This morning, the BC Ministry of Attorney General announced the new Online Divorce Assistant Application. This new online tool will assist people in BC to finalize divorces. It is intended to speed up processing times and to help get rid of filing errors.
Who is it for (currently)?
agree on all family law issues applicable to them – such as spousal support, and dividing family property and debt(s);
do not have dependent children; and
who intend to “joint-file” their divorces (work together, in cooperation, to get the job done).
Currently, 30% of the 10,000 divorces filed every year in BC are filed jointly.
How do I use the App?
You can use the Online Divorce Assistant on any smartphone or computer, but it is ideally viewed on devices that are at least tablet-sized. It takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.
What does the App do?
Once you go through the app and answer all its questions, you can print out the finished documents and take them to a BC Supreme Court registry for filing.
Will the App change over time?
According to the Ministry, “Plans are underway to expand the Online Divorce Assistant in coming months to include joint-filing divorces in cases that involve children.”
A program designed to help trans* folks get proper ID. We work one-on-one with anyone who identifies as trans, two-spirit, non-binary, or otherwise gender-diverse to apply to change their name and/or gender marker and acquire updated IDs. We are able to cover any costs that we cannot get waived by the organizations themselves.
West Coast Environmental Law offers free legal advice to help community groups, First Nations and individuals understand their environmental rights. We also offer funding support through our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF), which connects British Columbians with a network of private environmental lawyers around the province willing to work at a legal aid rate.
The Northwest Burke Vision: Principles and Recommendations
This report prepared for the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable contains recommendations to ensure that proposed residential development in Coquitlam, British Columbia, will be ecologically sustainable and support a healthy watershed.
Effective May 25, 2018, some organizations subject to PIPA must also comply with the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This guidance helps organizations in BC determine whether they are subject to the GDPR and explains how to comply with both PIPA and the GDPR.
Guidelines for Obtaining Meaningful Consent
This document sets out practical & actionable guidance regarding what organizations should do to ensure that they obtain meaningful consent. It contains information about the guiding principles for obtaining consent, determining the appropriate form of consent, and the legal requirements.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Dayis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Live Safe, End Abuse
The updated booklet is now available in print and online in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, and Spanish. It explains what abuse is and where people who are being abused can get help.
Several locations for the following services have updated hours and contact info:
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.
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.
Learn how to decide on a cellphone, negotiate with a cellphone provider, or deal with a problem with a new phone or phone bill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Gladue Submission Guide
This new, plain language booklet for Aboriginal peoples explains how to prepare a Gladue submission to help the judge decide bail or sentencing. Includes a Gladue factors checklist and a worksheet to help Aboriginal peoples, lawyers, and Native courtworkers gather information needed to prepare a submission.
Your Gladue Rights
This revised booklet explains Gladue rights, rights under the Criminal Code that apply to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal. Gladue rights can apply at bail and sentencing hearings.
This updated booklet is for permanent residents who need help when the person sponsoring them in Canada is no longer supporting them.
CFCSA flowchart (Child Protection Matters)
Chart shows possible stages and orders in child protection proceedings under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, with notes – statute sections are hyperlinked to the Act.
Criminal Case Flowchart
Stages in a Criminal Case: These notes provide more information about criminal procedure – the procedures set out in the Criminal Code of Canada to be followed in criminal cases.
Are you a senior representing yourself in a Small Claims Court proceeding? Call 604-336-5653 to find out more about this Trial Preparation Clinic. A lawyer will call you back to assess if the clinic is able to assist.
The paper reviews six financing models to pay for litigation: unbundled legal services, third-party litigation funding, alternative fee arrangements, crowdfunding, legal expense insurance, and publicly funded litigation funds. It also discusses 18 ideas on how to enhance the use of each model.
Mental health detentions in BC have increased dramatically over the last ten years. This report reveals several disturbing practices and points to a number of deep flaws in the BC Mental Health Act that do not comply with the rights guaranteed by the Charter and international human rights law.
The annual CEDAW Report Card grades BC’s compliance with United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). BC’s record of action and inaction in the past year is assessed in nine key areas impacting the rights of women and girls.
Charterpedia provides legal info about the Charter and contains information about the purpose of each section of the Charter, the analysis or test developed through case law in respect of the section, and any particular considerations related to it. Each Charterpedia entry cites relevant case law.
Children’s Participation in Justice Processes The final results of survey of participants from a 2-day national symposium with a multidisciplinary spectrum of leading stakeholders to share info & dialogue about how: voices of children and youth are heard, their interests are protected & evidence is received in justice proceedings.
Your Gladue Rights
This new booklet explains Gladue rights, rights under the Criminal Code that apply to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal. Gladue rights can apply at bail and sentencing hearings.
Your Welfare Rights: Applying for Welfare Online
New fact sheet about how to apply for welfare using your computer or mobile phone. Describes the three stages involved and the steps you follow at each stage. Expands on information printed in the booklet How to Apply for Welfare. Available in print and online.
Questions and answers on wills and estates topics. Volunteer legal professionals provide answers to questions from the public relating to personal planning, wills, dealing with death, and settling an estate.
This updated booklet is for service providers assisting “mothers without status”. They are women who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. It gives an overview of the issues they face and options they can take. It includes information on where to get help.
Amici Curiae is offering free one-hour sessions with legal professionals who can help you fill out your forms. Get help with forms for court, human rights, employment issues, residential tenancy, and more. No legal advice will be provided. Anyone can make an appointment by calling: 778.522.2839 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A system for healing for families going through separation and/or divorce. The goal is to improve access to mediation and other services, provide guidance, direction, and information to families in the Peace. The program works with the Registry and Court so when directed by the Judge or when families choose on their own, families will be provided more options for accessing alternative dispute resolution methods (mainly mediation through a roster of mediators working on a sliding scale).
Through this two-part survey, we are asking our users about what legal information they’re looking for and how Clicklaw is helping them find it. We would like to learn more about what we could do to improve their experience.
Users that answer the survey may enter a draw for a $100 Chapters Gift Card.
Please spread the word on this exciting opportunity for all BC Grade 12 students and any secondary school students who have taken, or are currently enrolled in Law 12 or Civic Studies 11:
Do you have an interest in the legal and justice system? Are you passionate about upholding fundamental freedoms and rights for all persons? Do you value every person’s right to equality before the law? Show us what you know and submit an essay to our contest:
The winning entry will be awarded a $1,000 prize, and the runner up will receive a $500 prize. The first place winner and runner up will be invited to an awards presentation event at the Law Society in Vancouver. Deadline for submissions is April 6, 2018.
The Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee launched the annual essay contest in 2015 for BC secondary school students to reaffirm the significance of the rule of law and to enhance students’ knowledge and willingness to participate actively in civic life.