Pivot’s Rights Cards for Marginalized People

by Pivot Legal Society

“If it is not accessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary”
Jonathan Herrera Soto

What are Rights Cards?  

The original card, “Statement for Police,” was first produced in 2002 and launched on the steps of the headquarters of the Vancouver Police Department. 17 years later, these rights cards remain an important resource. These wallet-sized cards are a handy resource for people who want a straightforward rights-based resource. In recent years, we have also collaborated with community groups to produce rights cards that meet the needs of their membership – including groups like Sex Workers United Against Violence (“SWUAV”) and the BC Association for People On Methadone (“BCAPOM”). The rights cards have been distributed to organizations across Canada.

You can access these cards via Clicklaw, or find them on our website:

How can Rights Cards help me?

If you are someone who regularly deals with law enforcement, these cards are meant to be a handy reference guide. The Statement for Police cards include an overview of your rights, what you can say to police when you are being stopped or questioned, and where to file a complaint. If you are stopped by the police, you can also provide them with the card rather than speaking to them.

Access to justice

A photo of Know Your Rights booklets in a pile
Know Your Rights Handbook

Know Your Rights resources are an important part of public legal education efforts. In addition to these materials, however, BC must prioritize steps police accountability processes. During workshops or community forums, Pivot staff regularly hear about how people are afraid of speaking up about their rights because they are not sure if it will escalate their encounter with the police or lead to retaliation in the future.

In Project Inclusion: Confronting anti-Homeless and anti-Substance User Stigma in BC we recommend that the Attorney General take immediate action to increase access to justice for people who believe they have been the victims of excessive force, discrimination, or harassment by police by dedicating legal aid funding for:

  • a clinic to support people to make police complaints through summary advice, short service, or full representation based on the needs of the individual and the nature of the complaint;
  • public legal education workshops and materials to help people navigate the process of bringing a lawsuit against a police officer or police force; and
  • legal representation for families and/or victims in instances of police-involved serious injury or death to facilitate full participation in a Coroner’s Inquests and civil actions.

What’s next?

Police accountability remains a core part of Pivot’s mandate and we continue to advocate for the rights and dignity of criminalized communities who navigate police as part of their daily survival. This past year we authored a memorandum on the unregulated practice of street checks also known as “carding,”  provided recommendations to the Special Committee to Review the Police Complaint Process, and called for a harm-reduction informed approach to policing in BC.

Other resources

About Pivot Legal Society

Pivot Legal Society, located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, works in partnership with marginalized people and grassroots organizations to challenge legislation, policies, and practices that undermine human rights, intensify poverty, and perpetuate stigma.

As an organization, we recognize the importance of handy, accessible, and informative public legal education materials. We work with many people who rely on public space and through this work we have become aware of barriers they face when accessing legal information, education, or services.

To stay connected to our work, please follow us on our social media below or sign up for our e-mail list.

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Screenshot of MyLawBC Family Resolution Centre

Get Help with Making a Parenting Plan at MyLawBC

by Legal Aid BC (Legal Services Society)

Legal Aid BC has recently launched MyLawBC Family Resolution Centre (FRC), an online mediation tool that’s the first of its kind in Canada.

The FRC helps separating parents make a parenting plan that’s in the best interests of their children.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a document that outlines how parents going through a separation or a divorce will raise their children. It covers issues such as making decisions about the children, vacation time, and other important topics.

How can MyLawBC help me?

The FRC provides parents with the platform, information, and tools needed to work together to create their plan. They’ll work together online to set out their parenting plan. If they can’t agree on every issue they can ask for a professional mediator’s help at the simple press of a button. It’s free and convenient and parents can go at their own pace in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

Once downloaded, signed, and witnessed, the parenting plans are legally binding. If they choose to, parents can also add their parenting plan to a separation agreement or an order.

The FRC uses professional mediators who provide their services at no cost to the parents. This service is available to all parents in BC, though mediators will do an initial screening to decide if online mediation is appropriate. In cases where it isn’t, for instance if family violence is a factor, then the mediators will direct those parents to a better-suited service.

About the Family Resolution Centre

The FRC is a continuation of the work Legal Aid BC has done on MyLawBC to help increase access to justice in BC. It joins MyLawBC’s guided pathways and Dialogue Tool as fresh new ways to deliver legal information and services online. While the FRC only deals with parenting plans at this moment, we’re planning to extend it to other topics in the near future, dependent on available project funding. You can learn more about the FRC and our other services by visiting MyLawBC.com.

Other resources for separating parents

MyLawBC refers parents to useful resources to help make their parenting plan, including:

  • Parenting After Separation courses
  • information on including the voice of the child and deciding on the best interests of the child
  • tips for working with an online mediator

Also see MyLawBC’s Dialogue Tool, where parents can create a separation agreement

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