Access Pro Bono – Wills Clinic Training

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Are you a lawyer (or do you know a lawyer) interested in volunteering with the Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic (scroll to Wills & Estates Program), but don’t have much experience with drafting wills and personal planning documents? Access Pro Bono and Courthouse Libraries BC are hosting 2 training sessions to help you get started!

You can participate in these training sessions for free from anywhere in the province. In-person sessions will be held in Vancouver and Victoria, or you can watch the webinars from any place with a computer and an internet connection. Plus each session counts for CPD credit!

Find out more about the Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic and how you can volunteer here.

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements

This training session is designed for lawyers who have limited or no experience in drafting Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements and who are interested in providing pro bono personal planning assistance to low income seniors and end-of-life clients. In this session, Joanne Taylor and Ron Usher of Nidus will introduce some of the types of documents that can be used to assist clients with personal planning. Participants may attend in-person at the Courthouse Libraries in Vancouver or by webinar. The Justice Access Centre in Victoria will also be hosting a group viewing of the webinar.

Participants in this course may claim up to 1.5 hours of CPD credit.

Date and time: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 1:00-2:30pm PST

Register here to attend in-person in Vancouver

Register here to attend at the JAC in Victoria.

Register here for the webinar.

Wills Basics

This presentation is targeted towards non Wills & Estate practitioners who are looking to get involved in providing pro bono will drafting for low income seniors and end-of-life clients. Nicole Garton of Heritage Law will share some of her knowledge and experience in drafting basic wills. Participants may attend in-person at the Courthouse Libraries in Vancouver or by webinar. The Justice Access Centre in Victoria will also be hosting a group viewing of the webinar.

Participants in this course may claim up to 1 hour of CPD credit.

Date and time: Friday, January 29, 2016 from 10:00-11:00am PST

Register here to attend in-person in Vancouver

Register here to attend at the JAC in Victoria.

Register here for the webinar.

For more information about our training programs, please contact us at: training@courthouselibrary.ca


Not a volunteer lawyer?

The Access Pro Bono Wills Clinics are offered to low-income seniors (55+) and people with terminal illnesses at physical locations in Vancouver (11:30am to 1:30pm at the Justice Access Centre at the Vancouver Courthouse, 800 Hornby Street), and also in Victoria and Nanaimo on a more limited basis.

Volunteer lawyers provide free legal help with simple wills and representation agreements. Please call the number or send an email to the address provided at the above link to make an appointment.

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New Online Education for BC Tenants

logo_rentingitrightThe Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) and the Justice Education Society are pleased to announce the launch of a new online course for tenants, Renting it Right! Designed for first-time renters, the course covers both practical and legal topics to consider before deciding to rent. Course participants will learn about:

  • Needs and preferences- understanding rental expenses, creating a budget, and thinking about unique requirements;
  • Searching for rental housing;
  • Submitting a strong application;
  • Signing a tenancy agreement; and
  • Moving in.

Securing rental housing can be a challenge, especially for those who have never rented in BC, or who lack recent references. Renting it Right aims to help renters find the place that is right for them. The video-based course guides BC residents through the rental process, in preparation for submitting a strong rental application. Course participants who pass the final exam will earn a certificate to present to landlords.

By learning about the rights and responsibilities that come with signing a tenancy agreement, renters will be better equipped to avoid problems once they move in. Part one of Renting it Right educates BC residents on what they need to know before moving in. Part two (coming soon!) will cover the basics of a tenancy from start to finish.

David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC, says that “Renting it Right is a great new resource that will help renters succeed in their tenancies”. LandlordBC has endorsed the course, and encourages landlords to recognize the certificate when presented with a rental application.

“We are committed to online education for everyday activities, like renting,” said Rick Craig, Executive Director of the Justice Education Society. “Renting it Right will help first-time renters make smart decisions and avoid legal problems”.

Renting it Right is available free at RentingItRight.ca. Register today to learn about renting in BC and earn a certificate!

For comments on the course, please contact:

Jane Mayfield
Acting Executive Director
TRAC Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre
604-255-3099 ext. 228
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Rick Craig
Executive Director
Justice Education Society of BC
604-660-3191
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Allard School of Law Launches Business Law Clinic

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Law students enrolled in the pilot Business Law Clinic at the Allard School of Law are now offering supervised legal advice to segments of the small business, entrepreneurial, and non-profit communities in British Columbia who have limited means of paying for legal services.

