The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information now available as a Clicklaw Wikibook!

BGLI coverCourthouse Libraries BC is pleased to announce that our new Clicklaw Wikibook, The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information; A how-to for legal research and representing yourself in court in British Columbia is now available online. Our news release gives detailed information about the publication.

We describe the Guide as a new resource that “helps people handle their everyday legal problems. It is particularly useful to people who are representing themselves in court in British Columbia. Written by librarians at Courthouse Libraries BC, the new Guide gives a basic introduction to understanding laws & legislation, and gives how-to instructions to find specific legal resources on a given topic.”

A copy of the Guide can be printed by using the PDF download option, or you can download it as an ePub on a mobile device.

We encourage feedback on the Guide’s content, because one of the great features of Clicklaw Wikibooks is that they can be updated so easily. Please send your comments to


Election Day is October 19th

election-l_eAre you registered to vote?

Check here. If you’re not registered, you can also sign up and/or update your address at that link by next Tuesday, October 13 at 6pm (local time).

Read about other ways you can register here – by mail, or in person.

Busy on the 19th? Vote in advance.

Advance Voting: Friday, October 9 to Monday, October 12, between noon to 8pm. Check your voter information card that was mailed to you for where to go to vote in advance. You can also find your advance polling address here.

Another option is to vote at any Elections Canada office or by mail. Read more about alternative voting options.

If voting in person, bring proper ID: e.g. your driver’s license. See other ID options.

What time can I vote on October 19?

Most of B.C. is on Pacific Time: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
For the pockets of B.C. on Mountain Time: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Is my employer required to give me time off to vote?

Yes, most of us are entitled to 3 consecutive hours to vote on the 19th if you don’t have 3 hours outside of work for voting. Your employer gets to decide when. Read more about time off and some exceptions.

Has my riding changed?

Canada is divided into 338 ridings. One representative, or member of Parliament (MP), is elected for each riding. See the list of candidates for your electoral district here.

Federal riding boundaries are adjusted every 10 years. Thirty new ridings were created in the latest readjustment in 2013, affecting this year’s election – there are six more seats for B.C.

Your riding/electoral district’s information will be included on your voter information card that you receive in the mail, or look it up here. Once you’ve searched, click on “Where do I vote?” to see your location-specific information (see the highlighted section below):


Extra Help

  • The Canadian Bar Association asked leaders of the main political parties to share their vision of equal justice for all Canadians. See their answers here.
  • VPL has put together a guide designed to help you to find information on a variety of topics related to the current and past Canadian federal elections. It includes a list of recommended books and links to party leader debates.
  • Multilingual Help: S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Federal Election Hotline operates from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, October 5 until October 19 (except Thanksgiving Day October 12, 2015). Individuals can call 604-408-7260 for key election information in English, Cantonese and Mandarin with a new call back service for Farsi-speaking citizens.
  • Contact Elections Canada for more info: 1-800-463-6868 toll-free in Canada and the U.S., every day from 4am to 9pm Pacific Time.

Upcoming Training Opportunities for Advocates and Community Workers

clicklaw and lawmatters
LawMatters & Clicklaw are CLBC programs

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) delivers training throughout the year for advocates on various legal topics. Access the training calendar here (includes webinars for BC lawyers). We have two webinars coming up later this year designed for advocates, community workers and public librarians.

Top 5 Employment Law Issues Webinar

Join us on October 14, 2015 (2pm-3pm) for an informative session on
employment law issues. Trevor Thomas of Kent Employment Law will be presenting the webinar. Mr. Thomas’ experience in employment law includes: assisting employee clients with severance reviews, negotiating wrongful dismissal settlements, negotiating employment contracts, addressing workplace harassment and bullying, enforcing the Employment Standards Act, and preparing clients to appear at workplace investigations. This webinar is designed to help community workers to understand the basics of employment law. The main issues that will be covered include: employment contracts; employee vs. independent contractor; the Employment Standards Act; human rights; and dismissal and severance.

Register for this event here.

Family Law e-Resources Webinar

On November 17, 2015 (2pm-3pm), we will be offering a webinar for community workers and advocates on locating free family law resources. The presenters, Audrey Jun, Clicklaw Program Coordinator, and Megan Vis-Dunbar, Liaison Lawyer with CLBC, will highlight some resources for assisting clients with family law issues. Some of the resources that we will be demonstrating include: Clicklaw; the LSS Family Law website; online fillable court forms; the BC Provincial Court website (and specifically the Family Law Act orders Picklist); and my support calculator. We will also provide some information on available services such as: JES workshops, the Mediate BC Family Mediation Program, and

Register for this event here.


