Library Month at LawMatters

By Megan Smiley, LawMatters Program Coordinator

For those of us without legal training, legal problems can be scary and overwhelming to tackle. Without open access to useful and trusted legal information, it would be near impossible. We are lucky in BC to have a network of public legal education and information organizations working hard to improve access to justice, and local public libraries are a key part that network.

Funded by the Law Foundation of BC, LawMatters is the Courthouse Libraries BC outreach program for public libraries. We believe libraries are the key to informed and connected communities and have been working in partnership with them since 2007.

Together with our library partners, LawMatters works to enhance local public access to legal information throughout the province, from big urban centres to small rural communities. Libraries are able to buy more legal books through LawMatters grant funding, and also receive print copies of some of our most popular Clicklaw Wikibook titles at no cost, such as JP Boyd on Family law. In total, people in 241 communities can find core legal resources at their local public libraries as a result of this program and the hard work of librarians and library staff in each location.

One of the key aspects of our work is to provide training to public library staff on finding and using legal information resources – like Clicklaw.

We regularly hear from librarians that Clicklaw is their ‘go-to’ when answering patrons’ legal questions because it provides ideas for next steps, helps them point their patrons towards the best resource, and when necessary, helps them find the right referral. But it’s also true that librarians are a key part of improving Clicklaw – the relationship is complementary. Public librarians contribute valuable knowledge, expertise and insight so that we can continually develop and improve the site for all users.

People go to public libraries for the widest range of reasons.  Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell have recently done a beautiful job of expressing the value of libraries, so I won’t attempt to do it here. But I will say to those of you who are struggling with legal issues: Don’t forget about your local public library!

They not only provide free public access to legal books, they can also provide referrals to advocates and other community organizations. They are a quiet safe space for you to think, research, and plan. Lastly, while librarians cannot give legal advice, they are a great resource because they are really good at finding current, reliable, and vetted information. They can help you find the information you need, and if not, help you find the people who can.

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October 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.

BC’s inaugural Access to Justice Week will take place from October 1 – 5, 2018 with events in Vancouver, Kamloops, and Victoria. The initiative is being led by Allard Law School at the University of British Columbia, Thompson River University Faculty of Law, and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. While many of the events are for law students, you may be interested in the ones below. Get more information here.

  • Monday, October 1 (8:45 am – 12:05 pm): Innovate BC presents the AI Challenge at the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Centre, Harbour Centre in Vancouver. A half-day event featuring keynotes, panels, and presentations from industry and government leaders. Spend your morning learning how AI innovation is transforming the public and justice sectors and what that means for residents of British Columbia. Admission is free but seats are limited. Get more information and register online here.
  • Thompson River University Faculty of Law, Kamloops
    • Tuesday, October 2 (8:00 – 10:00 am) TRU Community Legal Clinic – free coffee, outside the clinic at 623 Victoria Street
    • Wednesday, October 3 (4:30 – 5:30 pm) Meeting the Self-Represented Litigant Challenge: Lessons from Research & Practice – for lawyers (1 hr CPD credit available), at the TRU Community Legal Clinic (623 Victoria Street)
    • Thursday, October 4 (8:00 – 10:00 am) TRU Community Legal Clinic – OPEN HOUSE, at 623 Victoria Street, email RSVP by Monday, September 24, 2018 to
  • Allard Law School at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver
    • Tuesday, October 2 (12:30 – 1:45 pm) What would A2J look like for victims of sexual violence? Talk by Professor Julie Macfarlane – Room 122
    • Wednesday, October 3 (12:30 – 1:45 pm) Lawyering with Heart: Violence-informed and solution-focussed lawyering for Indigenous youth and families, a Panel – Room 123

Nidus presents Personal Planning Month with free presentations and webinars, with viewing available at public host locations throughout BC.

3 ways to participate:

  1. As a group – sign up to watch online.
  2. Individually – sign up to watch online.
  3. Attend at a public host location. See poster or full list at PPM2018.

4 topics, each offered twice on different dates. See the poster with webinars information and registration link here (PDF).

  1. Joint ownership – the Good, the Bad & the Risky!
    • October 2, Tuesday morning, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
    • October 11, Thursday evening, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
  2. Dying Without a Will & Tips for Making a Will
    • October 16, Tuesday morning, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
    • October 18, Thursday evening, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
  3. Consent to Health Care and to Facility Care
    • October 23, Tuesday morning, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
    • October 25, Thursday evening, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
  4. The Planning Continuum — A Will is Not Enough!
    • October 30, Tuesday morning, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
    • November 1, Thursday evening, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
    • In-person presentations, for this topic only, are being held in Vancouver & Burnaby, click for poster PPM2018MetroVan (PDF).

Free in-person presentations held in Metro Vancouver: The Planning Continuum — a Will is not enough! See the poster with presentations and registration information here (PDF).

