.1701

RSTP Trainer in Western Canada:

Tel: 604.254.9626 ext. 517

 

 

Stay informed with RSTP:

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Nov. 2016 – Events (Province-wide, and online)

Bookmark this post! It will be updated as more events are announced for November. You can also get frequent updates via our Twitter account.

  • website-ppm-banner-2016-1024x315November is Personal Planning Month. Nidus is putting on a series of events throughout BC. Curious about the difference between Personal Planning and Estate Planning? See this common question. Here is a breakdown of the events:
    1. In-person presentations in Vancouver and Burnaby.
    2. Webinars on personal planning viewable anywhere.
      • Courthouse Libraries BC is helping to host two of these webinars directed at intermediaries (community workers, librarians) on Medical Assistance in Dying (Oct. 25 – tomorrow!) and Personal Planning tools (Nov. 10) – register here.
    3. Public Libraries hosting group viewings of select webinars:
      • Capilano, Lynn Valley, Parkgate (North Vancouver)
      • Grand Forks & District
      • Kitimat
      • Trail & District
      • Williams Lake
      • Hazelton
      • Lillooet

 

  • Thursday, November 3 (6:30-9:30pm): BC FIPA is turning 25 and holding a celebratory soiree at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver.

Their “goal for the future is to better engage and educate the public about the importance of freedom of information and protection of privacy. By attending our Celebratory Soiree, you’ll help pave the way.” Show your support, and enjoy an evening of food, drinks and live entertainment! Register for tickets here.

  • Friday, November 4 (5:00-7:30pm): Attend a Panel Discussion on The Fate of Women, Marginalized Refugees and Asylum Seekers at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBCubc_liunov2016 (Vancouver campus). The UBC Opera Ensemble, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC Community Engagement, the Faculty of Arts, the Peter A. Allard School of Law, Green College, St. John’s College, Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC), and other partners have come together to host the program. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #RefugeeUBC. Register here.
    • Moderator: Efrat Arbel, Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law
    • Panelists:
      Malcom Atia, aspiring actor, arrived in Canada as a refugee from Uganda
      Fadi Yachoua, Syrian refugee lawyer
      Kerstin Walter, Director, Settlement Orientation Services
      Chris Morrissey, Rainbow Refugee Committee

 

  • Monday, November 14 (12:30-2pm): If you are involved with a pre-existing society, you have likely heard about the Societies Act transition that will affect 27,000 lfnp_clbcsuch societies in B.C. Register for this free webinar hosted by Law For Non-Profits and Courthouse Libraries BC.

Martha Rans will provide useful information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition.

  • November 16-23 (Various Dates): BCCLA is hosting and co-hosting a number of workshops and conferences in November on everything from Charter litigation to Media Democracylogo_bccla
    (free), and a Youth and Civil Liberties Conference for students! See more info on how to register here.

 

  • November 19-26 is Conflict Resolution Week! Invite a Mediate BC mediator to your workplace or organizational office during the week of Nov. 19th-26th to host a free Learn@Lunch!conflictresolutionweek2016 You provide the lunch, they provide the presenter! Email training@mediatebc.com for more information. Other in-person events include:
    • Monday, November 21 (12:00-1:00pm): Learn @ Lunch series with People’s Law School in Vancouver. Join mediator and collaborative game developer Sharon Sutherland in an exploration of the ways in which playing (and creating) tabletop games can improve individual and group skills in collaborative problem solving!
    • There are more free and paid events on Mediation, including conflict resolution for Small Business. See all events here.

 

  • Tuesday, November 22 (7:00-8:30pm): Emily’s Choice: A Child Protection Story screening at VPL in Vancouver. Come to Vancouver Public Library emilyschoice(Central Branch) for a screening of Emily’s Choice: A Child Protection Story. Afterwards, there will be a panel discussion about the child protection process and the challenges of preserving the welfare and safety of children in our communities.
    • Developed by Legal Services Society and the Healthy Aboriginal Network, Emily’s Choice is a graphic novel and video that use story and imagery to tell the story of Emily and her son, Greg. Emily is struggling with addiction and an unhealthy relationship. She loves her son, Greg, but can’t always take care of him. When Greg goes into foster care, Emily gets legal help and the support of her family to get Greg back.

     

  • Monday, November 28 (6:00-8:00pm): National Self-Represented-Litigants Support Network meets in Vancouver. The group offers free support for individuals going through the difficult experience of representing themselves in family or civil court. Held at the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre at 2772 East Broadway, Vancouver. Free Parking available. RSVP to NSSN.vancouver@gmail.com.
  • Stay informed:

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Introducing Kinbrace – Refugee Housing & Support

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Kinbrace Community Society is one of our newest Clicklaw Core Contributor Organizations.

What does Kinbrace do?

Kinbrace, a Vancouver-based non-profit charity, assists people arriving in Canada seeking refugee protection.