Disability Disclosure in the Workplace

By Shelley Hourston

DABC invites (1) people with disabilities/chronic illness and (2) employers, to share stories and experiences that illustrate disclosure and accommodation in the workplace.

I’ve been writing about resilience for about 20 years now—most of that time I’ve worked at Disability Alliance BC (DABC). I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to talk to countless people with disabilities or chronic illnesses about their experiences.

Each story is unique but the common thread that intrigues me is the extraordinary creativity, commitment and determination that carries people forward despite their challenges. Our society focuses so exclusively on perceived deficits of disability that problem-solving, creative thinking and tenacity are overlooked. The consequences of disability deficit thinking is especially serious in the employment arena. Our experience at DABC led us to explore the flip-side of disability deficit thinking in the form of a guide to disability disclosure and accommodation in the workplace.

According to the Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012, there were 334,800 individuals aged 15-64 with disabilities in BC (10.8%).* Statistics Canada reports that in 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25-64 with disabilities was 49% compared with 79% for those without a disability.** In BC, the $800/month ($9,600/year) earnings exemption for a single person receiving disability benefits provides an opportunity for people with disability/chronic illness to supplement their income with part-time employment.

Thanks to support from the Law Foundation of BC, DABC is developing a reader-friendly guide on the law relating to disclosing disability in employment settings. Disclosing Your Disability: A Guide for People with Disabilities In BC is intended for people with all types of disabilities (including visible and invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses). Some people are able to work full-time with appropriate accommodation while others may be able to work part-time. Others may be employed but face a need for disclosure due to acquired disability or chronic illness. The guide will address legal rights and responsibilities of disclosure and provide practical activities and worksheets to guide readers through self-assessment and to elicit and document individual strengths. A reference list of sample accommodations and resources will equip potential employees and employers with ideas and a place to begin planning.

We’d like help from you too. The guide will include six experiences of people with disabilities/chronic illness and six stories from employers to illustrate disclosure and accommodation in the workplace. If you know of someone who would be willing to share their experience, please ask them to contact me.

Shelley Hourston is a program director at DABC and can be reached at 604-875-0188 (toll-free 1-877-232-7400) or

*Statistics Canada. Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012. Table 1.11: Prevalence of Disability for Adults by Sex and Age Group, British Columbia, 2012. 

**Statistics Canada. Persons with Disabilities and Employment (Insights on Canadian Society) by Martin Turcotte. 2014.


Going to BC Provincial Court? New Resources For You.

Handouts contain short URLs that forward to the Common Question page where the resources are accessible and the handout is available as a shareable PDF download

You may be familiar with Clicklaw’s Common Questions. While you can use Clicklaw’s search and navigation to narrow down resources, sometimes it’s easier to get help picking a few to start with. This is where the Common Questions come in.

We have been working with Judge Ann Rounthwaite of the BC Provincial Court and the Clicklaw Editorial Committee to come up with 3 new special Common Question pages to help you get started with different matters in Provincial Court:

The lists are not exhaustive of all the resources available on these topics. If we included everything possibly out there, it would be much longer than a handy one-pager. We aimed for a mix of helpful basics but also resources that included practical tips for the courtroom.

Check out new resources from the BCPC

The handouts also include some great new resources from the BC Provincial Court. For example, “Preparing for a Family Court Trial in Provincial Court” provides helpful information on Evidence at a Family Court Trial, and what facts can be relevant for your trial depending on what type of Application you are making. See more here.

Everyone is welcome to download, print and share these handouts: judges, court staff, advocates, settlement workers, librarians, and even lawyers who would like to help their clients better understand the court process now have an easy starting point to direct to. If you are a Self-Represented Litigant, this is a good place to begin. Check it out!


Essay Contest for BC High School Students

Magna Carta and its relevance to Canada in the 21st century

Click to enlarge poster
Click to enlarge poster

The Law Society of BC invites BC public high school students in the 2014/2015 and 2015/16 academic years who are currently enrolled in, or have taken, Law 12 or Civic Studies 11 courses, to enter an essay contest on Magna Carta and its relevance to Canada in the 21st century.

The essay should include some discussion of the rule of law, human rights and democratic principles.

The submission deadline has been extended to December 31, 2015.

Click here for prize details, eligibility criteria and submission guidelines [PDF].


