Apr. 2017 Events – Online & 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.

A community-driven event about how we can achieve women’s equality in BC. Join the Single Mothers’ Alliance BC for an all-candidates debate and keynote speakers on women’s rights in BC. Ahead of the May 9 provincial general election, learn about BC political party platforms on gender equality and discuss the issues that matter to you in community roundtables. The event will end with a networking reception for all attendees.

The BC Society Act, which provides the rules for governance and incorporation of non-profits, officially proclaimed important changes on November 28, 2016. There will be a two year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to make the switch to the new Act. This workshop will provide the information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition when the new Act is proclaimed.

Tickets are $50, or free for workshops in the Kootenays (Kaslo & Revelstoke) due to the funding and support of Columbia Basin Trust.

  • April 3-27 (Various Dates): People’s Law School presents numerous events (some in collaboration with Mediate BC) on the following topics in Burnaby, Cranbrook, Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver:

Wills & Estates, MyLawBC (guided pathways), Strata Law, Restorative Justice (in collaboration with Mediate BC), Scams, Employment Law, Civil Litigation, Power of Attorney, Investment Frauds, & Effective Enquiries (in collaboration with Mediate BC)

Register here.

  • April 5 & 8 (Various Dates): BCCLA has a couple of events going on this month:logo_bccla

April 5 (7:00pm) Justice for Hassan Diab – Mr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer Don Bayne and Hasan Alam of Critical Muslim Voices speak about the 8 year nightmare of Hassan Diab. At the Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch, Combined Peter and Alma Room, 350 W. Georgia St, Vancouver, BC. RSVP required.

April 8 (2:00-4:00pm) Equal Citizenship: No More Second-Class Citizens! Join us for a discussion featuring the BC Civil Liberties Association’s Executive Director, Josh Paterson, to talk about citizenship equality and your rights as a Canadian citizen. At the Welsh Hall East, West Vancouver Memorial Library (1950 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, BC). RSVP here.

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

Wednesday, April 12 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Health and Personal Care. Register Online.

Wednesday, April 12 (1:00-2:30pm) In-Person Presentation: Planning for incapacity and end-of-life. No Registration required. At South Granville Seniors Centre, 1420 West 12th Avenue (between Granville & Hemlock) in Vancouver. Held in lounge on 3rd floor.

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

Do you have questions for the Chief Judge? About his career and experience as a Provincial Court Judge and as the Chief Judge of the Court? About his leadership and the Court’s many initiatives? About judicial appointments, judicial education, reducing delays, changes to Small Claims Court or …? Tweet your questions using #AskChiefJudge on or before April 6, 2017. “He’ll tweet you back between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Please note that the Chief Judge can’t discuss individual cases or political issues. Not available on April 6? Tweet questions to #AskChiefJudge any time before April 6!

Join the conversation with Hugh Segal, Former Senator to discuss a Guaranteed Income for people with disabilities. Free Admission – everyone welcome. Reception at 6:30pm, light refreshments will be served.

Register at: http://ow.ly/FhtG309N9Jl or call 604.299.7851

Watch as students present their App creations from LAWF 3780 – Apps for Access to Justice, and vote for your favourite! OM 3772 or http://livestream.com/tru/law

We’ll be live-streaming this event at the Vancouver Courthouse Library, 3rd floor, 800 Smithe Street, and at our Kamloops Courthouse Library, 455 Columbia Street, Room 314. Let the front desk know when you walk into the library that you’re here to watch the Battle of the Apps. If you have any questions, email training@courthouselibrary.ca.

A number of important changes to disability assistance benefits have been introduced in recent years which affect persons with disabilities (PWD) applicants and recipients including the introduction of an Annualized Earnings Exemption (AEE), several new categories of income exemptions (including gifts), and a significant asset limit increase. In this one hour webinar offered jointly by POVNet, Disability
Alliance BC and Courthouse Libraries BC, Sam Turcotte & Annette Murray of Disability Alliance BC will summarize the most important recent changes and examine how they benefit people receiving or applying for PWD benefits as well as some of the challenges and misconceptions that have arisen as a result.

