Clicklaw at the first Canadian Twitter Town Hall with #AskChiefJudge

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Chief Judge Crabtree taking a selfie by request at the Twitter Town Hall. Also pictured: Karen St. Aubin from the CBA BC Branch, Audrey Jun from Courthouse Libraries BC (Clicklaw)

The BC Provincial Court — a Clicklaw contributor — made history last Thursday as the first court in Canada to hold a Twitter Town Hall.

Everyone was invited to participate by tweeting questions to the Provincial Court’s Chief Judge Crabtree using the hashtag #AskChiefJudge or by sending an email prior to the event. The Chief Judge tweeted 100 direct replies in response between 1-3pm on April 14th, BC Law Day.

As the Provincial Court eNews notes, the event was promoted by “[t]he communications team of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch…as part of BC Law Week. They, and the BC Law Society, Trial Lawyers Association, Courthouse Libraries BC, Clicklaw, Justice Education Society, Legal Services Society, Mediate BC, Access Pro Bono, Access to Justice BC, and Nidus joined the conversation, adding helpful information.”  Thank you as well to all Clicklaw contributor organizations and Clicklaw visitors and users for participating!

News of the event made waves online:

Following the Town Hall, reflections on the event’s success:

Continue reading Clicklaw at the first Canadian Twitter Town Hall with #AskChiefJudge

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Take the first step: Wills and Personal Planning

End of life.

It’s one of those topics that we usually like to dance around or pointedly avoid until a problem is staring us in the face.

I’ve narrowed it down three possible culprits:

  • we may think learning about estate planning and personal planning is too difficult and complicated;
  • we may think it costs too much money; and/or
  • in the context of personal planning, we may easily conceive of accidents happening to us as we explore new and unknown places, but not in our own home, workplace or community.

Here are some ways to take the first step:

MakeAWillPoster2016
Make a Will Week encourages the public to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.

There’s no better time than now to start learning about the importance of having these legal documents in place. Think of it like travel insurance–nobody especially likes planning for it, but don’t you want to make sure you’re covered in a crisis?

At the Wills and Personal Planning Resources page on the Courthouse Libraries BC website, you have one page with information guides, forms, free or nominal-fee services, tools, and events—for everyone to use. Did you know about CBA BC’s Dial-a-Lawyer Day coming up on April 16th?

The PDFs are printable and shareable.

What’s Personal Planning? Isn’t a will enough?

If you don’t know about Representation Agreements, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives, you’ll want to read more about these important legal planning documents here.

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Law Day is April 14, across Canada.

Along with the other Law Week presentations, bookmark Nidus’ topical presentation (free, in-person) at People’s Law School on April 14th, which will cover the key legal documents, as well as:

Check out everything mentioned above here.

All Law Week/Make-a-Will Week Events:

Stay Informed:

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Photo credit: Freepik

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Justice Access Centres (JACs) – Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo

What can JACs help you with?

Family and civil law issues: separation, divorce, income security, employment, housing and debt.

A range of information and services are available, designed to help you find an early and affordable solution.

If you don’t live in Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo, see “How Can I Get in Touch?” at the end of this post for phone numbers you can call for information.

Specific services that JACs offer:

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Get help with and information about court forms, civil legislation, court procedures, mediation, and more.

You can:

  • meet with intake staff who assess your needs;
  • get informed about the Family Law Act, the Divorce Act, and various other civil-related legislation;
  • get informed about the different levels of court and related court procedures;
  • get a referral to a mediator (family justice counsellors and other mediation options), other dispute resolution professionals, legal services and community resources;
  • access Provincial and Supreme Court forms; and
  • get help with court forms and access computers and dedicated staff for assistance in the Self Help Resource Room (In Nanaimo, if you would like self-help assistance, book an appointment with an interviewer in advance. You can also get help with simple forms on the phone.)

Help from Partnering Agencies at some JAC locations:

01_Clicklaw_30pxMediate BC Society:

Practical, accessible, and affordable choices to prevent, manage and resolve non-family civil disputes (any kind of dispute outside of: separation and divorce, personal injury, child protection or criminal matters).

Vancouver and Victoria have an onsite Mediation Advisor who can explore and help connect people to civil mediators; Nanaimo clients are referred to Victoria.

