Do you know how a Bill becomes Law in Canada?

billc51_timeline

How did Bill C-51 become law?

You’ve probably heard some rumblings about Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. You likely don’t hear about most bills unless you are actively interested in law or politics, but Bill C-51 has struck a chord with everyday people who are concerned about their privacy rights. Here are some places you can go to learn about Bill C-51.

Do you know how Bill C-51 became law on June 18th? We’ll try and break it down for you.

Some basics first

canada_flagCanada’s Constitution defines the government’s powers and your rights. It includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The constitution is the supreme law of Canada and all of our laws must conform to it, whether made by our courts or government law-makers (legislators). More on the Constitution here.

There are two primary sources of Canadian law (Quebec is an exception):

Continue reading Do you know how a Bill becomes Law in Canada?

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Clicklaw Wikibooks Go Mobile!

Mobile_3Devices
Both the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 run on Android. The iPhone runs on iOS. But you get a similar experience looking at wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca across all devices.

Do you have a smartphone? You can already read the Clicklaw blog in a mobile-friendly format, and our Clicklaw Wikibooks (which have helpful legal info on family law, residential tenancy law, wills and estates, and more) now have a mobile option too. We are working on making the main Clicklaw website mobile-friendly, stay tuned.

Why go mobile? Mobile use is not going away; in fact, it’s increasing every year. Nearly 33% of visitors to Clicklaw and the Clicklaw Wikibooks are on either mobile or tablet. We wanted to make the experience better for you, across all devices.

Here’s what you see when you go to a specific Clicklaw Wikibook:

Mobile_Inside_Wikibook

You still have the option of downloading the Wikibook in PDF, EPUB, or ordering a print copy–right from your phone.

See more features below the cut..

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Uncontested Divorce Order Application Clinic Launches June 6, 2015 – Vancouver

lawcourtscenter

by Dom Bautista
Executive Director, Law Courts Center

The Amici Curaie Paralegal Programme is pleased to announce the opening of their “Temporary Foreign Workers’ Uncontested Desk Order Divorce Program” on June 6, 2015.

Who is this Clinic for?

The clinic helps Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) complete their application for an uncontested divorce order with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The clinic also helps TFWs who have children in their native country, and are in the process of applying to include their children, but not their spouse, in their application to become a Canadian permanent resident (“PR”).

How does this Clinic help TFWs immigrate to Canada?

For TFWs who do not wish to include their spouse in their PR application, Immigration Canada requires proof of separation, such as a divorce order. This clinic will help you complete your application for an uncontested divorce order.

Read more about the clinics..

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The end of assigning maintenance rights: What does it mean?

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To continue assignment, contact MSDSI by June 5, 2015

by Legal Services Society
Cross-posted from the Factum

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI) recently sent some of the people who get income or disability assistance a letter about changes to the requirement to “assign maintenance.” Some people still have questions about this change, so The Factum will try to make sense of them here.

As of September 1, 2015, child support payments will no longer be deducted from income/disability assistance payments. This is good news as parents won’t have their child support clawed back.

The old rules

Before May 1, 2015, if you were divorced or separated and getting income/disability assistance, you had to sign over your rights to maintenance (child support) payments to the ministry. This “assignment of rights” allowed the ministry to take your spouse to court and get a court order for child support. If your spouse refused to pay, the ministry could send the court order to the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, who would collect the payments for you. Then the ministry would deduct that amount from your income/disability assistance.

The new rules

As of May 1, 2015, you don’t have to assign your maintenance rights to the ministry anymore.

Continue reading The end of assigning maintenance rights: What does it mean?

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More Help Available for Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce – Sliding Scale Family Mediation Project

About Mediation Page
Mediation help for separation and divorce

By Kari Boyle
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Mediate BC

Are you going through a separation or divorce? Would you like to avoid the time, money and stress involved with going to court? Mediate BC is a not-for-profit society that provides people with practical, accessible and affordable choices for resolving their disputes. With funding from the Law Foundation of BC, Mediate BC has launched the Sliding Scale Family Mediation Project this Spring to help families experiencing divorce and separation to access mediation services at fees which are set based on the family’s net income and assets/debts.

What are the benefits of mediation?
Family mediators will help you reach decisions about issues such as: property division, child and spousal support, parenting time and guardianship without going to court. This approach promotes a healthy relationship with the participants and any children involved, and can also save you time, money and stress.

How do I get started?
Visit our website or call the Sliding Scale Project Mediation Coordinator, Maria Silva, at 1-877-656-1300 ext. 108 for more information. She will help you decide if this program is the right choice for you.

What if I or my ex-spouse/partner qualify for Legal Aid?
You may be eligible for the Family Mediation Referral Program which provides the first six hours of family mediation services at no charge to your family.  To apply for this service, visit a Legal Aid office or contact the LSS Call Centre.

Below are some of Mediate BC’s other services and resources:
–    About Mediation: information on mediation, including the role of a mediator and how to choose one.
–    Roster Mediator Directories: searchable directories of civil, family, and child protection mediators to assist people in selecting a suitable mediator to resolve their dispute.
–    Public Education and Training: offers free public seminars on mediation and professional development opportunities for dispute resolution practitioners.