What services does the Clinic provide?

The Clinic may assist clients with the following:

  • Answering general legal questions regarding small business or non-profit matters
  • Reviewing an existing contract or lease and explaining what it means to the client
  • Explaining the difference between various business structures including a sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation
  • Other business oriented legal advice related to a client’s unique legal issue

The Clinic may draft legal documents, including:

  • allard_presentConstitution, by-laws and incorporation forms for a non-profit society
  • Articles, resolutions, registers and share certificates for a private company
  • Partnership Agreements
  • Non-competition Agreements
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Supplier Agreements
  • Offers of employment
  • Privacy Policies
  • Other documents as determined by the supervising lawyer

How can I become a client?

In order to access legal services through the Clinic, a prospective client must be aallard_shaking small business owner, entrepreneur, or non-profit organization and must satisfy certain eligibility criteria. To determine eligibility, prospective clients must complete an on-line application which is available on the Clinic’s website. Qualified clients will then be contacted to set up an interview appointment.

Please see the Clinic’s listing on the HelpMap for more details and for information on how to contact us.

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Introducing the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic

By Randy Robinson
Peter A. Allard School of Law J.D. CandidateRandy (2)

The Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (“Clinic”) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (“DTES”) is both a legal clinic and a learning space for law students. The Clinic’s hummingbird logo is a symbol of the work that is undertaken by clinicians at the Clinic. Many Indigenous Peoples view the hummingbird as a communicator of knowledge enabling it to act as an advocate for all creation.

Why join the Clinic?

I am Algonquin of the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec. I am in the last semester of the Peter A. Allard School of Law’s Juris Doctorate program.  In my early years as a high school student growing up in the DTES, I observed many injustices stemming from the disheartened history of our Indigenous community.

My desire for change towards these inequities led me to enroll. The Clinic enables law students such as myself to experience a strong foundation for law practice through an experiential and legal knowledge curriculum. Clinicians undergo three weeks of rigorous orientation where students meet lawyers and judges from diverse legal fields and practice areas.

Lessons for Law Student Clinicians

IMG_0876During my clinical term I developed skills pertaining to: file management, communication with other parties, working with a supervising lawyer, in depth legal research and writing, trial preparation, criminal and civil litigation, networking with a close knit cohort of clinicians, and creative solution orientated thinking.

An example of the practical learning experiences and legal knowledge that I attained at the Clinic was my work with the Pemberton Circuit Court (“PCC”). Physically attending the PCC after speaking with unrepresented clientele on the court list was crucial to bringing to light the desperate need for legal services in this remote community. Since then the PCC has joined the Clinic’s curriculum. This results in both a greater access to justice for Indigenous Peoples living in remote communities and a comprehensive extension of the Clinic’s services.

As a legal clinician I recognize the value of these practical legal skills and learning experiences. I also recognize that these skills pertain to the possibilities for changing the inequities that I observed in the DTES. However, on a grander scale I also recognize the value in the outstanding experiential knowledge the Clinic curriculum brought to my legal education. During my time at the Clinic this fusion led to valuable insights for understanding and negotiating my present legal education and future legal competencies.  One insight that stands out in my mind is when I met provincial court Judge Gregory Rideout at the Clinic. Judge Rideout aptly described the importance of the role of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) in the space of the DTES.

I will approach my future legal studies and practice with the following motto in mind: “Like the hummingbird, first and foremost we must be communicators”.

What does the Clinic offer?

The Clinic exists for two purposes:

  • first, to provide free legal services to the Indigenous community in the DTES, and
  • second, to provide legal education to law students in the Allard School of Law.

We provide advice, assistance and representation to clients who self-identify as Indigenous and who cannot afford a lawyer, on topics ranging from: criminal matters, family law matters, human rights complaints, to Indian Status applications and hearings before certain administrative tribunals.

Please see the Clinic’s listing on the HelpMap for more details and for information on how to contact us.