01_Clicklaw_30pxLegal Services Society:

Family Duty Counsel (FDC) and Family Advice Lawyer (FAL) services (Provincial and Supreme Courts) are available for those who are seeking legal advice in relation to family matters and who do not qualify for legal representation through Legal Aid. FDC and FAL can provide advice about:

  • parenting time or contact / access;
  • guardianship / custody, parenting responsibilities;
  • child support;
  • applications, variations of child support, enforcement;
  • tentative settlement agreements;
  • court procedures; and
  • property (limited advice).

Note: FDC/FAL will not take on your whole case or represent you at a trial.

Aboriginal Community Legal Worker services are available in Nanaimo.

01_Clicklaw_30pxFamily Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP):

        FMEP is a BC Ministry of Justice service that helps families and children entitled to spousal support or child support under a maintenance order or agreement.
        The Vancouver JAC has an onsite outreach worker to help with the process, and provides information about enrolment, enforcement or changing an order.
          Vancouver and Nanaimo JACs only.

01_Clicklaw_30pxCredit Counselling Society:

Free and confidential help for consumers. A Counsellor will review your monthly budget, including: income, expenses and debt payments, and can provide information and guidance to help you make informed, financial decisions.

Vancouver JAC only.

01_Clicklaw_30pxAccess Pro Bono (APB):

APB offers a number of programs which are offered onsite at the JAC (by appointment only, see contact info at end of post):

  • Legal Advice Clinic – Volunteer lawyers provide 30 minute free legal advice appointments for civil and family law issues. Call for financial criteria.
  • Wills Clinic Program – In partnership with the federal Department of Justice and the Provincial Ministry of Justice, APB operates a Wills clinic for low-income seniors (ages 55+) and people with terminal illnesses.
  • Court Form Preparation Clinic (Paralegal Program) – Vancouver JAC only. In partnership with Amici Curiae; support for self-represented litigants who need assistance in preparing BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, and BC Human Rights Tribunal documents.

How can I get in touch?

  • The Self Help Resource Rooms are in-person ONLY (no telephone assistance).
  • Reception and Intake Services can be reached by phone or drop-in.
jac_vancouverVancouver JAC

Located at the Vancouver Provincial Courthouse, #290-800 Hornby Street.

Hours are M-F, 8am-5pm, extended hours until 7pm on Wednesday by appointment, until 5:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Self-Help Resource room is open 8:30-4pm.

Call 604.660.2084 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 604.660.2084. The centre serves Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_victoriaVictoria JAC

Located at 225 – 850 Burdett Avenue.

Hours are M-F 8am-5:30pm, extended hours until 6:30 on Thursday. Self-Help Resource Room is open 9-4pm.

Call 250.356.7012 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 250.356.7012. The centre serves Victoria and the surrounding south Vancouver Island and Gulf Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_nanaimoNanaimo JAC

Located at 302 – 65 Front St.

Hours are M-F 8-5:30pm, with extended hours on Wednesday until 7pm by appointment only.

Call 250 741-5447 or 1-800-578-8511. The centre serves Nanaimo and the surrounding mid-Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

Note: JACs are not able to provide support or services for criminal issues, small claims court forms and filings, and some other specific legal solutions.

Get informed with JACs:

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Tweet the Chief Judge of the BC Provincial Court

logo_provctWhen: April 14, 2016, 1-3 pm

What: A live Twitter Town Hall Q&A with Chief Judge Crabtree

Topics: Access to justice, the future of the justice system, problem-solving courts and First Nations courts, and related issues. Read more about the topics here.

In a few weeks, you will have an unprecedented opportunity to chat with the Chief Judge of the BC Provincial Court, Thomas Crabtree, who will be hosting a live Twitter Town Hall.

We’ll be live to answer any questions about Clicklaw and any of our contributor organizations’ resources–some may be participating directly as well! Don’t miss out.

How to Participate

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Follow @BCProvCourt

Tweet using the hashtag, #AskChiefJudge – you can post questions any time before April 14th if you aren’t available then.

Don’t have Twitter? Email questions to: TwitterTownHall@provincialcourt.bc.ca before April 14th.

Note

The Chief Judge cannot comment on individual cases, and may not be able to answer all questions during the Town Hall, but efforts will be made to answer outstanding questions on the Court’s website after the event.

Stay informed with the Provincial Court:

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Is that email a scam?

button-ePhishing is a general term for scam e-mails, text messages and websites designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted organizations in an attempt to collect sensitive information.