  • Thursday, Oct 4 (2 – 3:30 pm) Burnaby Public Library – Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch
  • Monday, Oct 29 (1:30 – 3:00 pm) West End Seniors Network, 1447 Barclay Street, Vancouver
  • Friday, Nov 9 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) South Granville Seniors Centre, 1420 W. 12th Ave. (at Hemlock St.), Vancouver

Check out other events, webinars, and workshops from various organizations throughout October:

  • Tuesday, October 2 (1:00 – 2:00 pm): the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) presents an information session in Vancouver.
  • On April 1, 2019, the CRT will begin resolving certain motor vehicle personal injury disputes in BC. Community groups are invited to an information session to find out more about how the CRT works and how we’re implementing this new area of jurisdiction. This session will be held at the CRT office in downtown Vancouver. If you are not able to participate in person, please let us know and we will provide you with call-in information. Get more information and register online here.

  • Tuesday, October 2 (5:30 – 7:30 pm): Amici Curiae presents a lecture and a panel as part of Amici Curiae Lecture Series 2018 at the Justice Education Society in downtown Vancouver (also accessible as a webinar).

Professor Julie Macfarlane of the University of Windsor will deliver a lecture titled Stepping Up to the Challenge of Access to Justice, followed by a panel What makes A2J BC unique? CPD: 2 hours including 2 hours in client relations, ethics and professional responsibility. Seating is limited. Get more information and register online here.

  • October 4 – 5: Access Pro Bono BC presents the 7th National Pro Bono Conference in Vancouver.

Entitled “Seeing the Need, Taking the Lead,” the 7th National Pro Bono Conference will bring together lawyers, paralegals, law students, judges, politicians, government representatives, non-profit sector leaders, academics and the public from Canada, the US and abroad to share ideas and best practices for increasing access to justice for all members of society. Get more information and register online here.

  • October 4 – 18 (various dates): People’s Law School presents free classes for the public in Burnaby and Port Moody.
    • Thursday, October 4 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Strata Homeowner Survival Guide – Tips for avoiding problems with your strata corporation – Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch
    • Thursday, October 11 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Landlord Survival Guide – Tips for avoiding problems with your tenants – Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch
    • Monday, October 15 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Wills and Estates – Burnaby Public Library – Bob Prittie Branch
    • Wednesday, October 17 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Wills and Estates – Port Moody Library
    • Thursday, October 18 (7:00 – 8:30 pm) Probate – Burnaby Public Library – Tommy Douglas Branch

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. There are many kinds of psychological injuries workers may suffer on the job. Some examples are: PTSD for those who witness or are involved in a traumatic event, anxiety, phobias, depression arising from workplace events or from chronic pain from a work-related injury. This course will look at some of the requirements to get a psychological injury accepted by the WCB or on appeal. All courses are held by at the Maritime Labour Centre, 111 Victoria Drive, Vancouver. Course fee for 1-day courses is $70 (members of affiliated unions)/$90 (other). Get more information and the registration form here.

  • Wednesday, October 17: Law for Nonprofits presents two workshops in Vancouver.
    • 9:30 am – 12:00 pm Employment & Human Rights 101 Workshop – Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. Cost: $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information and register online here.
    • 1:00 – 3:30 pm The New Societies Act: What You Need to Know – Alliance for Arts + Culture, Vancouver. Cost: $50. City of Vancouver Bursaries available. Get more information here.
  • October 24 – 30 (various dates): Courthouse Libraries BC presents two free CPD-eligible webinars.
    • Wednesday, October 24 (12:00 – 1:30 pm) Human Rights 201 for Advocates and Service Providers. This 1.5 hour webinar is a follow up to the introductory level course on human rights law offered earlier this year. This course will expand on the topics covered in the Human Rights 101 course and delve deeper into the topic of the duty to accommodate in human rights law. Our presenter, Laura Track is a lawyer and the Director of Education for the Human Rights Clinic at the Community Legal Assistance Society. Participants in this webinar may claim up to 1.5 hour of CPD credit with the LSBC. Get more information and register online here.
    • Tuesday, October 30 (12:30 – 1:30 pm) Civil Resolution Tribunal: New Areas of Jurisdiction. This 1 hour webinar will highlight some of the areas of jurisdiction that will come under the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) starting next year, including some motor vehicle personal injury disputes, and provide you with an inside look at the CRT and Solution Explorer. Our presenter Shannon Salter is the Chair of the CRT. This webinar is suitable for lawyers, advocates and front line workers who may be assisting clients in navigating the CRT or the Solution Explorer. Participants in this session may claim up to 1 hour of CPD credit with the LSBC. Get more information and register online here.
  • Friday, October 26 (3:45 – 6:00 pm): Cerebral Palsy Association of BC presents a workshop Mental Health in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities of Youth with Disabilities at the Richmond Centre for Disability, Richmond.

This workshop series will address the issues of mental health in the workplace for youth with disabilities. The workshops will be given by two lawyers. Get more information and registration details here.

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