Revitalization of Indigenous law at the ILRU

by an ILRU Master’s Student at UVic Faculty of Law

What is the ILRU?

The Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU), housed in UVic’s Faculty of Law, is the only research unit dedicated to the restatement and revitalization of Indigenous law in Canada.

ILRU partners with Indigenous communities, at their request, to articulate their own legal principles and processes, on their own terms, in order to effectively respond to today’s complex challenges. ILRU also works to deepen broader engagement with Indigenous law through the delivery of workshops and development of academic and public legal education resources.

Personal Significance

As a recent graduate from UVic law and now master’s student, this work is significant to me because all of ILRU’s works starts from the position that Indigenous laws are real, are alive, and are capable of being known and publicly applied. Although it is hard to imagine for some, it was not that long ago that Indigenous people could not even hire a lawyer let alone research and promulgate their own laws and traditions.

Roots in Truth and Reconciliation

ILRU has helped stoke the fires of the legal traditions it has worked with since it emerged in 2012 from a national partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the Indigenous Bar Association. The first ILRU project had a significant impact on the TRC’s Calls to Action and was so ground-breaking that Indigenous communities began to contact the ILRU directly to request partnerships to research their own laws. Since that time, ILRU has partnered with Indigenous communities on a wide breadth of legal issues and questions. Currently, ILRU is engaged in nine projects ranging from creating Indigenous law curriculum for use in law schools to work that is aimed at examining the principles and processes in an Anishinaabe legal tradition that relate to community governance.

The Joint Degree Program – Juris Indigenarum Doctor (JID) & Juris Doctor (JD)

The JID/JD dual degree is truly groundbreaking. Similar to the position taken by ILRU, the program begins from the understanding that Indigenous laws are real, knowable, and can be critically examined and worked with by both insiders and outsiders. This program is a double degree that will, throughout the four-year program, instruct students on the complete content of a Canadian common law degree and aspects of various Indigenous legal traditions for the purpose of increasing the students’ capacity to work with and within these legal traditions.

Field Schools

One of the most exciting components about the JID/JD program is the field course that students will undertake during their third and fourth years and comprise the entirety of their course load during the semester. During these terms students will, under the close supervision of academic supervisors and community knowledge keepers, learn about a particular Indigenous community’s legal traditions by observing the ways in which their legal processes are applied today. The field schools will also have students work with the specific community on law-related projects. The purpose of these terms is to imbue students with the skills necessary to understand the institutions, sources of law, forms of reasoning, legal principles and procedures within those People’s law(s).

Walking the Walk

The first field course, “C?ELA?N?ENE?*: A Field Course in the Re-emergence of W?SA?NEC? Law Fall 2018” will be offered in Fall 2018 and taught by John Borrows and Rob Clifford. The significance of having the focus of the first field course be W?SA?NEC? law merits specific mention here. The work of reconciliation and revitalization is something that falls on the shoulders of every Canadian citizen and institution. Often times the work can seem overwhelming, too abstract, or any other myriad of sensations as it asks Canadians to grapple with hard truths about our past and present. I ask readers to draw inspiration from what is being undertaken at University of Victoria when dealing with such struggles and look to those closest to you. I am grateful to be a part of an institution that, while understanding the need to be attentive to national and global issues, begins by working with those who have and continue to be directly impacted by the University’s physical presence upon their territories.

*Words may not render properly in RSS and WordPress. Please see the link for the correct rendering.

Stay Informed with the ILRU:

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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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Visualizing Data for Legal Advocacy

by Peter Kim, Communications & Digital Engagement Manager, Pivot Legal Society

Pivot Legal Society’s mission is to target and remove systemic barriers to justice for communities affected by poverty and social exclusion. We do this through strategic litigation, advocacy, and public education and outreach to empower those affected by homelessness, police violence, people engaged in sex work, and individuals who use substances.

Winning the court of public opinion

As a legal advocacy organization, our most pressing battles to advance the rights of disenfranchised communities are fought in the courtrooms of law; but in today’s digital age, where the flow of information is never-ending, we strive for change in the court of public opinion as well. We do this through our use of data as a powerful visual tool to convey meaning in an accessible manner.

Making sense of data using interactive infographics

Our four campaign areas—sex work, drug policy, homelessness, and police accountability—are richly supported by data sets and research that remains, in large part, inaccessible from mainstream consumption. Pivot translates this information into a meaningful form to enhance its communications campaigns: interactive infographics.

