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:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Big Changes to Small Claims

Small Claims under $5001

Last week, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT)–Canada’s first online tribunal–began accepting small claims disputes $5000 and under.

Small claims disputes that the CRT can resolve include a wide variety of issues between individuals and organizations. You can start with the Solution Explorer, the first step in the CRT process, to find information and self-help tools for your issue. You can also apply for dispute resolution right from the Solution Explorer.

If you go through to obtain a CRT order, it may be enforced by filing it in the BC Provincial Court. When you do so, it has the same force and effect as a judgment of the BC Provincial Court.

What about Small Claims over $5000?

The BC Provincial Court now handles Small Claims cases between $5001 and $35,000. The Court has put together a helpful page that goes over the changes, including:

  • types of disputes;
  • what the CRT can and cannot hear;
  • when a claim under $5001 can still be heard by the Provincial Court;
  • when the CRT might refuse a claim;
  • what to do when you are not happy with a CRT decision;
  • special procedures in Vancouver and Richmond; and
  • alternatives to court.

What resources & help are there for Small Claims?

With the help of Judge Ann Rounthwaite (retired), Digital Communications Coordinator for the BC Provincial Court, we have updated Where do I start for information on Small Claims Court?

This page provides a curated collection of helpful basics for all things Small Claims.

It includes a printable PDF handout with:

  • A summary of the resources; and
  • A short bit.ly link so anyone can quickly access the full list of links.

Other Provincial Court resources

The following Common Questions have also been updated:

Access all “Where do I start…?” questions and handouts at: bit.ly/clicklawbcpc

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Changes to Small Claims on June 1st

What is Small Claims Court?

Small Claims Court is a division of BC’s Provincial Court. It is for most disputes about debts or damages involving less than $25,000 (with some exceptions). This limit will be increased to $35,000 in June – see below.

The process is generally simpler and faster than the Supreme Court of BC, and is designed for people to use with or without a lawyer.

Changes coming June 1st

The Civil Resolution Tribunal is Canada’s first online tribunal for resolving strata and small claims disputes.

From June 1, 2017, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will begin resolving small claims disputes up to $5,000. This will be combined with an increase to $35,000 in the BC Provincial Court’s jurisdiction for small claims cases.

This is the first phase of implementing the CRT’s small claims jurisdiction and using the CRT will be mandatory for most claims up to $5,000. See the official announcement from the Ministry of Justice here.

Update from Provincial Court

See this update from BC Provincial Court on the important changes to Small Claims Court. It covers where the Provincial Court will still have a role in claims $5000 or less, after June 1st, what you can do if you are not satisfied with a CRT adjudicator’s decision, and much more.

More about the CRT

From the CRT website:

  • The Civil Resolution Tribunal is Canada’s first online tribunal for resolving strata and small claims disputes.
  • Right now, the CRT is accepting strata property disputes for intake. Soon, it will begin to accept small claims disputes as well. It offers new ways to resolve your legal issues in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • The CRT encourages a collaborative, problem-solving approach to dispute resolution, rather than the traditional courtroom model. The CRT aims to provide timely access to justice, built around your life and your needs. It does this by providing legal information, self-help tools, and dispute resolution services to help solve your problem, as early as possible.
  • You can use the CRT 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from a computer or mobile device that has an internet connection.
  • Your interaction with the other participant and/or the CRT can be done when it is convenient for you.
  • Telephone and mail services will also be available for those who can’t access the internet.

The tribunal has been resolving strata disputes since July 2016, encouraging collaborative agreements and making binding decisions when people cannot agree. Once filed, a Tribunal order has the same force and effect as an order of the Supreme Court of BC.

We’ll be posting more information about the CRT and changes to small claims, as it becomes available. Stay tuned.

Stay informed with the CRT:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Website_30px

2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: November/December

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. This post concludes our 2016 series with a glimpse into some of the changes and updates made in November and December. We plan to continue these updates into 2017.

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


RDSP Helpline
by PLAN Institute

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a Canada-wide registered matched savings plan specific for people with disabilities. This helpline will help answer questions about the RDSP and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) pre-requisite.

Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT): Small Claims Solution Explorer
by Civil Resolution Tribunal

The Solution Explorer is a tool for helping people manage and resolve disputes in BC. It’s now available to beta test for small claims problems. The beta version won’t let you make a claim with the CRT yet. Use it to find free legal information and tools about small claims matters.

Common Question: Can I get a legal order to keep an abuser away from me?

Effective December 5, 2016, the Ministry of Justice will coordinate the service of protection orders under the Family Law Act, when the order is issued without the respondent (i.e. abuser) in court. This is to ensure that the inability to hire a process server does not hinder service. This will be in effect for one year, and may be extended for two additional one-year periods, at the discretion of the Ministry. Read more at the Common Question page.

Common Question: I’ve been turned down for PWD benefits. What can I do?

If the Ministry has turned down your application for the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit, you have the right to appeal. You have 20 business days, from the day you receive the letter telling you that your application has been rejected, to give the Ministry your reconsideration request. You must get the reconsideration request form from a Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation (MSDSI) office. Read more at the Common Question page.

Housing Help Guide
by Justice Education Society of BC

A series of information sheets about legal questions around housing. The help guides includes topics such as: Being a Tenant, Discrimination and Renting, Buying a House, Selling your House and Foreclosure.

MyLawBC: I’ve been served with a court document pathway
by Legal Services Society

This guided pathway will help you figure out what to do next if you’ve been served with (given) court documents in a family law case. It will lead you to the best available resources for your particular situation, including online self-help guides or in-person services.

Guide to the Law of Protests in British Columbia
by McGrady & Company

This guide informs you of your rights when dealing with the police at public demonstrations. It is designed to help you exercise your right to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience, and avoid committing any criminal offence. It is also designed to assist you in the event you are arrested.

Filing Guide: How to file a Transition Application in Societies Online
by BC Registry Services

A step-by-step guide to the Societies Act Transition Application.

Stay informed:

01_Clicklaw_30px01_Twitter_30px01_Linkedin_30px01_Website_30pxFB-f-Logo__blue_29

Online Dispute Resolution in BC: Case Study #2

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3a | Part 3b


Our last Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) case study showcased Consumer Protection BC’s online platform.

CPBC_Logo
Resolve your dispute with Consumer Protection BC’s online platform

We have an update: the platform will be used as an early resolution tool for select BC-licensed debt collection agencies. Their aim is to help consumers who don’t feel comfortable speaking to debt collectors over the phone, and who would rather communicate online.

Visit Consumer Protection BC’s blog page for more info on the debt collection pilot project.

Small Claims BC

We now continue with our ODR series, this time focusing on Small Claims BC.

British Columbians who have disputes where the amount is no more than $25,000 turn to Small Claims Court to find a resolution. However, on average, claims take over a year to reach a judgment.

SmallClaimsBC.ca provides British Columbians with an alternative way to settle disputes without going to court using their ODR platform. Using ODR can help save time and money, which make sense as priorities when you are disputing a smaller amount.

smallclaims3
Click to enlarge infographic

step01

New users to the platform will be asked a series of questions to create an online profile before starting their claim. If you already have an account set up as a “returning user”, you need only enter your credentials to access the dashboard.

Small_Claims_window

Enter your information to complete your online account. This creates a dashboard where your claim(s) can be accessed and managed.

Continue reading »