How to sniff out a phishing scam:

  • Phishing content is intended to trigger a quick reaction. It can use upsetting or exciting information, or demand an urgent response.
  • Typically, phishing messages will ask you to “update”, “validate”, or “confirm” your account information to avoid dire consequences, online or over the phone.
  • Often, the message or website includes official-looking logos and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate websites. Government, financial institutions and online payment services are common targets.

Preventive measures you should take:

  1. Watch out for e-mail or text messages with urgent requests for personal or financial information. Financial institutions normally don’t use e-mail to confirm an existing client’s information.
  2. Contact the organization at a telephone number from a credible source. Official website, back of your credit card, phone book or a bill.
  3. Never e-mail personal or financial information.
  4. Avoid embedded links in an e-mail claiming to bring you to a secure site.
  5. Look at a website’s address line in your browser.
  6. Regularly update your computer protection with anti-virus software, spyware filters, e-mail filters and firewall programs. Check out AV-Comparatives for reviews and reports of real-time protection antivirus programs.
  7. Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.

Fraud Prevention Month Events

1004People’s Law School is hosting an event on the Top 10 Scams of 2015 in Vancouver: March 29, from 12:00 – 1:00pm, at People’s Law School, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC.

1105Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is hosting a Twitter Chat on March 31 at 10am PST.

Follow CAFC @canantifraud to discuss their various resources on scams targeting businesses, telephone scams, scams targeting seniors/students, and vacation scams.

For more information:

Competition Bureau: Read more about Fraud Prevention Month.

BC RCMP: Information on email phishing, online fraud, fraudulent calls, police impersonators, rental scams, pin pad tampering, ATM skimming.

When I’m 64 – Scams (Video) by People’s Law School The When I’m 64 video series provides seniors with information about services, benefits, and resources available to them.

Fraud PreventionBanks work hard to prevent their customers from becoming victims of any kind of financial fraud. The Canadian Bankers’ Association website offers tips on credit card fraud, debit card fraud, identity theft, phishing, vishing, and real estate fraud.

Government of CanadaThe national list of Top 10 Scams was unveiled at news conferences in Vancouver and Montreal for Fraud Prevention Month. It was compiled by Better Business Bureaus in nine provinces with input from the Quebec-based Option Consommateurs as well as the Competition Bureau.

Stay Informed:

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Training for Legal Advocates – History and Legacy of Residential Schools

blog_clbc_iclcMarch 17, 2016 Update: This event has SOLD OUT. Please subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates on new training opportunities for legal advocates and other front-line workers.

Understanding the history and legacy of residential schools can be a key component in understanding your client if you work with Indigenous clients, either directly or indirectly.

This free webinar is designed for both advocates and lawyers who would like to gain a better understanding of residential schools in Canada and the ongoing impact on clients.

Our presenter, Patricia Barkaskas, Academic Director of the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic will provide an overview of residential schools in Canada, some key points advocates and lawyers should be aware of when working with Indigenous clients and what some of the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report might mean in your day-to-day work with clients. Patricia has worked closely with Indigenous peoples in their encounters with the justice system and has worked for residential school survivors as an historical legal researcher for the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Sign up for this free webinar while there’s still space:

Wednesday March 30, 2016 from 12:30-1:30pm (PDT). Register here.

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Introducing Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)

bwss_logoBy Vicky Law
Lawyer & Legal Advocacy Program Coordinator

For the past 26 years, BWSS has had a Legal Advocacy Program because we know that for women leaving abusive relationships, the complication of dealing with the power and control issues of a violent spouse makes dealing with legal system more difficult. Some women give up and stay with their abuser because it is easier than leaving.

Our Legal Advocacy program has expanded this year. Here is an updated list of the legal services we offer. Click on the yellow icons for more details about each service within the Clicklaw HelpMap.

01_Clicklaw_30px Full representation – Legal Advocacy Program

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.

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. BWSS will also consider if the following applies:

  • The woman has been denied by Legal Services Society for legal representation;
  • 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 use of the court system by the abuser 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 matter.

Call 604-687-1867 or 604-687-1868 ext. 307 to apply.

01_Clicklaw_30px Legal Advocacy Workshops

Who & What: For women who have or are experiencing violence in their relationships and require legal support with the resulting family law and other legal issues. Lawyers from the community with experience in family law will facilitate all workshops.