Click on the image to view the interactive infograph
Click on the image to view the interactive infograph

We use data to tell a story, be it the dire urgency of the current overdose epidemic or ways in which police enforcement interferes with public health efforts. Interactive infographics deliver meaning instantly. Where a paragraph of words struggles to convey its message in minutes, a graph or chart can effortlessly deliver meaning within seconds.

 

Click on the image to view the interactive infographic
Click on the image to view the interactive infographic

This is significant because of the way in which people consume information in the social media age. Words alone often fail to register because of shortened attention spans and a propensity to rapidly scroll on our smartphones. We have become an audience spoiled by choice and quantity. Infographics are that visual aid to capture the interest of the easily distracted and draw them in.

 

Click on the image to interact with the graph on Pivot Legal Society's website
Click on the image to interact with the graph on Pivot Legal Society’s website

Increasing online engagement

We have seen a measurable impact in the way our visuals have engaged our online audience. This blog post on the scale of British Columbia’s overdose crisis and harm reduction efforts had an average “time on page” value of 6:38 seconds—an eternity by online standards.

Plotting a harm reduction map

Click on a location to learn more about the site. Zoom in and out to get a better view.

Pivot has created one of the first harm reduction maps of its kind in Canada, plotting the locations of all Health Canada-approved supervised consumption sites and many of the country’s overdose prevention sites. The content has received over 30,000 impressions so far and has been shared with other health service providers.

Using interactive infographics as a tool for legal advocacy

The innovative yet disruptive forces of the internet are forcing industries to evolve. The news media and brick and mortar retail are two such examples where adaptation isn’t an option, but rather an imperative for survival.

To a lesser degree, how we communicate and engage our community of supporters and the public more generally must also adapt to compete in the marketplace of information, already a crowded space where the strength of content alone isn’t enough. Interactive infographics are just one tool we use to give us the edge and help us achieve our strategic objectives to improve the lives of Canada’s most marginalized people.

Stay Informed with Pivot Legal Society:

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2018 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


Courthouse Libraries BC

New extended hours for Kamloops, Nanaimo, New Westminster locations: Monday to Friday, from 8:30-12:00 pm, 12:30-4:00 pm.

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

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

Disability Alliance BC

The following resources have been updated:

The help sheets and videos from the series “How I Need to Know” are now available on Clicklaw. The publications provide information for people with disabilities who are victims of crime. See the listings here (sorted in alphabetical order).

Legal Services Society

New and updated publications:

New languages other than English are now available for the following publications:

Parents Legal Centre

The Parents Legal Centre (PLC) provides a lawyer and an advocate to help parents in select locations settle their child protection matters early on and collaboratively (everyone works together). Locations: Surrey and Vancouver.

Nidus

Pivot Legal Society

One of our new contributor organizations have made their resources available on Clicklaw:

Is That Legal? (CyberMisogyny Legal Guide)
by West Coast LEAF

Understanding Canadian law on issues of online harassment, exploitation, & abuse. Now available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified & traditional), Punjabi, and Spanish. Co-published with Legal Services Society.

Strata Property Law—Phase Two
by British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI)

This project is intended to make recommendations to reform the Strata Property Act, in seven identified areas, to help in the development of the next generation of strata-property law in British Columbia.

Environmental Law Centre UVic

Their work on legal issues affecting the environment in BC have been recently added to Clicklaw. See the full listings here and some of their most recent reports below.

Landlord Registry™
by LandlordBC

A program for landlords & building/property managers in BC. For $39 plus tax, enrollees receive access to the e-learning tool I Rent It Right™ and a 3 year access to the online tool kit. This program provides them with fundamental education & best practises in regard to the Residential Tenancy Act.

Property Assessment Appeal Board – Online Dispute Resolution
by the Property Assessment Appeal Board of BC

This new service is available for you to appeal the property assessment of your residential properties. It allows you to have the option to resolve your appeal completely online.

An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods
by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

This study describes the results of a survey of family law lawyers and their views of the use of collaborative processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation in family law disputes.

Stay informed:

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May 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.

BCCLA members and friends are invited to hear highlights of the BCCLA’s work over the past year, as well as our key priorities into the months ahead. We will also attend to usual AGM business and announce our newly elected Board of Directors. Registration required. Get more information and register online here.

  • Thursday, May 3 (12:00 – 1:00 pm): Courthouse Libraries BC presents the webinar Legal Aid Services for Indigenous People.