Register Online.

Stay informed:

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Organization of the Month | March 2017

A conversation with Raji

Raji Mangat is the Director of Litigation at West Coast LEAF. Besides being incredibly accomplished, she has a strong passion for justice — we talked about how she works towards a more equal society as part of the West Coast LEAF team:

Hi Raji, could you tell me a bit more about what your work involves?

My position as the Director of Litigation is a relatively new lawyer position in our office. I oversee and make decisions about what equality cases we’re going to be involved in and in what capacity. We do lots of work through committees and consultation to have different perspectives represented. We don’t want to impose based on our experiences. I spend one day a week over at Rise Women’s Legal Centre as the liaison lawyer – I work with the staff and students to identify systemic issues that are impeding women in areas of child protection and family law. I really like that part of the job; West Coast LEAF’s expertise is in systemic issues while Rise has individual clients. My position is a bridge between the two organizations. If we can identify the issues that these women are facing, that are ripe for challenge, we can potentially help even more women.

I get to see the law develop to be more inclusive and reflective of people’s diverse experiences.

I was drawn to this work because of the subject matter. I enjoy the work, sometimes in a purely legal geeky way — it’s really on the cutting edge of constitutional law and human rights. I get to see the law develop to be more inclusive and reflective of people’s diverse experiences. I hope we’re doing a good job of working for women from all walks of life who are experiencing barriers to participating equally in our society. Also, we do a ton of law reform work (letters and submissions to government, getting meetings with high level decision makers to influence policy before it becomes law) as tools for systemic change, and litigation comes in where things have gotten to the point where they must be addressed after the fact. We also work in education — to work towards what comes next, what attitudes prevail.

It sounds like you cover the whole spectrum — preventative, predictive and proactive — which would also be ideal in health care!

Yes, I think so much change can happen through reform, so that people don’t have to go through a terrible experience so we have something to challenge. If we can work on how our policy makers are making laws — what they are relying on. Are they making evidence-based decisions, or what will be politically expedient, or based on what stereotypes they’re holding in their minds. It can definitely result in lasting change. I mean, legal challenges are long and expensive and we know that we can have a law struck down and something else legislated that isn’t much of an improvement. I think that is part of also drew me to West Coast LEAF — a holistic view of how change happens.

What has surprised you the most about your work?

We put a lot of thought and energy in what and how we are doing the work — if the process doesn’t include organizations and people who have historically been left out of these processes, the outcome will reflect that exclusion. I really like how thoughtful we are, and how much energy we put into listening and reflecting in the perspectives of diverse women. It makes the work more challenging but also so much richer. This work has been [incredibly] collaborative.

If the process doesn’t include organizations and people who have historically been left out of these processes, the outcome will reflect that exclusion.

Do you have an early memory with your organization that’s stuck with you?

Really shortly after I started, we were invited to Ottawa to make submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice. They wanted submissions from us on the Court Challenges Program that the government was looking to reinstate – and that they subsequently have reinstated. We are happy to see the program return because it provides an opportunity for organizations like us to apply for funding to bring challenges to government laws under the Charter. It’s a really intriguing thing because no other country has anything [quite like it]. It’s unique – the government funding a program that allows us to [challenge their laws]. I had a chance to go with Kasari (our Executive Director) and make submissions.

That same week, there was also a Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) judgment being released that West Coast LEAF was intervening in. I knew it well because I had worked on before starting my job at West Coast LEAF. I had to jump right in and roll up my sleeves – it was great to see out of the gate, some of the different ways that we do our work. It stuck with me because I didn’t even have a desk at the office yet and already I was immersed in our work.

That’s pretty amazing. What are you most excited about now? What makes you worry, and why?