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Clicklaw Year-End Update

We ran a pop-up survey from mid-October to mid-December on the main Clicklaw website to get feedback from website (and now mobile) users like you. The survey has now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. The draw winner was randomly selected from all entries submitted and has been contacted — congratulations! We’ll share what we’ve learned from you in the new year.

Our Clicklaw contributors have been adding and updating great resources and services to Clicklaw throughout 2015.

Here is a small window* into the activity on the site, with a resource or service featured for each month, for the sake of brevity:

*We will do our best to provide bi-monthly updates in 2016 of all newly added or modified resources and services.

 
01_LSS_NoContactIf You Have a No Contact Order Made Against You
by Legal Services Society

What is a no contact order? What are the different types?

 

TRACTemplate Letters for Tenants
by Tenancy Resource & Advocacy Centre

Experiencing a problem in your tenancy? Consider putting your concerns in writing to your letter – templates for requesting repairs, returning of deposit, response to an illegal eviction notice, loss of quiet enjoyment, bed bugs and more.


logo_nslrpThe CanLII Primer
by The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP)

A primer designed to help self-represented litigants (SRLs) navigate CanLII in order to prepare for the presentation of their cases – in court, in chambers, or as part of a negotiation or mediation. CanLII is a free online legal service.

 

logo_cbabcDoor-to-Door Sales, Time Shares, and Contracts You Can Cancel
by The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC)

Some types of contracts can be cancelled in certain circumstances. This script discusses door-to-door sales, fitness club memberships and other similar contracts, and how you can cancel them.

 

logo_mediatebcSliding Scale Family Mediation
by Mediate BC Society

Families who are experiencing separation and divorce can get help finding a family mediator with fees set on a sliding scale. A family mediator can help you reach decisions about issues such as property division, child and spousal support, parenting time and guardianship without going to court.

 

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Queer Directory @ QMUNITY
by QMUNITY

Talk to Information and Referral Volunteers who can help you find queer-competent services, including legal advice.

 

logo_westcoastleafJane Doe Legal Clinic
by West Coast LEAF

Free legal advice appointments in Vancouver for women survivors of violence with child welfare and family law issues. Some multilingual and accessibility support available.

 

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First Contact Vancouver
by Canadian Red Cross

This program provides refugee claimants with one place to access assistance on arrival through a 24-hour phone line offering services for free in 60+ languages.

 

cropped-clicklaw_logo_postit.pngProvincial Court Resources for Everyone: Family Court

Find helpful info on Family Matters you can deal with in B.C. Provincial Court – guardianship, parenting arrangements, child/spousal support, protection orders and more – here.

 

2015-10-02 16-42-35_Prepare for your trial_ Family Law in BCDiscovery – Sharing information with the other party
by Legal Services Society

Read about the court rules that govern the when, what and how of sharing information in a family law case.

 

bcgovSingle Parent Employment Initiative
by BC Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation

This new initiative is aimed at removing barriers to employment for single parents on income and disability assistance, providing them with the training and support they need to secure long-term and sustainable employment.

 

bcgovRenting, Buying and Selling Strata
by BC Ministry of Natural Gas Development & Responsible for Housing

Learn more about renting in stratas: some stratas may restrict your ability to rent out your property. What are the legal requirements for buying and selling strata property?

Stay informed:

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Introducing Kinbrace – Refugee Housing & Support

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Kinbrace Community Society is one of our newest Clicklaw Core Contributor Organizations.

What does Kinbrace do?

Kinbrace, a Vancouver-based non-profit charity, assists people arriving in Canada seeking refugee protection.

They facilitate the often nerve-wracking transition by providing help with housing, integration, well-being, and access to refugee protection. The Kinbrace residence hosts 12-15 residents at a time, and residents receive the support of Kinbrace staff, interns and volunteers.

Resources for refugee claimants & service providers

Kinbrace has offered workshops to educate service providers and refugee claimants alike on Canada’s refugee protection system.

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This guide has been recently updated and is available in 6 languages for BC.

Kinbrace also publishes the (recently updated) Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide for several regions, available in six languages for BC: English, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Farsi/Persian, French, and Spanish.

The guide is clear, friendly and straightforward with: information on gathering and submitting evidence, legal issues to consider, checklists, explanations of terminology and answers to frequently asked questions. It directs readers through the refugee hearing process timeline. It is invaluable not only for refugee claimants but for support workers who can use the guide in their work.

