Do It Yourself Separation Guide Now Available

LSSSeparationAgreementsEarlier this month, the Legal Services Society launched a 7 step separation agreement guide. The separation guide helps you create your own separation agreement with information and instructions that help you choose your own options and fill-in-the-blanks to complete your agreement.


How to write your own separation agreement is based on a precedent manual produced by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLEBC).

The new guide results in a basic personalized separation agreement, which can be filed at the court registry as a first step towards a divorce.

Before you begin filling out the form, LSS provides information about separation agreements and technical instructions to get you started.

The online form is divided into sections with help on how to fill each section. A special feature allows you to choose relevant paragraphs, and fill in the necessary dates and names. After completing each section, the agreement can be saved into a separate file to protect your privacy.

Currently, the guide contains sections on parenting, child and spousal support, and debts. In late August, LSS will add a section on property and pensions.


Supreme Court Family Law Forms: New Fillable Forms from the Legal Services Society

flws thumbnailMore help with filling out Supreme Court family forms is now available from the Legal Services Society’s Family Law website. LSS now features 23 new and improved Supreme Court family law forms in a fillable Word format available on the LSS Family Law in BC website. These new forms, such as the Notice of Joint Family Claim, allow you to add and save your own information into the forms and give some instructions on how to fill them out.

You can find these forms through Clicklaw on the LSS Court Forms page. The forms were created in the last few months and were refined and tested to be used in a range of family law cases, including divorces, changing child support, or changing parenting arrangements. To provide further help with filling out these forms , LSS has also created instructions and tips that will help you fill out your forms quickly and correctly. Some of the more complicated forms also have additional, more detailed instructions and tips.

If you need more assistance with your court forms, LSS also provides a list of organizations that will provide more hands-on support.

These forms were created with funding from The Law Foundation of BC.


Employment Dispute? Share Your Experience

The Government of BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal Branch is creating an online dispute resolution website and they’re looking for help from the public. They’d like to talk to people who have had a recent dispute with their employer or employee so they can learn more about the kinds of experiences people have had in these kinds of situations. They’ll use this information to inform the design of their online dispute resolution website to make sure it meets the needs of people in BC.

The interviews will take place in the fall in Vancouver and Victoria, and will take about an hour. In exchange for your time, they’re offering a $60 gift card. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, please email them directly at



Social Security Tribunal for CPP Disability

Are you representing yourself with a Canada Pension Plan Disability appeal to the Social Security Tribunal? Are you a community worker who helps people  who are in this situation? If so, you’ll want to make sure you check out the Society Security Tribunal self-help guide from the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities.

This guide, updated in May 2014, is written for people who are representing themselves on a CPP Disability appeal at the Social Security Tribunal. Peter, a legal advocate at the Coalition, reports that they’ve heard from a number of people who have used the guide and found it very helpful. He describes this updated plain language guide is the only online resource that provides a comprehensive overview of how the Social Security Tribunal works. The guide includes sections on:

  • how to assess the merits of your case,
  • the decision making process,
  • starting your appeal
  • the hearing file
  • preparing your case
  • your written submission
  • at the hearing
  • after the hearing

It also includes definitions, and provides tips on using case law. This guide and other resources on Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits can be found through the Clicklaw website.


Separation Agreements: Your Right to Fairness

wcleaf-Separation AgreementsThis plain language booklet co-produced by West Coast LEAF and Legal Services Society gives a general overview of some of the financial issues that arise during separation and divorce. Laura Track from West Coast LEAF wrote a blog post about this back in February. In addition to English version, this resource is now available in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog.


Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants

kinbrace-refugeehearingpreparationKinbrace is a community-based organization that provides refugees with housing and support. They’ve recently updated their guide, Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants. This resource is now available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified) and Arabic.