I’m excited that we have experienced growth in our legal capacity by adding another lawyer. It also means it increases our ability to coordinate our tools to have education, law reform and litigation programming in tandem. We have increased capacity to bring litigation — being the ones filing the Notice of Claim — along with intervening in cases that others have brought.

And, it’s not a worry, but it is rather more of a challenge, but I wonder about how to get people in the media particularly, but people generally to communicate about inequality. People feel really uncomfortable with addressing inequality in society and there might be some reticence to report on how life circumstances will create different opportunities and barriers.

People feel really uncomfortable with addressing inequality in society and there might be some reticence to report on how life circumstances will create different opportunities and barriers.

I didn’t anticipate [the reluctance] and was a bit surprised about it. The Lloyd case, for example — about mandatory minimums — often, people would wonder why we were interested in a case about a Mr. Lloyd. Well, mandatory minimums for certain drug offences carry implications for women who mostly have more low level drug mule jobs within drug trafficking enterprises. It’s easier to scoop lower level traffickers, and long terms of imprisonment impacts women in particular ways, especially if they’re mothers, or indigenous women. Getting people to see past that — to get into some of the nuance of what the equality issues are and how they can play a role in how vulnerable people are experiencing the law — I guess I worry about how to do that better.

I hope that’s something you can find the answer to.

You’ll be my first call if I do!

Last question: if you could wave a magic wand and make one wish come true, what would it be, and why?

I’d wish that my coworkers and I would all be out of a job (laughs). But seriously, if there wasn’t a need for West Coast LEAF, meaning substantive equality and inclusion wasn’t just a vision, but a reality, if we were able to see the value of everyone being able to achieve their full potential in a way that didn’t feel threatening to others — that would be my one wish.


What we’re working on

West Coast LEAF challenges gender-based inequalities in these areas (and more):

We defend the human rights of incarcerated and criminalized women. As an intervenor in an historic case challenging the practice of solitary confinement in Canada’s prison system, we will be speaking out in court about how solitary creates particular harms for Indigenous women, women with mental illness, and women who are survivors of violence and trauma.

We stand up for women’s right to parent their children and keep their families together. For example, in our recent law reform report High Stakes, we highlighted how the lack of access to affordable, high-quality childcare can increase the risk of child apprehension and create needless barriers to placing children in the care of loving family members.  

We fight for women’s right to health care and reproductive choice. As an intervenor in the case about Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, West Coast LEAF has made a strong statement that law schools must not restrict the constitutionally-protected abortion rights of their employees and students, and must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, or family status.

We push for access to legal help for all women who need it. Less than a year ago, West Coast LEAF partnered with UBC’s Allard School of Law to launch a low-cost family law legal clinic for self-identified women, Rise Women’s Legal Centre. Given the crisis in legal aid in BC – and particularly cuts to family law legal aid that have disproportionately impacted women – we just couldn’t wait any longer for a public policy change to address the critical gap in services. Rise, now an autonomous organization, provided urgently needed legal help to 175 women in its first 5 months.

We challenge systems that exacerbate economic inequalities facing women – particularly those women who experience multiple layers of discrimination. For example, West Coast LEAF has been outspoken in criticizing the double-standard created by the way ‘spouse’ and ‘dependent’ are defined in social assistance legislation, which results in unfair denials of income assistance and disability benefits. We called for changes to social assistance law that would support women’s financial independence, self-determination in relationships, and ability to flee abusers.

We fight for women and girls to be free from violence. For example, West Coast LEAF was part of a coalition of organizations that intervened in the inquiry into the victim-blaming conduct of Justice Robin Camp while he presided over a sexual assault trial, which resulted in a recommendation that he be removed from the bench. (Earlier this month, Justice Camp announced his resignation!) To challenge the sexist stereotypes and rape myths that were reflected in Justice Camp’s behaviour, West Coast LEAF also believes in creating a cultural shift by educating the next generation. For more than 15 years, we have been delivering our peer-led No Means No youth workshop to youth in grades 5 to 9. This interactive workshop informs young people of their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to sexual assault and consent and challenges them to interrupt the culture of violence against women and girls. We also engage youth in critical reflection about what violence looks like online and what the law says about our lives on the Internet through our TrendShift program. We are proud that we can now offer our youth workshops in Kamloops and Nanaimo in addition to Metro Vancouver!