They also offer the amazing READY Tours program.

What are READY Tours?

Refugee claimants are given the unique opportunity to see the inside of a refugee hearing room at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. A staff member of the Refugee Protection Division (IRB-RPD) provides information and answers questions.

What’s a READY Tour like?

Thanks to Fran Gallo, READY Coordinator at Kinbrace, I had the opportunity to observe a READY Tour in early October at the IRB, located right next to the VPL Central Branch in Downtown Vancouver.

what-is-READY

Refugee claimants, volunteer translators and Fran meet at the second-floor lounge of the building where Fran quickly makes sure everyone is equipped with the Guide, a pamphlet from the Red Cross, and a “test sheet” to see what attendees know about the process before, then what they’ve learned after the tour. Fran gathers information about the claimants’ hearing dates, whether they have a lawyer (maybe for the hearing only), and if the individual is applying alone or with others (family).

The tour proceeds upstairs with a staff person of the IRB-RPD–for our tour today, we get the Registrar. She tells us that she will answer questions only about the hearing, not the appeal. She speaks slowly so that the interpreters have time to translate: Check in at the glass window. Come 30 minutes before your hearing – witnesses and observers too. This is the hearing room. Someone will make sure all parties are present and direct you to the appropriate room. You can step out during breaks.

The room itself is about 15×15 feet. We’re full up as the tour has about 20 people in attendance. The Registrar explains that they are an independent administrative tribunal, separate from CIC and the CBSA. The Refugee Protection Division makes decisions on who needs protection – this is all in the Guide. She cannot give advice or specifics. There are requirements and limitation dates, people who may or may not be present at the hearing from heavily acronymed organizations: the CBSA or CIC, the UNHCR, legal issues that must be focused on (identity, credibility, state protection).

The process can appear daunting. However, most attendees report learning helpful information about what they should prepare and being more relaxed for their hearing. It’s easy to see why the READY tours are so valuable. The tours began in 2008 as a collaborative initiative between Kinbrace, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the IRB-RPD. Thousands of refugee claimants and service providers have since participated in the experience.

Find out more about the READY Tours here.

Stay informed:

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Updates on BC Disability Benefits

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Important changes are coming December 1, 2015

1 – People receiving Persons with Disability (PWD) benefits will be able to hold more assets with no impact on their benefits due to some changes effective December 1, 2015.

See our new Common Question, How are BC disability benefits changing on December 1, 2015? for more info on the changes and what resources will be updated.

 

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2 – The BC Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation in consultation with the RDSP Action Group (made up of leaders from the financial and disability communities), has released a new resource on How to Start and Manage a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in British Columbia.

The RDSP is a long-term-savings plan designed by the Government of Canada to help people with disabilities and their families save money for the future.

 

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3 – Disability Alliance BC has a new resource on Filing Income Taxes for People receiving PWD/PPMB as part of their Tax Aid BC program. The help sheet describes how people receiving BC disability benefits can prepare and submit an income tax return for free over the internet.

 

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BCANDS provides health and disability related services to First Nation/Aboriginal persons including assistance with PWD applications.

4 – Effective July 1, 2015, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) began overseeing the adjudication of new applications for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and the Monthly Nutritional Supplement (MNS) programs for over 200 First Nation communities within BC (on reserve).

The programs are adjudicated and administrated by BCANDS on behalf of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (formerly Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada).

More Resources & Services:

Stay informed:

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Graphic credit to Freepik.com

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Online Dispute Resolution in BC – Got a strata dispute?

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3a | Part 3b


The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) team is looking for people to help beta-test their web-based Solution Explorer. As we mentioned in our Introduction to ODR in BC, the CRT will be an online tribunal opening in 2016. It will be accessible 24/7, and can be used by people to resolve their small claims and strata/condo disputes.

The first step in the CRT process is called the Solution Explorer, a self-help tool that helps diagnose the type of problem or dispute, provides helpful related information, self-help options and identifies a recommended next stage of the process.

Who Can Take Part?Older-couple-with-laptop

The CRT is looking specifically for a group of 8 to 10 people who are owners, tenants or occupants of a strata. Participants will be observed using the Solution Explorer to resolve real life strata disputes by CRT staff to see how it is used and how it can be made better.