When: Every Thursday, April 7, 2016 – June 9, 2016, from 10am – 12pm

Where: at the BWSS office – call 604-687-1867 for location

01_Clicklaw_30pxFamily 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.

We continue our partnership with Access Pro Bono to provide monthly in-house pro bono clinics in family law.

Call 604-687-1867 for the clinic schedule.

01_Clicklaw_30pxCourt Forms Preparation Clinic

We have partnered with Amici Curiae Paralegal Program to provide assistance to unrepresented women with affidavit drafting in family law proceedings – both Provincial and Supreme Court.

When: Third Wednesday of every month, from 5:45-7:45pm

Where: Call 604-687-1868 ext. 307 for location and appointments

Stay informed with BWSS:

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January-February 2016 Update

In our year-end update a few months ago, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. Here is a selection from the 150+ changes in January and February:


 

New Societies Act: Impact on Pre-existing Societies
by BC Registry Services

The Societies Act is new legislation that will come into effect on November 28, 2016. It governs how societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in B.C. Read about the new Act’s impact on pre-existing societies. We’ll keep you updated via our related Common Question and will post here about upcoming training opportunities for you — subscribe to our blog on the left column if you haven’t already!

 

Legal Support Services Program
by Family Services of Greater Victoria (formerly BC Families in Transition)

This advocacy program assists unrepresented people in Family or Supreme Court in Greater Victoria and provides family law information to low-income people, on: separation and divorce, child and spousal support guidelines, family property and debt.

 

Court Form Preparation Clinics at the Vancouver JAC and at Atira
by Law Courts Center and Atira

Get help with BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, BC Human Rights Tribunal court forms. These clinics are run by volunteer paralegals with the supervision of duty counsel (a lawyer). The clinic can help with: Supreme Court of BC civil court pleadings, civil court forms relating to employment, foreclosures and residential tenancy matters, Supreme Court of BC family court forms, Court of Appeal family law pleadings and organizing appeal books, and BC Human Rights Tribunal forms.

 

Being an Executor
by People’s Law School

This publication is for people who have been appointed as executor in a will. It covers the steps involved in British Columbia in dealing with an estate after a person dies, including the procedure to probate the will. Updated to reflect the Wills, Estates & Succession Act, which became law in 2014.

 

Protection Orders – Questions and Answers
by BC Ministry of Justice

You may be more familiar with the term “restraining orders”. In BC, the proper term is “protection orders”, which can be either peace bonds or family law protection orders under the Family Law Act. Read more about what a protection order is, when you should get one, how it will protect you, and who you can speak with to get more information about how to apply for one.

 

NCCABC Native Courtworkers
by Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

The purpose of the Native Courtworker program is to help aboriginal people involved in the criminal justice system obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment. The program can provide the aboriginal accused with appropriate referral to legal, social, education, employment, medical and other resources, liaise between the accused and criminal justice personnel, and much more. The HelpMap service listing has been updated with new location and contact information and is managed directly by NCCABC.

 

Termination under the BC Employment Standards Act
by CBA BC Branch

If your job ends or terminates – whether you quit or you are fired or laid off – you want to be aware of your rights under the law. This script describes your rights under the Employment Standards Act, which sets out some minimum protections for workers in BC.

 

CLAS Services: BC Human Rights Clinic, Community Law Program, Mental Health Law Program
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

CLAS programs have been clarified:

  • Human Rights Clinic: exploring settlement, and representation before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
  • Mental Health Law program: legal advice and representation to people who have been involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act or require representation at a Mental Health Review Board hearing.
  • Community Law Program: 
    • Worker’s Rights – appeals or reviews of SST decision about EI benefits, reconsideration or court review of lost WCAT appeal decision, reconsideration or court review of lost EST appeal decision.
    • Human Rights – information about filing a federal human rights complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal or the Canadian Transportation Agency, court review of decision from the BC Human Rights Tribunal, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, or the Canadian Transportation Agency.
    • Income Security – court review of lost Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal decision, appeal or reviews of SST decision about government pension benefits (CPP, CPP disability, OAS).
    • Housing Security – court review of lost RTB hearing, advice on Order of Possession, advice on co-op evictions, tenant or low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.
    • Mental Health – court review of a Mental Health Review Panel decision under MHA, court review of decision from the Review Board under the Criminal Code, or challenge of certificate of incapability making the PGT statutory property guardian.