Who we are

West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) is the first and only organization in BC dedicated to using the law as a tool for advancing the equality rights of women and girls. For more than 30 years, we’ve been using multiple strategies to challenge gender-based inequalities:

  • Intervening in legal cases where equality rights are at stake, and more recently initiating test case litigation to promote equality rights;
  • Shaping laws and policies to better meet the needs of diverse women and girls;
  • Offering public education about legal rights and responsibilities through a social justice lens.

Our vision is a society free of gender-based barriers to health, safety, justice, economic security, and other basic human rights. West Coast LEAF is committed to a model of feminism that includes transgender and intersex people and defends their right to be free from sex and gender discrimination. We strive to realize a vision of equality—substantive equality—that honours the differences among people and recognizes the need for these differences to be factored into laws, policies, and social practices.

Our office is located in Vancouver on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the x?m??kw?y??m (Musqueam), Skwxwu?7mesh (Squamish), Stó:l? and S?l?i?lw?ta?/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Stay informed with West Coast LEAF:

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Mar. 2017 Events – (Online, Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver)

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.

Wednesday, March 1 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Live Demo of the Personal Planning Registry

Wednesday, March 8 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Health and Personal Care

Wednesday, March 22 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Financial and Legal Matters

  • March 2-April 27 (Wed & Thurs): Little Mountain Neighbourhood House at 3981 Main Street, Vancouver presents Free Income Tax Clinics

These clinics are offered to low income immigrants, students and seniors. You may be eligible if you have a simple tax situation and meet the suggested family income level. Your 2016 income was less than $30,000/individual or $40,000/couple. See poster for details. Please make appointment with Kim or Andrew by calling 604-879-7104.

Celebrate West Coast LEAF and International Women’s Day at the best event this side of noon!

Keynote speaker: Dr. Cindy Blackstock is Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and a professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University. A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights.

Get tickets online. Sales end March 7.

  • March 6-13 (Various Dates): People’s Law School 1004presents the following events in Burnaby and Vancouver:

Monday, March 6 (1:00-2:30pm) Richmond Public Library – 7700 Minoru Gate: Power of Attorney (Cantonese) – Contact 604-231-6413 or click here to register.

Monday, March 6 (7:00-8:30pm) Burnaby Public Library – 4595 Albert Street: Wills & Estates – Contact 604-299-8955 or click here to register.

Monday, March 6 (7:00-8:30pm) Burnaby Public Library – 6100 Willingdon Ave: Criminal Law – Steps Involved in a Criminal Case – Contact 604-436-5400 or click here to register.

Wednesday, March 8 (7:00-8:30pm) Burnaby Public Library – 7311 Kingsway: Bullying Between Older Adults in Social Spaces – Contact 604-522-3971 or click here to register.

Monday, March 13 (1:00-2:30pm) Richmond Public Library – 7700 Minoru Gate: Last Will and Testament (Cantonese) – Contact 604-231-6413 or click here to register.

The BC Society Act, which provides the rules for governance and incorporation of non-profits, officially proclaimed important changes on November 28, 2016. There will be a two year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to make the switch to the new Act. This workshop will provide the information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition when the new Act is proclaimed.

Register Online. Tickets are $50.

  • Tuesday, March 21 (6:00-8:00pm): At the Downtown Vancouver Public Library (Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms), join a public forum on Making a Plan for Justice.

