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.

Stay informed with Pivot Legal Society:

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2019 Bi-Monthly Update Series: July/August

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

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

BC Employment Standards Branch

New resources on various aspects of Employment Standards have been added to the Employment Standards Branch website. Topics include: wages, hiring and termination, the complaints process, time off, and safety and workers’ rights. Additionally, Employment Standards Branch has replaced the “Self-Help Kit” (which required workers to deal directly with their employer before submitting a complaint), with a direct-to-branch process.

The updated listings on Clicklaw include:

BC Employment Standards Branch logo
  • Employment Standards: Getting Paid for Work: provides information about how wages must be paid under BC law. Includes minimum wage, minimum daily pay, deductions, keeping records, overtime pay, tips & gratuities, uniforms & special clothing.
  • Employment Standards: Hiring Employees: explains the workplace standards that employers must meet and include in an employment agreement. Includes hiring young people under the age of 15, using an employment agency, hiring domestic workers, hiring farm labour workers, and hiring temporary foreign workers.
  • Employment Standards: Making a Complaint: explains the steps involved in resolving employment disputes. Includes references to the law in BC.
  • Employment Standards: Quitting, Getting Fired or Laid Off: provides information about termination of employment for both employees and employers as it applies under the Employment Standards Act. Includes information about paying final wages, giving written notices, paying compensation, group terminations, just cause, layoffs, and changes to employment conditions.
  • Employment Standards: Specific Industries/Types of Workers: provides information about agriculture, aquaculture, commission sales, domestics, employment agencies, high technology sector, loggers, oil & gas sector, resident caretakers, etc.
  • Employment Standards: Taking Time Off: provides information about when employees can take time off work for vacation or for unexpected life situations. Includes maternity & parental leave, family responsibility leave, compassionate care leave, bereavement leave, reservists’ leave, leave respecting the disappearance or death of child, & jury duty.
  • Working in BC Information Sheet: this information sheet explains the rights of employees in BC. Includes minimum wage, tips, minimum daily pay, meal breaks, pay days & payroll records, overtime, averaging agreements, uniforms & special clothing, deductions, statutory holidays, annual vacation, and compensation when employment ends.
  • Employment Standards & Workplace Safety: Where to Go for Help: provides an overview of where to go for help or advice on employment standards and workplace safety issues. Includes links to the Employment Standards Branch, Employment Standards Tribunal, WorkSafe BC, Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, Employers’ Advisers Office, and BC Labour Relations Board.
  • Employment Standards: Do They Apply to You?: provides information on the BC Employment Standards Act and Regulations. This page explains a number of provisions that limit or exclude coverage for certain groups.

Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT)

Civil Resolution Tribunal
  • Societies and Cooperative Associations Solution Explorer: this tool helps people manage and resolve disputes about BC societies that are incorporated with the BC Corporate Registry, and housing and community service cooperative associations. If you aren’t able to resolve your dispute using this tool, it will lead you to the CRT’s online application form.

Legal Services Society

Legal Services Society logo
  • MyLawBC Family Mediation Tool: this online platform to help separating parents make a parenting plan that’s in their kids’ best interests. If parents can’t agree, they can ask for a professional mediator to help them. Parents get a downloadable parenting plan for both to sign. It’s convenient, secure, and free.

People’s Law School

People's Law School logo

People’s Law School has added new personal planning resources to their website on topics such as representation agreements and powers of attorney. The updated listings on Clicklaw include:

  • Planning for Your Future – this webpage provides information on personal planning including power of attorney, advance care plans, representation agreements and resources for those with limited capacities now.
  • Health and Personal Care – practical information on what you can do to ensure your wishes around health care & personal care are respected. Learn how to prepare an enhanced representation agreement, how an advance directive can be used, about the two types of representation agreements, and about MOST forms.
  • If You Need Help Now – practical information on how standard representation agreements can be used and how to prepare one. Learn about your rights and options for changing or ending one, and eight important reasons why someone may want to prepare one.
  • Start Your Planning Here – essential information you should know when preparing for your future. Learn your options for planning for your future financial, legal, health care, and personal care needs.
  • Making Decisions for Someone Else – practical information on what to consider when making decisions for someone else. Learn about the steps you can take to protect the adult from scams, financial exploitation and abuse, information about the duties you must follow as an attorney, and tools designed to help you in your role.
  • Financial and Legal Matters – practical information on tools you can put in place now in case you cannot manage your financial and legal affairs in future. Learn about the different types of powers of attorney, how to prepare your enduring power of attorney, and your rights and options for changing or ending a power of attorney.

Pivot Legal Society

British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI)

British Columbia Law Institute
  • Builder’s Lien Reform Project: The Builders Lien Act protects participants in a construction project such as contractors, material suppliers, and individual workers by giving them several forms of security for payment for work done or materials supplied. BCLI has undertaken a major law reform project on the Builders Lien Act.

Archway Community Services

Archway Community Services logo
  • Archway Community Services is the new name for Abbotsford Community Services. The name is intended to be more inclusive for clients beyond Abbotsford and reduce misconceptions of the organization being a branch of the government or City of Abbotsford.

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services logo
  • Family Law Advocacy Program – Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services has now added a family law program to their community services. The program provides information and legal advocacy for family law matters for separation, divorce, court forms, legal aid applications, child and spousal support, and other family law matters.

North Shore Community Resources Society (NSCR)

  • Family Law Advocacy Program – NSCR has a new family law program that provides legal information and referral, legal advice and representation (in some cases) to lower and moderate income clients. The service covers divorce, parenting time, child support, division of property, child protection and consensual dispute resolutions.