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Common Questions 2015 Update

What are Common Questions (CQs)? Clicklaw links to so many great resources, which can make it difficult to decide which one to read first. Clicklaw’s Common Questions are like an extended legal FAQ. They help narrow down the resources people should start with. Most of our 147 questions have been reviewed and updated in the past two months.

An example of a Common Question:
CommonQuestion_Will

CQs make up 40% of the top 10 viewed pages on Clicklaw:

Some new questions that have been added are:

A question to keep your eye on: We’ve started a non-profit group and we want it to become a society

Do you have an idea for a good CQ? Are you having trouble finding the right resources for your legal problem or question? Do you get asked the same questions over and over again by your clients? Send your suggestions to: editor[@]clicklaw.bc.ca

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Online Dispute Resolution in BC: Case Study #1

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is joining the legal landscape in BC, but many people–even some lawyers–are unfamiliar with its processes. We are covering the emergence and expansion of ODR in BC in a series of blog posts. (See our introduction here.)

In recent ODR-related news, the Civil Resolution Tribunal or “CRT” (which we discussed in our first post) has appointed 18 tribunal members. They will hear strata property and small claims cases, and will be able to make decisions that are binding and enforceable like court orders. You can read the press release from the CRT and BC Ministry of Justice here.

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In today’s post we focus on Consumer Protection BC’s ODR platform, a neutral online space where people can settle disputes with businesses, without going to court.

Click to view full infographic
Click to view full infographic

We created an infographic (below, right) which provides a snapshot of the process, from start to finish.

We tested the ODR tool ourselves, giving you an inside peek into the process, with screen captures to provide visual context.

Important note: the steps we took here are not exhaustive of the ways that you can resolve a dispute using ODR.

step01Create an account.  When you start a new dispute you will be asked questions regarding the nature of your complaint.

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But wait, there’s more!

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LSLAP Summer Program Update

LSLAP
Free legal advice for low-income people in Metro Vancouver

by Emma Wilson
Peter A. Allard School of Law J.D. Candidate

LSLAP is re-opening its summer program as of today. We have begun booking clients for appointments at our clinics in Surrey, Richmond, Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, North Vancouver and New Westminster. See our service listing on the Clicklaw HelpMap for clinic locations, hours, language support availability, and contact information (This listing will be updated in the coming weeks).

LSLAP provides free legal advice and representation (where appropriate) to low-income earning members of the public living in the lower mainland.

We are happy to take on cases for people dealing with issues including but not limited to:

  • Employment Insurance claims
  • Tenant-side Residential Tenancy issues
  • Human Rights Tribunal proceedings
  • Immigration Review Board
  • Employment Law (ESB and small claims court)
  • Workers Compensation Board
  • Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Pension claims
  • Summary proceedings in criminal court

For a list of the kind of services we can provide, as well as the areas of law in which we cannot assist, please refer to our previous blog post or our website. To book a clinic with LSLAP, please call our switchboard at 604-822-5791.

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Essay Contest for BC High School Students

LSBC-Colour-LogoWhat is it about? The Law Society of BC is hosting an essay contest in honour of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The essay topic is “Magna Carta and its relevance to Canada in the 21st Century.” Students are asked to submit an essay that demonstrates an understanding of the significance of the Magna Carta to the rule of law, human rights and democratic principles.

Who can enter? The competition is open to students in a BC public high school in the 2014/15 academic year who are currently enrolled in, or have taken, Law 12 and/or Civics Studies 11 courses.

What can I win? The first prize winner will receive an award of $1,000 and will be invited to a special awards presentation event in Vancouver; the runner up will receive $500.

When do I enter by? Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2015.

For more information on essay requirements, submission guidelines and judging criteria, go here to download the information form.

Update June 19, 2015: The deadline has been extended to December 31, 2015! Read more at the Law Society’s News page.

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CBABC’s Dial-A-Law Scripts come to Clicklaw Wikibooks

Clicklaw, Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) and LawMatters are very pleased to let the public and legal information community know that the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch’s long-serving Dial-A-Law scripts are now on Clicklaw Wikibooks. They join a growing library of content from other key producers of 500px-Dial-A-Law_cover_imagepublic legal information, including People’s Law School, TRAC, BC CEAS and others including some authors CLBC helped to publish, such as Cliff Thorstenson and John-Paul Boyd. The collection of scripts will be printed in a 500+ page book to be shipped to public libraries in BC, at no cost to the libraries, in conjunction with the LawMatters program.

CLBC and CBABC announced this news by formal press release yesterday (April 14, 2015). It’s exciting since Dial-A-Law scripts are perhaps the longest-surviving example of the BC legal profession’s dedication to helping the public with free legal information. The scripts cover over 130 legal topics, and have existed in various formats for over 30 years. Dial-A-Law started in 1983 with help from the BC Law Foundation and its scripts have been edited by volunteer lawyers ever since. More information about the various ways you can access Dial-A-Law is on Clicklaw’s page for the service.

Yesterday’s announcement is significant because now the scripts are even more accessible. Clicklaw Wikibooks are all about keeping legal information in a single spot so that editors and lawyers can update it—this is one of the benefits of a Wikipedia-style platform—but letting the end user choose whether to print, read online, or otherwise export the content in a way that meets their needs. Users can download whole contents, or only portions, of Clicklaw Wikibook in PDF or EPUB. They can order a printed book for cost, or read it online.  Continue reading CBABC’s Dial-A-Law Scripts come to Clicklaw Wikibooks

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