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism – Join us for a public forum about access to BC’s justice system and the importance of public legal education. Speakers include: Kasari Govender, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF / Aleem Bharmal, Executive Director, Community Legal Assistance Society / Rick Craig, Executive Director, Justice Education Society / Lynda Hydamaka, Self-Represented Litigant in Provincial Family Court / Bill Veenstra, Vice-President, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch.

Free Event. Light refreshments provided. Reserve your seats at mable.elmore.mla@leg.bc.ca or 604.775.1033.

The urgency of Canada’s Access to Justice crisis – where more than half of family litigants and around one third of civil litigants now come to court without a lawyer – is attracting growing attention with the justice system. But is A2J is an issue that the public cares deeply about? Surely, if the public were really concerned about A2J, we would hear campaigning politicians talking about it?

Drawing on data from the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, Julie Macfarlane will argue that we under-estimate the importance of A2J to growing numbers of people, and especially those both directly and indirectly affected by the self-represented litigant phenomenon. What will it take for this experience to be directly reflected in our political discourse?

Free to attend. No registration required.

Passed in 2010, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is developed to help Canadian individuals, businesses and organizations deal with spam and other electronic threats. CASL limits online commercial messages and prohibits unwanted downloads of programs. All Canadian organizations must comply with the Act, including nonprofits, charities, and libraries. On March 22nd, Maanit Zemel, Principal and Founder of MTZ Law (www.casllaw.ca), will walk nonprofits through the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) for Non-Profits and Charities, and the next deadline for CASL that will come into effect on July 1st, 2017.

Register Online.

Stay informed:

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Oct. 2016 – Events (Richmond, Vancouver, Burnaby, online)

 

 

 

 

  • cubdy5cwaaa1z79Hear the PovNet story at the Vancouver launch of Storming the Digital Divide, Monday, October 177pm – 9:30pm. Our Town Cafe, 245 E. Broadway (@ Kingsway) The cafe and washroom are wheelchair accessible.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

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Rise Women’s Legal Centre: Changing the Legal Landscape

Note: To keep up to date on the latest news from Rise Women’s Legal Centre, please follow their website here or their Clicklaw HelpMap service listing. Services are subject to change.

By Ana Mihajlovic
Student Advisor, Rise Women’s Legal Centre

After over a decade of research, work, and planning, Rise Women’s Legal Centre has officially opened its doors to the public. Rise welcomes all self-identified women who are experiencing family law issues, and who: cannot afford legal counsel, may not qualify for legal aid, or whose legal aid hours have run out. Rise is Vancouver-based but accepts calls from clients throughout BC*.

WHAT WE DO

WLC Staff (2)
Standing (l to r): Candice Minnaar, Floriana Costea, Ana Mihajlovic, Miryam Burns Seated: Vandana Sood, Kim Hawkins, Raji Mangat

As a legal centre, Rise offers a multitude of services for women facing family law issues.

At Rise, you can:

  • meet with a student advisor;
  • receive summary advice;
  • receive unbundled services such as drafting of documents for your legal proceeding;
  • receive full legal representation in Provincial Court;
  • get connected to other useful resources in the community; and
  • use our library and computer at our Self-Help Centre to do your own research in a safe space.

WHAT WE DON’T DO

As law students, student advisors cannot appear in Supreme Court, which means we cannot represent you in proceedings at the Supreme Court level. However, we may still be able to help with other steps along the way, such as preparing court forms and documents, and preparation for hearings.

Although our services are restricted to the legal realm, if you seek support in other areas such as counselling, job search, housing, to name a few, we can connect you with right resources.

Presently, Rise will only handle family law issues but will be expanding its services in the future to include other areas of the law.

ABOUT RISE

Rise has been formed through a partnership between West Coast LEAF and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, and with the support of private donors.  Our clinic is staffed by: a dedicated group of senior year law students from Allard Law, our knowledgeable and experienced supervising lawyers, and our wonderful office manager. We recognize the serious gap in funding for family law disputes, which has resulted in the growing population of self-represented litigants in these cases. Self-representation can sometimes lead to very negative outcomes and the overall experience can be scary, isolating, and generally unpleasant. We are here to help.