Contact CLAS at 604.685.3425 or 1.888.685.6222 more more info. Have your papers ready. Note that CLAS services are for low-income clients; they will refer you to other services if they cannot represent you.


Notice – BC Government URLs

You may have noticed that some of the links to websites hosted by the BC Government may be broken as they restructure. We are working on fixing that and will keep you updated.

Stay informed:

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SOPA program for Newcomers

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Click to enlarge

MOSAIC, a non-profit committed to empowering refugees and immigrants publishes a guide on legal issues for newcomers, and also operates a Legal Advocacy Program as well as a Legal Clinic for Temporary Foreign Workers.

MOSAIC now offers a Settlement Online Pre-Arrival program!

The SOPA program is for newcomers who are approved or in the process of applying to immigrate to Canada and settle in British Columbia.

SOPA provides free online facilitated and self-directed courses focusing on job search and communication skills to help prepare newcomers for Canada.

Currently, the following courses are offered:

  • Working in Canada (self-directed)
  • Canadian Workplace Integration (self-directed)
  • Job Search Strategies (facilitated)
  • Soft Skills: Working with Others (facilitated)
  • Soft Skills: Professional Communication (facilitated)

These courses will help newcomers to:

  • build realistic goals with the right tools for their job search;
  • establish a connection with employment programs and immigrant service providers; and
  • integrate to the local labor market and workplace with more ease.

If someone comes to you with questions about what resources are available for family members or friends who are not yet in Canada, but are in the process of applying to immigrate and settle in BC, go to http://arrivepreparedbc.ca to learn more about program eligibility requirements or email sopa@mosaicbc.com.

Stay informed with MOSAIC:

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Pink Shirt Day – Resources & Events on Bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day across Canada, a day that raises awareness about bullying. Pink Shirt Day has its beginnings in Nova Scotia, started by two high school students in support of their classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

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In honour of Pink Shirt Day, we are listing key resources and events that educate people on different issues related to bullying:

Bookable Events

Click for enlarged poster

TrendShift: a public dialogue/workshop on cyber misogyny, free and open to the public

by West Coast LEAF

When? Thursday, February 25, 5:30-7pm at TRU, Kamloops, BC.

What? This free interactive workshop will open up a dialogue about how inequality, discrimination and violence play out on the internet and what Canadian law has to say about our rights and responsibilities online.

TrendShift workshops are available for booking in Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Greater Vancouver. These workshops are for students in Grades 8-12 and was developed as part of our Cyber Misogyny Project. Its goals are to open up spaces for dialogue with youth about their rights and responsibilities online, to think about what violence and discrimination look like in online spaces, and to clear up myths about the laws that apply to their lives online. More info on the length of the workshops, and who you can contact for more information available online here.

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The Justice Theatre Troupe

Justice Theatre

by People’s Law School

The Justice Theatre troupe consists of seven professional actors who stage scripted hour-long dramatizations of criminal trials on topics affecting students in elementary and secondary schools throughout the school year in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Justice Theatre is delivered throughout the province of BC.

The one-hour performances address current topics affecting young people and communities-at-large. Frequently requested topics include: Bullying and the Internet, and Bullying and Violence. Schools and community groups should contact Rob McAninch, Justice Theatre director, to find out when the troupe will be in their community or to book a special event.

Online Resources

CQ_icon

What can you do about cyberbullying?

This common question gives you good starting points to learn more about cyberbullying and what you can do to stop it. It includes CBA BC’s resource, Stalking, Criminal Harassment and Cyberbullying, and West Coast LEAF’s resource, “Is that legal?” – a CyberMisogyny Legal Guide, which explains Canadian law about issues of online harassment, exploitation and abuse.

 

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Bullying and Harassment: a workplace problem
by People’s Law School

This video resource describes bullying and harassment in the workplace and what can you do if you experience it.

 

BC Human Rights Clinic
Bullying Law in BC
by BC Human Rights Clinic (CLAS)

This resource reviews protection from bullying at work, personal harassment, and includes a more in-depth resource on Bullying and Harassment in Human Rights Law, which gives tips on what managers can do to maintain a harassment-free workplace environment.

Stay informed:

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