This webinar is aimed primarily at frontline staff working in community organizations and public libraries throughout BC. Our goal is to help you be better able to support Indigenous clients facing legal issues by knowing about the services and resources available in your communities.

Our presenter, Rhaea Bailey, is the Legal Services Society Manager of Indigenous Services. She will provide an overview of the organization, the work they do, and how, when and where to access their services. Get more information and register online here.

  • May 3 – 10 (various dates): People’s Law School presents free classes on the legal issues of everyday living in Port Moody and Burnaby.
    • Thursday, May 3 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Strata Homeowner Survival Guide – Port Moody Library. Register in person at the library, or by calling 604-469-4577. Get more information here.
    • Thursday, May 10 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Wills and Estates – Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch. Register in person at the library, or by calling 604-299-8955. Get more information here.
  • May 3 – 22 (various dates): Plan Institute presents events by phone and in Vancouver:
    • Thursday, May 3 (7:00 – 9:00 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.
    • Tuesday, May 22 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
  • May 10 – 16 (various dates): Law for Nonprofits presents various workshops in Creston, Nakusp, Golden, Invermere, Kaslo, and Vancouver.
    • Thursday, May 10 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop – College of the Rockies – Creston campus. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Wednesday, May 16 (9:30 am – 12:00 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.
    • Wednesday, May 16 (1:30 pm – 4:00 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop –  the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, May 17 (1:00 – 3:00 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop – Selkirk College, Nakusp. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, May 24 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop – Golden. Free if your organization is registered with the East Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, May 24 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop – Invermere. Free if your organization is registered with the East Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Wednesday, May 30 (1:00 – 3:00 pm) Societies Act Transition Workshop – Selkirk College, Kaslo. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.

Stay informed:

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Organization of the Month | April 2018

This month, we feature Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, a Clicklaw contributor.

CBABC is the provincial division of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA). The CBA is a professional, voluntary organization representing 38,000 lawyers, judges, Quebec notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada. More than 6,700 are members of the BC Branch. CBABC operates the Dial-A-Law service.

Law Week 2018 is fast approaching and the Canadian Bar Association’s BC Branch is looking forward to celebrating the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms during the week of April 16-22, 2018.

Originated by the Canadian Bar Association and first held in Canada in 1983, Law Week provides an excellent opportunity for the legal profession to educate the public about the vital role that lawyers and the judiciary serve in guaranteeing an open, independent and unbiased judicial system.

Law Week events are held in communities throughout British Columbia during the month of April and into May this year and are made possible through the efforts of lawyers who donate thousands of hours of volunteer time across Canada.

2018 Events include: courthouse tours, free public law classes, Dial-A-Lawyer Day, The Barry Sullivan Law Cup, Meet the Chiefs student forum, and Judges in the Classroom.

Dial-A-Lawyer Day is an annual event and an integral part of Law Week in BC. British Columbians are invited to speak with a lawyer for up to 15 minutes at no cost about the following areas of law: Business, Employment, Family, Immigration, Tort & Motor Vehicle, and Wills & Estates. Last year, a staggering 325 calls were answered by a group of 20 volunteer lawyers who provided the public with this very valuable service.

Law Week is a collaborative project organized through the partnership of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Law Society of British Columbia, the Vancouver Bar Association, and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC.

To find out more information about Law Week and how you can participate, visit the Law Week website.

Follow and participate on Twitter: @BCLawWeek  #BCLawWeek

In other news…

Earlier this year, CBABC announced the launch of the new BC Legal Directory. After 30 years in print, the publication is now a purely online experience optimized for mobile devices and fully accessible to the public for the first time.

The BC Legal Directory is the most comprehensive listing of BC lawyers, including private practice, corporate counsel and government lawyers. The directory also includes the judiciary, paralegals, notaries and law-related groups such as law schools and local bar associations. Lawyer profiles are searchable by name, location, languages spoken and areas of practice. The directory offers more robust profiles and wider exposure for legal professionals, along with the capacity to update a profile at any time.

Stay informed with CBABC:

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April 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.