“I went through the Guide again and again before my refugee hearing. The step-by-step instructions, timeline, and recommendations were so useful for me. It’s friendly and relieved my stress.”
— Ioann, Convention Refugee in Canada

The guide can be used to:

  • learn key refugee legal issues
  • track your refugee claim on the right timeline
  • learn strategies to help prepare for your refugee hearing
  • complete the hearing preparation checklist
  • get answers to frequently asked questions
  • find legal and community resources in Metro Vancouver

The guide, updated in 2014, now includes more detail. Fran from Kinbrace describes it as “…interactive. Claimants can track the fast paced timelines that are in place under the new refugee claim process with their own due dates, take note of the evidence that they have on each issue and use the checklists for submitting the refugee application form and for submitting evidence to the Immigration and Refugee Board.”

This guide and other resources for refugees in BC can be found through the Clicklaw website.


Clicklaw Website Unavailable Evening of Saturday May 31, 2014

Due to a planned building power outage, the Clicklaw website will be unavailable from 5pm – midnight on Saturday May 31, 2014. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.


Tips on Using Clicklaw

using clicklawHave you got 2 minutes? Want to get the most out of using Clicklaw? We invite you to check out one of our 3 short training videos we developed to highlight some key features on the Clicklaw website.

Courthouse Libraries BC staff members Rebecca and Meghan created these video providing tips on:

  • Using Clicklaw to Search for Legal Information (3 minutes)
  • Using Clicklaw to Find Legal Information in Other Languages (2 minutes)
  • Using Clicklaw’s HelpMap (2 minutes)

Developed for community workers who help immigrants in BC, these training videos are great tools for anyone who provides information and referral services. Combine them with the videos and text from the Guide to Helping Clients with Legal Information and Referrals, and you’ve got a great orientation kit for new staff, or a great refresher for all staff!

Here’s what people have said about the videos:

Clear, helpful, plain English, Easy access, Easy instruction. – Options Community Services settlement worker

It is easy and clear to understand . I love it and I also forwarded the link to my colleague. – Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society settlement worker

I find these videos extremely useful… – Pacific Immigrant Resources Society settlement worker

Have a look and let us know what you think – will these be useful for your staff training? Are there other topics that you’d like us to cover?

These videos are part of a project to make Clicklaw enhancements for new immigrants. Funding for this project was provided by the BC Ministry of Justice and the Government of Canada.


Living Together or Living Apart

ltlamultiOne of the most popular family law resources in BC is Living Together or Living Apart, produced by Clicklaw contributor Legal Services Society. This 100-page booklet was completed revised in  2013 to reflect the changes in family law that came with the introduction of the Family Law Act.

The latest edition of Living Together or Living Apart is now available in five additional languages: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Punjabi, and Spanish.

Please note that previous editions dated before 2013  are now out of date and should be recycled.

Living Together or Living Apart provides an excellent overview of family law issues for people who are married or living in common-law relationships, including options available to you if you separate. It has specific sections on:

  • Making agreements without going to court,
  • Information about parental responsibilities, parenting time, parenting arrangements and contact with a child,
  • Going to court if you can’t agree,
  • Getting a divorce,
  • How the law may be different for Aboriginal people, and
  • Special concerns for immigrants to Canada.

This booklet and other public legal education and information resources are available to read online through Clicklaw.

Print copies of Living Together or Living Apart can be ordered for free through Crown Publications. Visit (under Quick Links, click BC Public Legal Education & Information)


Updated Sponsorship Information in Legal Help for British Columbians

legal help

A few months ago YWCA Legal Educator Andrea Vollans wrote to Clicklaw and asked if someone could write a factsheet clarifying the rule for conditional permanent residence when a child is born after an application for permanent residence. The information was not available in any of the resources she had checked.

We contacted the Legal Help for British Columbians Clicklaw Wikibook legal reviewer Rochelle Appleby, who was able to update the page “My husband sponsored me and we have now separated” to include Andrea’s suggestion, and also add some information about a claim of abuse or neglect. This update is an example of how Clicklaw Wikibooks can respond quickly to a user request in addition to our regular updates concerning legislative changes.


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