Legal Programs for Seniors

by Seniors First BC

Seniors First BC Society (Seniors First BC) provides pro-bono legal services to older adults age 55+ who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

We may provide legal services for issues such as:

  • Residential Tenancy/Housing
  • Debt
  • Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • Assisted Living/Residential Care
  • Discrimination
  • Abuse/Neglect
  • Financial Abuse
  • Adult Guardianship
  • Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Representation Agreements

Seniors First BC accepts calls from older adults and people who care about them from anywhere in BC. To speak to a lawyer, contact the Seniors Abuse and Information Line at 604-437-1940 or toll-free 1-866-437-1940 and one of our lawyers may be able to assist.

We also offer free in-person legal consultations for older adults in Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey, Burnaby, North Vancouver and Vancouver once a month. To book an appointment at one of our legal clinics, contact 604-336-5653.

For more information about our legal programs, visit our website.

What we do

Our legal services include:

  • meeting with one of our pro-bono legal staff;
  • receiving summary advice;
  • receiving unbundled services such as drafting of documents;
  • receiving full legal representation; and/or
  • getting connected to other useful resources in the community

What we don’t do

Seniors First BC does not provide assistance in all areas of law. We do not give advice on criminal law or family law matters.

For support and resources for older adults on non-legal matters, such as housing and health, please call the Seniors Abuse and Information Line at 604-437-1940 or toll-free 1-866-437-1940.

Contact us

For more information, including requests to book a legal appointment, please call 604-336-5653 or email info@seniorsfirstbc.ca

Stay Informed with Seniors First BC:

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2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: July/August

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

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


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

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

Online Divorce Assistant Application
by BC Ministry of Attorney General

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

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

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

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

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

Ready to Rent BC

Elder Law Glossary
by Seniors First BC

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

West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL)

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

The Internet of Things
by Get Cyber Safe

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

Reviewed & updated Common Questions

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

Common Questions help narrow down the resources people should start with. Do you get asked the same questions over and over again by your clients? Send your suggestions to editor[@]clicklaw.bc.ca

Stay informed:

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June 2018 Events (BC-wide, Online)

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.

  • June 1 – 5 (various dates): the provincial government presents various events as part of Victims and Survivors of Crime Week in Canal Flats, New Westminster, Victoria, Skidegate, and Old Massett. See more details and contact info for each event here (PDF).
    • Friday, June 1 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Information on services available for victims & survivors of crime – Base Camp Coffee, 4957 Burns Ave., Canal Flats
    • Friday, June 1 Integrated Support for Victims of Sexual Violence Symposium – Justice Institute of British Columbia, 715 McBride Blvd., New
      Westminster
    • Saturday, June 2 (6:35 pm) Domestic Abuse Awareness Project – Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Avenue, Victoria
    • Monday, June 4 (6:00 – 8:30 pm) Transforming the Culture (film & discussion) – Haida Heritage Centre Kay Linagaay Sea Lion Town/Skidegate
    • Tuesday, June 5 (6:00 – 8:30 pm) Transforming the Culture (film & discussion) – Tluu Xaadaa Naay Longhouse, Old Masset
  • June 4 – 6 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC and Access Pro Bono present two webinars for current and prospective volunteers with Access Pro Bono. Advocates and front-line workers are welcomed to join.
  • June 4 – 28 (various dates): the provincial government’s Rental Housing Task Force is hosting public meetings in 10 locations across BC throughout June.

The Task Force invites rental housing providers, renters, housing advocates, and stakeholders to attend a 3-hour facilitated workshop in their community. They are seeking input to identify solutions and ideas for making recommendations to modernize BC’s tenancy laws and policies. Find the location closest to you and register online here.

  • Tuesday, June 5 (9:30 am – 12:30 pm): Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) presents Preventing, Investigating and Responding to Workplace Sexual Harassment at the CLAS office in Vancouver.

This three-hour interactive workshop will help you understand your legal obligations to prevent, investigate and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace. The course is accredited for 3 hours of Continuing Professional Development credit by the Law Society of BC. Workshop fee is $100 per person. If you are a non-profit organization and the fee poses a barrier, please contact us to discuss alternative arrangements. Get more information here (PDF).