  • April 4 – 20 (various dates): Law for Nonprofits presents various workshops in Creston, Slocan Valley, Nelson, and Vancouver.
    •  Wednesday, April 4 (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, April 4 (1:30 – 4:00 pm) Privacy 101 – the Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. The fee is $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • Thursday, April 12 (2:00 – 4:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know –  College of the Rockies – Creston campus. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Saturday, April 14 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – CVFD Fire Hall, Crescent Valley. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
    • Friday, April 20 (2:00 – 4:00 pm) The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – Selkirk College, Nelson. Free if your organization is registered with the West Kootenay Transition Hub. Get more information and register online here.
  • April 4 – 10 (various dates): Plan Institute presents information sessions and workshops by phone and in Vancouver:
    • Wednesday, April 4 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – teleseminar by phone/computer. Cost: free. Register online here.
    • Thursday, April 5 (7:00 – 9:00 pm) OR Thursday, April 19 (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.
    • Tuesday, April 10 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – Plan Institute Office, Suite 260 – 3665 Kingsway, Vancouver. Cost: free. Register online here.
  • April 5 – 25 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC hosts free webinars on various topics.
    • Thursday, April 5 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) Canada Pension Plan Disability Application and Reconsideration – for legal advocates, presented by Disability Alliance BC. Register online here.
    • Thursday, April 12 (10:00 – 11:00 am) Financial 1st Aid for Service Providers – for legal advocates and intermediaries, presented by Credit Counselling Society. Register online here.
    • Wednesday, April 25 (12:00 – 1:30 pm) Working with Indigenous Clients: Understanding the Historic and Current Contexts that Affect Your Work – for lawyers and legal advocates, presented by Lynda Gray, author of First Nations 101. Register online here.
  • April 8 – 21 (various dates): the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch presents various events as part of BC Law Week 2018 by phone and across the province.
    • April 8 – 14 Make-a-Will Week
    • April 14 – 21 Regional Events in BC courthouses – Nanaimo, Kamloops, Victoria, Kelowna.
    • April 16 – 20 Vancouver Courthouse Tours
    • Saturday, April 21 (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) Dial-A-Lawyer Day event by phone. Everyone in BC is invited to speak with a lawyer for FREE for up to 15 minutes about the following areas of law: business, employment, family, immigration, tort & motor vehicle, wills & estates. Download the poster (PDF) for more information.

For a list of all classes, locations, and contact info, visit BC Law Week 2018 website. Topics include strata law, employment law, wills & estates, personal planning, accidents & injuries, and mediation. Get more information on each class here.

  • Friday, April 13 (1:00 – 2:30 pm): Peter A. Allard School of Law presents Indigenous Legal Studies Book Talk: Otter’s Journey at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Join the Indigenous Legal Studies for their inaugural book talk series. In Otter’s Journey, Lindsay Borrows employs the Anishinabee tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Get more information here (PDF).

Stay informed:

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Have your say on governance issues for strata corporations

by Kevin Zakreski, staff lawyer, BCLI

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) is asking you for your views on proposals to change the law governing B.C.’s strata corporations. With its Consultation Paper on Governance Issues for Stratas, BCLI has made 83 tentative recommendations to reform the Strata Property Act, the Strata Property Regulation, and the standard bylaws applicable to strata corporations. You can comment on these tentative recommendations until 15 June 2018.

About strata-corporation governance

Governance is the method or system of an organization’s management. Good governance helps an organization to make timely, effective, and enforceable decisions. Laws on governance are intended to foster these goals.

The popular conception of decision-making in property law emphasizes the sovereignty of individual owners. It’s reflected in the saying, “my home, my castle.” This does not work for strata properties. Giving every owner a veto over every decision would make it next to impossible for the collective to manage common property and to ensure harmonious living.

So strata governance has been based on the corporate model. It provides for majority rule on most decisions, with some important, far-reaching decisions calling for greater-than-majority support.

The consultation paper doesn’t take issue with this basic premise of strata governance. But it does propose a significant level of fine-tuning in selected areas, to improve the operation of the law.

An overview of the consultation paper’s tentative recommendations

Highlights from the paper’s proposals include:

  • relocating 11 bylaws (or parts of a bylaw) from the Schedule of Standard Bylaws to the body of the Strata Property Act, to give stratas certainty that those provisions can’t be amended;
  • establishing a defined form of proxy appointment for strata-corporation general meetings, to clarify the relationship between the proxy and the person appointing the proxy and help to stamp out abuses of the proxy system;
  • establishing statutory qualifications for strata-council members, modelled on the qualifications for directors found in the Societies Act, which will set the minimum standards for serving on a strata council;
  • clarifying the order of agenda items for strata-corporation general meetings, to allow for better meeting procedure; and
  • creating a special four-year limitation period for claims that may be subject to the strata corporation’s lien under section 116 of the act, which will help stratas in enforcing their claims.