They facilitate the often nerve-wracking transition by providing help with housing, integration, well-being, and access to refugee protection. The Kinbrace residence hosts 12-15 residents at a time, and residents receive the support of Kinbrace staff, interns and volunteers.

Resources for refugee claimants & service providers

Kinbrace has offered workshops to educate service providers and refugee claimants alike on Canada’s refugee protection system.

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This guide has been recently updated and is available in 6 languages for BC.

Kinbrace also publishes the (recently updated) Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide for several regions, available in six languages for BC: English, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Farsi/Persian, French, and Spanish.

The guide is clear, friendly and straightforward with: information on gathering and submitting evidence, legal issues to consider, checklists, explanations of terminology and answers to frequently asked questions. It directs readers through the refugee hearing process timeline. It is invaluable not only for refugee claimants but for support workers who can use the guide in their work.

They also offer the amazing READY Tours program.

What are READY Tours?

Refugee claimants are given the unique opportunity to see the inside of a refugee hearing room at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. A staff member of the Refugee Protection Division (IRB-RPD) provides information and answers questions.

What’s a READY Tour like?

Thanks to Fran Gallo, READY Coordinator at Kinbrace, I had the opportunity to observe a READY Tour in early October at the IRB, located right next to the VPL Central Branch in Downtown Vancouver.

what-is-READY

Refugee claimants, volunteer translators and Fran meet at the second-floor lounge of the building where Fran quickly makes sure everyone is equipped with the Guide, a pamphlet from the Red Cross, and a “test sheet” to see what attendees know about the process before, then what they’ve learned after the tour. Fran gathers information about the claimants’ hearing dates, whether they have a lawyer (maybe for the hearing only), and if the individual is applying alone or with others (family).

The tour proceeds upstairs with a staff person of the IRB-RPD–for our tour today, we get the Registrar. She tells us that she will answer questions only about the hearing, not the appeal. She speaks slowly so that the interpreters have time to translate: Check in at the glass window. Come 30 minutes before your hearing – witnesses and observers too. This is the hearing room. Someone will make sure all parties are present and direct you to the appropriate room. You can step out during breaks.

The room itself is about 15×15 feet. We’re full up as the tour has about 20 people in attendance. The Registrar explains that they are an independent administrative tribunal, separate from CIC and the CBSA. The Refugee Protection Division makes decisions on who needs protection – this is all in the Guide. She cannot give advice or specifics. There are requirements and limitation dates, people who may or may not be present at the hearing from heavily acronymed organizations: the CBSA or CIC, the UNHCR, legal issues that must be focused on (identity, credibility, state protection).

The process can appear daunting. However, most attendees report learning helpful information about what they should prepare and being more relaxed for their hearing. It’s easy to see why the READY tours are so valuable. The tours began in 2008 as a collaborative initiative between Kinbrace, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the IRB-RPD. Thousands of refugee claimants and service providers have since participated in the experience.

Find out more about the READY Tours here.

Stay informed:

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Invite for Newcomer Youth from Across Canada

2015 Youth Action Gathering Conference – Vancouver. B.C. – Oct. 3 & 4

The Canadian Council for Refugees, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation’s Fresh Voices Initiative and MOSAIC, invite newcomer youth from across Canada to participate in the 2015 Youth Action Gathering Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The gathering brings together young immigrant and refugee leaders to learn, share, network and collaborate on actions towards common challenges and experiences of newcomer youth communities.

It is also an engaging weekend of leadership and skills building, developing peer relationships and FUN!

WHO Should Participate?

Everyone is welcome to apply; however, space is limited and priority will be given to:

  • Racialized* immigrant and refugee youth
  • Those who can make a commitment to attend the full event
  • Immigrant & refugee youth from across Canada, aged 16 to 25 years
  • Youth settlement workers and allies

*We recognize that race is a social construct, people as “racialized immigrant person” or “racialized people” are immigrants who also belong to a “racial minority”, “visible minority”, or are seen as “people of colour” or “non-White” (adjusted from OHRC).

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Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants

kinbrace-refugeehearingpreparationKinbrace is a community-based organization that provides refugees with housing and support. They’ve recently updated their guide, Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants. This resource is now available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified) and Arabic.

“I went through the Guide again and again before my refugee hearing. The step-by-step instructions, timeline, and recommendations were so useful for me. It’s friendly and relieved my stress.”
— Ioann, Convention Refugee in Canada

The guide can be used to:

  • learn key refugee legal issues
  • track your refugee claim on the right timeline
  • learn strategies to help prepare for your refugee hearing
  • complete the hearing preparation checklist
  • get answers to frequently asked questions
  • find legal and community resources in Metro Vancouver

The guide, updated in 2014, now includes more detail. Fran from Kinbrace describes it as “…interactive. Claimants can track the fast paced timelines that are in place under the new refugee claim process with their own due dates, take note of the evidence that they have on each issue and use the checklists for submitting the refugee application form and for submitting evidence to the Immigration and Refugee Board.”

This guide and other resources for refugees in BC can be found through the Clicklaw website.

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