  • June 5 – 6 (various dates): Law for Nonprofits presents various workshops in Cranbrook and Vancouver.
    •  Tuesday, June 5 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm MDT) Recordkeeping and Privacy for Non-Profits – College of the Rockies, Cranbrook. Free to non-profit organizations within the West Kootenay/Columbia Basin area. Get more information and register online here.
    • Tuesday, June 5 (1:00 – 3:00 pm MDT) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – College of the Rockies, Cranbrook. Free to non-profit organizations within the West Kootenay/Columbia Basin area.  Get more information and register online here.
    • Wednesday, June 6 (9:30 am – 12:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Wednesday, June 6 (1:30 – 4:00 pm) Employment and Human Rights 101 Workshop – the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
  • June 5 – 13 (various dates): Plan Institute presents information sessions and workshops by phone and in Vancouver.
    • Tuesday, June 5 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: free. Register online here.
    • Thursday, June 7 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Workshop – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: $65.00 per person or $90.00 for two. Register online here.
    • Wednesday, June 13 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
  • June 6 – 7 (various dates): People’s Law School presents two classes on Wills and Estates for the public on the following topics in Burnaby and Port Moody.
  • Tuesday, June 12 (5:00 – 9:00 pm): the Kettle Society presents 2018 Making a Difference Fundraiser at The Permanent, Vancouver.

Come to celebrate The Kettle Society’s inspired mental health work at an evening to benefit our core service programs. Taking place at The Permanent, one of Vancouver’s most stunning heritage spaces, each guest will enjoy a complimentary themed cocktail and delicious food from The Lazy Gourmet. Cocktails and conversation will lead to a performance by The Kettle Choir, and our keynote speaker Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d) speaking on Mental Health and Invisible Wounds. Get your tickets here.

Please join us in our new space at 1720 Grant Street to meet our staff and learn about our programs. RSVP info@scyofbc.org.

Celebrate 20 years of welcome, belonging, and opportunity that is Kinbrace Community Society (1998 – 2018). Get more information and register online here.

Join FIPA staff, board, members, and others in the information and privacy community at FIPA’s 2018 Annual General Meeting. The event will feature a talk by Vincent Gogolek who will be reflecting on his time with BC FIPA. Get more information here. To register, send an email to fipa@fipa.bc.ca with your name, email, phone number, and membership status.

  • Wednesday, June 20 (5:45 – 7:00 pm): YWCA Vancouver presents 2018 AGM & Tuning In: Examining Trends on Millennials, Masculinity and Gender Equality at  UBC Robson Square, Vancouver.

Please join us for YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Annual General Meeting. We are excited to welcome Shachi Kurl, Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, to deliver a keynote that will examine trends on millennials, masculinity and gender equality. Get more information and register online here.

  • Friday, June 29 (12:30 – 2:00 pm): Disability Alliance BC presents Snack & Chat: Filing Income Taxes – Tips and Benefits at #204 – 456 West Broadway, Vancouver.

Come to DABC’s 3rd Snack and Chat, and learn about income tax filing and the benefits of filing your income taxes. To register, please contact Val at 604-875-0188 or feedback@disabilityalliancebc.org. Lunch will be provided. Get more information here.

Stay informed:

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2017 Bi-Monthly Update Series: November/December

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

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


Legal Services Society

  • Gladue Submission Guide
    This new, plain language booklet for Aboriginal peoples explains how to prepare a Gladue submission to help the judge decide bail or sentencing. Includes a Gladue factors checklist and a worksheet to help Aboriginal peoples, lawyers, and Native courtworkers gather information needed to prepare a submission.
  • Your Gladue Rights
    This revised booklet explains Gladue rights, rights under the Criminal Code that apply to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal. Gladue rights can apply at bail and sentencing hearings.
  • Sponsorship Breakdown
    This updated booklet is for permanent residents who need help when the person sponsoring them in Canada is no longer supporting them.