The consultation paper also considered, but declined to endorse, the following proposals:

  • extending the strata corporation’s lien to cover fines and charge backs;
  • limiting the number of proxy appointments for a general meeting that one person may hold.

How to have your say

Copies of the consultation paper are available for download at the BCLI website. Also on the BCLI website are links to interactive surveys maintained by BCLI and a response booklet, which may be completed and sent to <strata@bcli.org>. Finally, for those who prefer a more focussed experience, a summary consultation paper featuring three highlighted proposals is also available for download.

About the Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two

Since 2013, BCLI has been at work on the Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two. The goal of the project is to recommend changes to the law necessary to support the next generation of strata-property legislation in British Columbia.

In carrying out the project, BCLI has the benefit of assistance from an expert project committee, with 13 leaders drawn from the ranks of the legal, notarial, real-estate, and strata-management professions, public officials, and owners’ organizations.

The project is supported by nine funding organizations.

Stay Informed with BCLI:

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Organization of the Month | March 2018

For women leaving abusive relationships, the complication of dealing with the power and control issues of a violent spouse makes navigating the legal system more difficult. Some women give up and stay with their abuser because it is easier than leaving. Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) supports women leaving abusive relationships, through legal advice, representation and advocacy.

Introducing Harshada

Harshada Deshpande – Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy at BWSS

In her new position of Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy at BWSS, Harshada Deshpande is responsible for the management of the Legal Services and Advocacy Program (LSAP) team. She is also working on a number of on-going and new systemic advocacy projects and strategic interventions, such as the submission for the National Inquiry and the MCFD Advocacy Clinics (more on this below). Harshada co-authored (along with Executive Director Angela Marie MacDougall and Manager of Direct Services, Rosa Elena Arteaga) the BWSS Open Letter to Justice Minister David Eby regarding the Provincial Court Family Rules Project.

Editor’s note: Thank you for providing us with this update on BWSS’ latest services, Harshada!

> Legal Services and Advocacy Program (LSAP)

Approximately 80% of the women who access our services do not have legal representation because they are ineligible for government-funded legal aid and cannot afford a private lawyer.

We provide legal information and legal advice in the areas of family law, child protection, and immigration law.

Our services also include: providing court accompaniments, document drafting, and support with preparation for court hearings and case conferences for unrepresented women.

We will take on full representation files based on: the current case load, availability of time, the number of law students volunteering at BWSS, and the complexity of legal issues involved. BWSS will also consider if the following applies:

  • the woman has been denied legal representation by Legal Services Society;
  • the woman has appealed the Legal Services Society’s decision of denial and the appeal was unsuccessful;
  • there are multiple barriers that prevent the woman from self-representation, including language, disability, complexity of legal issues, gender orientation, and impact of trauma;
  • the abuser is using the court system as way to intimidate or harass or to continue any form of violence;
  • the inability to privately retain a lawyer, such as financial difficulties; and
  • the legal issue is either a family law, child protection or immigration law

Call 604-687-1867 or 604-687-1868 ext. 307 to apply.

> Legal Advocacy Workshops

BWSS supports women leaving abusive relationships, through legal advice, representation and advocacy.

Who & What: For women who have or are experiencing violence in their relationships and require legal support with the resulting family law issues. Lawyers from the community with experience in family law will facilitate all workshops.

When: Every Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – June 6, 2018, from 10am – 12pm

Where: at the BWSS office – call 604-687-1867 for location

> Family Law Clinic

BWSS provides summary legal advice clinics in family law every month with volunteer lawyers from the community. These clinics are able to offer necessary summary legal advice to women on a continuous basis while they are unrepresented in the family law system.

Call 604-687-1867 for the clinic schedule.

> Court Forms Preparation Clinic

In partnership with the Amici Curiae Paralegal Program, BWSS provides assistance to unrepresented women with drafting Supreme Court forms in family law proceedings, including affidavits, desk order divorce applications, and financial statements.

When: Third Wednesday of every month, from 5:45-7:45pm

Where: Call 604-687-1868 ext. 307 for location and appointments

> The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

BWSS has been standing in solidarity with Indigenous women across Turtle Island in calling for a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada since before British Columbia’s Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry (MWCI). On top of running a crisis line and offering legal, advocacy and counselling services, we are actively involved in a coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls formulated out of the failure of both group and family participation in the MWCI. Our efforts working in western Canada and northwest British Columbia through an initiative called Women’s Leadership and Training brought together Indigenous women to organize local responses to violence toward. We are an active long-time member of the February 14th Women’s Memorial March committee to honour Indigenous women who have lost their lives to violence in downtown eastside Vancouver.