What are the Requirements to Participate?

If you can attend a 30 minute appointment on either of these two dates below, look up the other requirements here on the CRT’s website, where you will find more information on how to get involved:

  • December 3, 2015 in downtown Victoria OR
  • December 7, 2015 in downtown Vancouver

To learn more about the CRT, visit their website.

Related Common Questions on Clicklaw:

Stay informed:

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An Introduction to BC Provincial Court Family Orders

This doesn’t need to be you.

In Provincial Court, you can get orders for: guardianship, parenting arrangements, child/spousal support, protection, and more.

See this page for general information and more resources on the BC Provincial Family Court process.

What is a court order?

An order is a statement of the court’s decision. It sets out what you and the other party (for example, you and your ex-spouse) must do.

Court orders must be prepared and filed, or “entered” into the Provincial Court Registry (click for locations).

Read the Legal Services Society (LSS) resource, “All about court orders” for more information about what kinds of court orders you can get, as well as options to pursue before the court makes a final order, to try and resolve as much of your case as possible without a formal court hearing.

Can I get a court order without a lawyer?

Yes.

If you and the other party agree about what you want the court to order, you can apply for what’s called a “consent order” and may be able to get it without attending court.

  1. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will have the order typed and submit it to the Court. If you don’t have a lawyer, the other party’s lawyer will do this, but you should see a lawyer yourself to review the proposed order before you sign a document showing you consent to the order.
    • Click here to see where to find free or low cost legal advice on family law matters.
  2. Family Justice Counsellors can also help you with family orders.
    Family Justice Counsellors can help you with consent orders.
  3. If you don’t have a lawyer, another direct way to get a consent order is to meet with a Family Justice Counsellor (FJC) who can help you obtain or change an order in Family Court. FJCs work at Family Justice Centres located across BC; they provide free services for people of modest means. FJCs are specially trained to support families to reach agreement on issues of guardianship, parenting arrangements (including parental responsibilities and parenting time), contact and support. They can help you obtain or change an order in Family Court; including preparing the consent order and submitting it to the Court for you. They can also provide information and referrals, short-term counselling, mediation, help with various court forms, and more. In some communities, couples who separate must meet with a FJC before they are given a date to appear in court.
  4. As a last resort, if you cannot meet with a Family Justice Counsellor or get help from a lawyer, it is possible to prepare a consent order yourself. This LSS Resource with Tips on how to draft a consent order contains links to the BC Provincial Court’s website, where you can access a “Picklist” WORDdoc including standard Family Law Act (FLA) terms to help you draft the order. (To “draft” an order means to choose the wording and type it. See also: What does the FLA deal with?) However, both parties should talk to a lawyer to make sure they understand what they’re agreeing to before signing their consent.
    • “How to get a final family order in Provincial Court” explains what to do once you draft a consent order. If a judge approves your order, you won’t have to appear in a court room. However, if there are problems in the wording you choose or the information you provide, you may have to attend court to give the judge more information. This is why it’s so helpful to have a FJC or lawyer prepare and submit a consent order for you.

If, however, you and the other party ultimately don’t agree, you’ll go to court and the judge will make an order:

When?

  • If both parties agree by the time you get to court you can ask the judge to make a consent order on the day of your first court appearance.
  • When you go to court, you can ask for a case conference where you and the other party will meet with a judge to discuss the issues. If you agree during the case conference, the judge can make a consent order there.
  • Your matter can be set for a hearing or trial or an interim application. The judge will make an order after considering evidence and submissions.

Who does the drafting in this case?

  • This does not mean that the judge types up the order that is filed at the registry. The Rules require the successful party’s lawyer to do that.
    • However, if you are successful and do not have a lawyer, the court clerk (registry staff) prepares the order unless the judge orders otherwise. For example, if the unsuccessful party has a lawyer, the judge may ask that lawyer to draft the order.
    • If the other party’s lawyer will be preparing an order, ask the judge to permit you to approve its wording before the lawyer sends it to the Court.
  • Whether an order is submitted by a lawyer or prepared by the court registry, it will be checked by court staff and/or the judge to ensure it reflects what the judge said in court.

How should the court order be drafted, and why?