Student advisors are in their final year of law school, and working at Rise adds an experiential learning component to these students’ academic careers. Aside from completing the Family Law course at the law school, all students have also undergone a two-week orientation and training program led by experienced family law lawyers, advocates, and professionals within the legal community. Additionally, students will be researching and preparing a seminar paper on a chosen topic in relation to the work done at the Centre. As one of the student advisors here at Rise, I have enjoyed my time so far and am looking forward to the busy summer ahead!

*Rise is able to conduct some interviews over the phone for remote clients to give summary advice. However, for full services (going to trial in Provincial Court as counsel), we may be restricted to courts in the Lower Mainland. For example, in one instance where a client from Kelowna needed help with trial preparation (for her Kelowna court appearance) my colleague was able to provide her unbundled services by giving her advice over the phone and email, but leaving court appearances to the client herself.

CONTACT US

To connect with us, please give us a call at 604-451-7447 or email us at info@womenslegalcentre.ca.

As the inaugural class at Rise, we are honoured to be the first to partake in this amazing project. We look forward to using our legal skills and knowledge to do work that is meaningful and purpose-driven, and we are excited to welcome you to our Centre!


STAY INFORMED WITH RISE WOMEN’S LEGAL CENTRE:

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Free Webinar Training for Advocates – Women and Law – Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities

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Understanding the recent changes to family law in BC and their impacts on parenting experiences is a critical role for advocates working with women fleeing abuse.

That’s why Courthouse Libraries BC and West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) are offering a free 1.5 hour webinar aimed at frontline service providers who assist women survivors of violence–including transition house workers, settlement workers, sexual assault support workers, counsellors, and others. Lawyers who work primarily in areas other than family law may also find the webinar useful, as may family law practitioners seeking a feminist anti-violence lens on legal issues they encounter regularly. The webinar will touch on common legal challenges such as parenting assessment reports, denial of parenting time, relocating with a child, and the overlap between family law and child protection matters, as well as strategies to cope with these issues. The discussion will be grounded in an analysis of diverse women’s experiences navigating the family law system after leaving an abusive relationship.

West Coast LEAF’s education manager Alana Prochuk will co-present the webinar with expert guest Zara Suleman. Zara practices family law and fertility law; she is also a certified family law mediator and collaborative law practitioner.  Zara has worked as an independent legal researcher and consultant and was also the Director of the Family Law Project for West Coast LEAF.  She has been actively involved in presenting, writing and editing public legal education materials on family law issues. Prior to law school Zara was a frontline community advocate for over a decade.

We invite you to join our free 1.5 hour webinar on Monday June 27th from noon to 1:30 pm Pacific Time.

Space in the webinar is limited to 100 people. Please register here today!

This webinar is funded generously by the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Courthouse Libraries is a non-profit organization in BC helping lawyers and the community find and use legal information. You can contact them at 1-800-665-2570 or email the training coordinator at training@courthouselibrary.ca.

West Coast LEAF is BC’s first and only organization dedicated to advancing women’s equality through the law. West Coast LEAF has been working since 1985 to end discrimination against women through equality rights litigation, law reform, and public legal education. To learn more about West Coast LEAF’s public legal education programming, including this webinar, please contact Alana Prochuk at 604-684-8772 extension 117 or education@westcoastleaf.org.

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Free webinar on legal issues facing older women survivors of violence in British Columbia

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“Roads to Safety” will launch on May 24th to coincide with Part 1 of the webinar, and all participants will receive the link to download the PDF. It will also be available via Clicklaw.

By West Coast LEAF

Elder abuse and violence against women aren’t separate issues, and we believe that they must not be separate conversations. That’s why West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are offering a free webinar for front-line service providers to explore the legal challenges that are most likely to impact older women in BC who have experienced violence.