In August 2017, BWSS was successful in obtaining Standing to make submission in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A team of dedicated and passionate women from BWSS, led by the Indigenous Women’s Program, in collaboration with the Legal Services and Advocacy Program, are currently in the process of drafting the written submissions in order to give a voice to the countless Indigenous women and girls who have accessed our services and continue to be invisible in the justice system.

> *Upcoming* MCFD Advocacy Clinics

BWSS is proud to be one of the first organizations in the province of BC to provide advocacy workshops to women who have involvement with the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD). BWSS’ Indigenous Women’s Program, in collaboration with the Legal Services and Advocacy Program, will be providing monthly clinics to women who have an open file with the MCFD. Staff and volunteers will provide women with short-term support, legal advocacy, court and MCFD meeting accompaniments, and strategic advocacy to support women in keeping themselves and their children safe. Watch this space for updates on the dates of these clinics!

Stay informed with BWSS:

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2018 Bi-Monthly Update Series: January/February

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

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


Disability Alliance BC

The following help sheets have been updated in January:

Legal Services Society

MOSAIC

  • Legal Advocacy Program
    The program provides information, summary advice, referrals and legal representation to low-income immigrants and refugees. We help newcomers navigate the Canadian legal system, ensuring that they are informed of their legal rights and responsibilities.
  • Legal Clinic for Temporary Foreign Workers
    Pro Bono lawyers are available to provide a 30 minute free legal consultation on issues related to temporary foreign workers including Employment, Family, Human Rights and Immigration.

Nidus

  • End-Of-Life Planning
    Overview of key issues and documents for end-of-life planning. Links to fact sheets and other web pages.
  • Medical Assistance in Dying
    Information on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) with links to fact sheet and government resources. Link to BC Patient Request form. Analysis of two court cases since federal legislation in effect – Ontario Superior Court and Supreme Court of BC.
  • Medical Assistance in Dying – Fact Sheet
    Information on federal legislation for MAiD with examples and links to related Criminal Code amendments. Links to BC resources for MAiD. Information about rights to give and refuse consent to health care. Links for Cross-Canada information about personal planning.

Privacy Guidance for Landlords and Tenants
by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC

Landlords must follow the privacy rules contained in the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). This guide explains about collecting, using, and disclosing personal information from tenants.

People’s Law School

The following resources give consumers practical and step-by-step information:

  • Buying or Repairing a Car
    Learn how to protect yourself when buying a used car, and what’s involved in making the purchase.
  • Cellphones
    Learn how to decide on a cellphone, negotiate with a cellphone provider, or deal with a problem with a new phone or phone bill.
  • Contracts
    Learn how to write a legal contract, what to consider before signing a contract, and what you should know about cancelling or breaking a contract.
  • Hiring Someone to Perform a Service
    Learn your rights and obligations when you hire someone to perform a service, hiring someone who comes to your door, and what you can do if you’re not happy with a service.
  • Holidays
    Learn what your rights are when booking a holiday or flying, and what you need to know if a holiday is cancelled or you have problems during a holiday.
  • Making a Purchase
    Learn your rights when you buy something, how to navigate warranties and guarantees, what you can do if you change your mind, and what happens if there is a problem with a purchase. Covers yoga studios and other continuing services contracts.

Residential Tenancy Branch: Solution Explorer
by BC Residential Tenancy Branch

This online tool (a beta version) helps you find useful information, resources and template letters specific to your tenancy problem. It also helps you find out what you need to resolve your dispute and whether you may have a valid dispute resolution claim or if you need to take extra steps.

Child and Youth Legal Centre
by Society for Children and Youth of BC

The Centre provides legal help for young people who are experiencing problems relating to family law, child protection, a breach of your human rights and many other legal issues. If you’re not sure if that includes you, call us and find out. We can help you figure out what you need.

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBA BC)

Many Dial-A-Law scripts have been updated. For a complete list of these resources, see their listings here (sorted by “last reviewed date”). The following scripts have been rewritten or partially rewritten:

West Coast Environmental Law

Their most recent works in strengthening environmental laws include the following recommendations and reports:

New & Updated Common Questions

With help from Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC), we have updated the questions on residential tenancy and added three new ones:

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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