The order should clearly and precisely reflect the court’s decision. It should state who does what, to whom, when, and in some cases where or for how long.

It should be understandable even by someone who is unfamiliar with the case. This is because the court’s orders may need to be enforced by people who were not involved in the case.

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Use the Picklists provided by the BC Provincial Court to draft better family orders.

Poor Example of a term in an order:

John Smith will pay child support of $800 a month.

  • There would be problems enforcing this order if John did not pay. It doesn’t say who he must pay or when, among other details missing.

Better Example of a term in an order:

John Smith will pay to Jane Smith the sum of $800 per month for the support of the children, May Smith born June 1, 2011 and Lee Smith born July 3, 2012, commencing on October 1st 2015 and continuing on the first day of each and every month thereafter, for as long as the children are eligible for support under the Family Law Act or until further Court order.

  • This wording from the “Picklist” on the Provincial Court website makes it clear who does what to whom, when, when the obligation starts, and when it ends. Use the standard wording of Family Law Act terms provided in the BC Provincial Court Picklists whenever possible; this also helps with faster processing at the Registry: Click here for the Picklist Word Doc.

If a lawyer is involved, they will use their notes of what the judge said to draft the order. If the judge gives written reasons for judgment after trial, the order will be prepared based on these written reasons – you can also order clerk’s notes or a transcript of the proceeding, although this can take some time and is expensive.

The order can be in the following forms (Click here to access forms):

  • Form 20 for consent orders (see what else you need to file – special requirements for applications of guardianship of children and child support),
  • Form 25 for protection orders;
  • Form 25.1 for restraining orders; and
  • Form 26 for all other orders.

Click for links to all the resources

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Increasing BC Hydro rates drive request for an electricity affordability program for BC’s poor

bc_piac_logo
BCPIAC represents low and fixed income people of BC in utility regulation matters, and works on strategic anti-poverty and social justice issues in BC courts and tribunals.

By Erin Pritchard
Staff Lawyer, BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre

In September 2015, BC Hydro filed a Rate Design Application (RDA) with the BC Utilities Commission (Commission). This means the Commission, BC Hydro and stakeholders will review rate structures (how BC Hydro charges customers for its services) and terms and conditions of service for residential, business and industrial customers.

In this proceeding, the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC) will ask the Commission to implement rate relief, emergency bill assistance, and specific terms and conditions for low income BC Hydro ratepayers.

BC Hydro rates are increasingly unaffordable for low income customers

About 170,000 (10%) of BC Hydro’s residential customers are “low income”, meaning they are living at or below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut Off (LICO).  People living in poverty have a hard time paying for essential services such as electricity when their incomes are stagnant. Since electricity is essential to survival, energy bills can only be paid at the expense of competing household necessities, such as food and medicine.

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“Since electricity is essential to survival, energy bills can only be paid at the expense of competing household necessities, such as food and medicine.”

BC Hydro residential electricity rates have increased by 47% in the last 10 years, and are on track to increase by another 10.5% in the next three years. Rates are projected to continue to rise significantly in future years as the government continues to order BC Hydro to build multi-billion dollar projects like the Site C dam without a full public review of those projects by the Commission. While rate caps are currently keeping BC Hydro rates artificially low, project expenditures will eventually be collected from ratepayers.

BC Hydro’s rate increases have far outpaced increases in provincial income and disability assistance rates and the BC general minimum wage over the same time period. Over the last 10 years, BC social assistance rates have only gone up by $100 or less (for a single person) and the BC general minimum wage by $2.45 an hour.

BC Hydro currently offers no rates or terms and conditions that specifically apply to low income customers.  It offers two programs to its low income customers:

  1. Energy Savings Kits that include a few energy saving products which, if fully installed, might save $30 per year, and
  2. In more limited cases, energy efficiency home upgrades through BC Hydro’s Energy Conservation Assistance Program. This program is not available to BC Hydro customers living in apartments.

While such energy efficiency programs are important, they are not a stand-alone response to low income customers’ increasing inability to afford their power bills – they are only one element of what must be a comprehensive low income bill affordability strategy.

What is BCPIAC doing to help?

In the RDA, BCPIAC will ask the Commission to order that BC Hydro:
Read more about how you can help

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