If you support or advocate for older women in BC, we invite you to join our free two-part webinar on Tuesday May 24th and Tuesday May 31st from noon to 1 pm Pacific Time. We will introduce our new 90-page plain language legal handbook for older women fleeing violence, called Roads to Safety, and offer an overview of some of the legal topics it covers:

TUESDAY MAY 24th – PART 1

• Decision-making rights and capacity, including for women with dementia and mental health diagnoses
• Substitute decision-makers and the abuse of decision-making authority
• Protection orders and peace bonds
• Options to assist older women who are facing abuse and cannot take action to protect themselves

TUESDAY MAY 31st – PART 2

• Public pensions
• Basics of property division after separation or divorce, including pension division
• Steps to protect assets in cases of financial abuse

Each session will be framed by discussion of the insights that 450 older women shared with us in nine different languages as part of the Older Women’s Dialogue Project. Throughout the webinar, we’ll maintain a focus on the gendered dynamics of violence against older adults. We aim to prompt reflection about how legal challenges in the aftermath of abuse can vary based not only on age and gender, but also based on ability, citizenship status, Indigenous identity, language, access to financial resources, and more.

We hope you will come away with greater confidence in talking to older women in BC about their legal rights and options in the context of abuse.

This webinar is part of the Older Women’s Legal Education Project, a collaboration between West Coast LEAF and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. Funding has been generously provided by the BC Council to Reduce Elder Abuse.
Space in the webinar is limited to 100 people. Please register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1678353196952104195

Questions? We would love to hear from you! Please contact Alana Prochuk at education@westcoastleaf.org or 604-684-8772 extension 117.

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Legal Resources for Youth

Do you work with children and youth? Here are some interesting services and programs from our Clicklaw contributors that you may not know about:

Bookable Court Tours, Mock Trials & School Workshops

mock_trials_JES_youthJustice Education Society runs a Justice Education Program that provides bookable court tours in various locations across BC and also facilitates youth mock trials: JES helps coordinate about 70 youth mock trials each year, performed by youth ranging from Grade 5 to Law 12 students. Younger participants will use scenarios from popular book series (e.g. Harry Potter), while Law 12 students will perform actual case re-enactments. To read more about how to book a court tour or mock trial, click here.

DCC_frontThe Downtown Community Court (DCC) in Vancouver’s DTES, which opened in 2008, is a partnership between the BC Provincial Court, the Ministry of Justice, and social and health service agencies. Its goal is to reduce crime, improve public safety, and provide integrated justice, health and social services to offenders in a timely manner, while holding them accountable for their actions. DCC offers tours to the general public, school groups and even international visitors, who come to learn about the DCC model. The tour lasts for about 1.5 hours during which the guide will introduce: how the DCC got started, who generally attends at the DCC, a typical day in court, and what integrated programs are connected with the court. Tours are provided on Tuesday and Thursday or by special arrangement. To organize a tour, contact communitycourt@gov.bc.ca.

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People’s Law School runs the Justice Theatre program, delivered throughout the province of BC: a troupe of professional actors perform dramatizations of criminal trials at elementary and secondary schools and to community groups. Each show is designed for participatory engagement. Attendees are encouraged to be part of the jury, to debate the issues and to vote on the overall outcome of the case. Topics can range from: Bullying and the Internet, Bullying and Violence, Stanley Cup Riot, Gang Violence, and Shoplifting. For more information on Justice Theatre, please contact: Rob McAninch 604-331-5400

wcleaf_trendshiftWest Coast LEAF offers workshops for students in Grades 8-12, in Kamloops, Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland. The workshops can be delivered in schools or community groups. The goals of the workshops are to: open a space for discussion with young people about the ways the Internet is used in our lives, and to clear up myths about what the law in BC says about online behaviour. The workshop is 2.5 hours in length and can be offered over 1-3 sessions. Read more about the TrendShift workshops here.