Provincial Court of BC

  • CFCSA flowchart (Child Protection Matters)
    Chart shows possible stages and orders in child protection proceedings under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, with notes – statute sections are hyperlinked to the Act.
  • Criminal Case Flowchart
    Stages in a Criminal Case: These notes provide more information about criminal procedure – the procedures set out in the Criminal Code of Canada to be followed in criminal cases.
  • BC Provincial Court Common Questions
    General information about the Provincial Court and the BC justice system.

Disability Alliance BC Help Sheets Update

The following help sheets on BC’s disability benefits have been updated:

Small Claims Trial Preparation Clinic
by Seniors First BC

Are you a senior representing yourself in a Small Claims Court proceeding? Call 604-336-5653 to find out more about this Trial Preparation Clinic. A lawyer will call you back to assess if the clinic is able to assist.

Mothers Without Status
by YWCA Vancouver

This updated booklet is for service providers assisting “mothers without status”. It now has new content on MCFD and has been updated for immigration and Family Law Act changes.

Financing Litigation Legal Research Project
by British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI)

The paper reviews six financing models to pay for litigation: unbundled legal services, third-party litigation funding, alternative fee arrangements, crowdfunding, legal expense insurance, and publicly funded litigation funds. It also discusses 18 ideas on how to enhance the use of each model.

Operating in Darkness: BC’s Mental Health Act Detention System
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Mental health detentions in BC have increased dramatically over the last ten years. This report reveals several disturbing practices and points to a number of deep flaws in the BC Mental Health Act that do not comply with the rights guaranteed by the Charter and international human rights law.

2017 CEDAW Report Card
by West Coast LEAF

The annual CEDAW Report Card grades BC’s compliance with United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). BC’s record of action and inaction in the past year is assessed in nine key areas impacting the rights of women and girls.

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project

Charterpedia
by the Government of Canada

Charterpedia provides legal info about the Charter and contains information about the purpose of each section of the Charter, the analysis or test developed through case law in respect of the section, and any particular considerations related to it. Each Charterpedia entry cites relevant case law.

Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

Stay informed:

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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:

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July 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.

Join the BC Civil Liberties Association for the Canada 150 Fireworks! Celebrate the BCCLA’s work to restore citizenship equality with a spectacular view— from the Gastown rooftop patio of our hosts artist Franke James and Billiam James! The party starts at 9:00pm and goes until after the fireworks display. This party celebrates three years of work fighting to repeal the changes made by Bill C-24, and restore citizenship equality for every Canadian, regardless of where they or their families were born. Registration for this event is now closed. If you’d like to attend, email charlotte@bccla.org

  • July 5-26 (various dates): Nidus logo_niduspresents online webinars on Personal Planning

Wednesday, July 5 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Live Demo of the Personal Planning Registry. Register Online.

Wednesday, July 26 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Financial & Legal Matters. Register Online.

Presented by: BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and Courthouse Libraries BC

Have you ever filed an FOI request that is met with bureaucratic obstacles, outrageous fee estimates, or documents with blanked-out pages? Do you want to file an FOI request, but are unsure about the best way to get the documents you want? This skills training workshop will provide newcomers to FOI with practical skills to prepare and submit information requests that get results, and to navigate some common challenges that can arise as requests are processed.

Through this interactive webinar, you will be able to actively engage with the workshop facilitator, so regardless of your experience filing FOI requests, this will be an invaluable opportunity to learn new skills and how to file requests strategically to avoid redactions, exemptions, missing pages that are “out of scope,” and keep fees at a minimum.

Join us to find out how to get beyond government messaging and PR spin and find out how public bodies really treat issues you care about.

  • Wednesday, July 12 (3pm-4:30pm): Seniors Program – Tea, Talk and Crumpets (PWD, OAS, CPP) in Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews), Vancouver. A new social and recreational outlet for seniors with disabilities. This is a peer-run program with a volunteer board planning activities. The speaker is Laurette Yelle, who will be discussing Persons with Disabilities information and the transition to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

RSVP to Dan Chalcraft community@bccerebralpalsy.com or 604 408 9484. Light refreshments provided.

  • Thursday, July 20 (10:45am-12pm): Seniors First BC presents an Elder Abuse Workshop in Cantonese held in Killarney Community Centre (6260 Killarney Street), Vancouver. Elder Abuse: What Is It? How Do We Deal With It?

Stay informed:

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