CPABC-logo2Cerebral Palsy Association of BC operates a number of programs for youth with disabilities, including: a Youth Without Limits Support Group – a peer-to-peer support group for people with disabilities – youth and young adults between the ages of 13-29, facilitated by people with disabilities. Youth Without Limits is held in downtown Vancouver. The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC also operates the Navigator for Youth Transitioning to Adult Services, which helps connect youth with the services they need through our specialized information and referral resource. The Navigator service is available for youth aged 14 to 25, their parents and members of their Transition Support Teams. To access this service, call the CPABC office at 604-408-9484, or email Jeanne@bccerebralpalsy.com.

Online Resources

  • Explore the “Children & teens” section of the Clicklaw site to find common questions and resources on: young people and criminal law, parental separation, rights of children & teens, and protecting children.
  • The HelpMap features multiple services that provide help with legal issues related to children & teens here.
  • The Law Foundation of BC and the Representative for Children and Youth have compiled a list of resources and services for children and youth; many of these resources can also be accessed through Clicklaw.
  • Justice Education Society has just soft-launched a new service for youth legal_rights_youth_jes
    at LegalRightsForYouth.ca. What’s new: a virtual assistant to help youth understand basic legal concepts and find the right information. Every weekday from 11am to 2pm, youth can chat live (with LSLAP students) to get answers to their legal questions. During offline hours, youth can ask questions and get answers back by email. Topics include: Working, Renting, Driving, Debt, etc.

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Pink Shirt Day – Resources & Events on Bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day across Canada, a day that raises awareness about bullying. Pink Shirt Day has its beginnings in Nova Scotia, started by two high school students in support of their classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

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In honour of Pink Shirt Day, we are listing key resources and events that educate people on different issues related to bullying:

Bookable Events

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TrendShift: a public dialogue/workshop on cyber misogyny, free and open to the public

by West Coast LEAF

When? Thursday, February 25, 5:30-7pm at TRU, Kamloops, BC.

What? This free interactive workshop will open up a dialogue about how inequality, discrimination and violence play out on the internet and what Canadian law has to say about our rights and responsibilities online.

TrendShift workshops are available for booking in Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Greater Vancouver. These workshops are for students in Grades 8-12 and was developed as part of our Cyber Misogyny Project. Its goals are to open up spaces for dialogue with youth about their rights and responsibilities online, to think about what violence and discrimination look like in online spaces, and to clear up myths about the laws that apply to their lives online. More info on the length of the workshops, and who you can contact for more information available online here.

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The Justice Theatre Troupe

Justice Theatre

by People’s Law School

The Justice Theatre troupe consists of seven professional actors who stage scripted hour-long dramatizations of criminal trials on topics affecting students in elementary and secondary schools throughout the school year in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Justice Theatre is delivered throughout the province of BC.

The one-hour performances address current topics affecting young people and communities-at-large. Frequently requested topics include: Bullying and the Internet, and Bullying and Violence. Schools and community groups should contact Rob McAninch, Justice Theatre director, to find out when the troupe will be in their community or to book a special event.

Online Resources

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What can you do about cyberbullying?

This common question gives you good starting points to learn more about cyberbullying and what you can do to stop it. It includes CBA BC’s resource, Stalking, Criminal Harassment and Cyberbullying, and West Coast LEAF’s resource, “Is that legal?” – a CyberMisogyny Legal Guide, which explains Canadian law about issues of online harassment, exploitation and abuse.

 

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Bullying and Harassment: a workplace problem
by People’s Law School

This video resource describes bullying and harassment in the workplace and what can you do if you experience it.

 

BC Human Rights Clinic
Bullying Law in BC
by BC Human Rights Clinic (CLAS)

This resource reviews protection from bullying at work, personal harassment, and includes a more in-depth resource on Bullying and Harassment in Human Rights Law, which gives tips on what managers can do to maintain a harassment-free workplace environment.

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