The Power of Attorney Project Podcast Feature: Law Reform – from a BC Perspective

What is the Power of Attorney Project?

two year technology-based project funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, that aims to educate adult children and seniors about Power of Attorney issues. In their Podcast series, legal, financial and social service experts share their knowledge and give individuals and families an opportunity to increase their understanding and to help them deal with some of the complex and difficult issues of aging.

The B.C. Perspective

B.C.’s Representation Agreement Act inspired Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

One of Clicklaw’s core contributors, Joanne Taylor, Executive Director of Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, was recently featured in a podcast. She explains B.C.’s unique legal tools that empower people in B.C. to plan for the future.

Nidus was founded by citizens and community groups who were involved in the community-based reform of British Columbia’s adult guardianship legislation. Nidus is currently the only community-based resource in Canada devoted to personal planning. Its existence sets British Columbia apart as a leader in addressing the critical needs of an aging population.

Nidus is the expert on Representation Agreements, which are a legal model for supported decision making.  B.C.’s Representation Agreement Act inspired Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (2008) which calls on governments to implement legislation that ensures all adults receive support with decision making without the need to take away or restrict their rights. The Convention has been ratified by Canada.

Listen to the Podcast here. Conversation topics discussed include:

  1. What is Nidus?
  2. What is Nidus’s role?
  3. What legal documents are available in BC to plan for incapacity?
  4. Is it true that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities looked to the Representation Agreement Act of BC for inspiration when it was drafted?
  5. What is the Nidus Personal Planning Registry and could you give us an example of how families can use it?

Webinar-Icon-Orange1-300x281September is Personal Planning Month


Invite for Newcomer Youth from Across Canada

2015 Youth Action Gathering Conference – Vancouver. B.C. – Oct. 3 & 4

The Canadian Council for Refugees, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation’s Fresh Voices Initiative and MOSAIC, invite newcomer youth from across Canada to participate in the 2015 Youth Action Gathering Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The gathering brings together young immigrant and refugee leaders to learn, share, network and collaborate on actions towards common challenges and experiences of newcomer youth communities.

It is also an engaging weekend of leadership and skills building, developing peer relationships and FUN!

WHO Should Participate?

Everyone is welcome to apply; however, space is limited and priority will be given to:

  • Racialized* immigrant and refugee youth
  • Those who can make a commitment to attend the full event
  • Immigrant & refugee youth from across Canada, aged 16 to 25 years
  • Youth settlement workers and allies

*We recognize that race is a social construct, people as “racialized immigrant person” or “racialized people” are immigrants who also belong to a “racial minority”, “visible minority”, or are seen as “people of colour” or “non-White” (adjusted from OHRC).

Continue reading Invite for Newcomer Youth from Across Canada


Clicklaw is now Mobile-Friendly

This June, we introduced the mobile-friendly version of Clicklaw Wikibooks.

Since then, mobile use of the Wikibooks has gone up nearly 50%.

Today, we’re happy to announce that the main Clicklaw website has also gone mobile-friendly! You can now better access the information available on Clicklaw—any time and anywhere.

Can you spot any difference between Clicklaw mobile sites on Android vs. iOS?

Continue reading Clicklaw is now Mobile-Friendly


Tell the Chief Judge what you think about online publication of criminal court information

Update: Extension of deadline to October 1, 2015. In light of the interest shown in the issues raised by the Consultation Memo, the Chief Judge has extended the time for members of the public to make written submissions. Comments are now sought on or before October 1, 2015.

by the Provincial Court of British Columbia
Cross-posted from eNews

Visit the Provincial Court of BC website:

The B.C. Provincial Court appears to be the only criminal trial court in Canada that provides remote online access to adult criminal court case information. You can access accused persons’ names, charges, bail orders and sentences through Court Services Online (CSO).

Online access like this raises unique tensions between fundamental principles of open courts, the presumption of innocence, and the extent to which personal information should be widely circulated when the outcome of a criminal charge is something other than conviction. The Court’s current policy is not to display case information on CSO after a case has ended if the case has resulted in a stay, withdrawal of charges, or an acquittal or dismissal. The Chief Judge is also considering whether to adopt a policy not to display information about cases that have resulted in “peace bonds” under section 810 of the Criminal Code.

Because there has not been a broad public discussion about what the limits on online publication of criminal case information should be, the Chief Judge invites members of the public, including the media, to comment on these aspects of judicial policy. A Consultation Memorandum has been posted to the Provincial Court website. It outlines the issues and asks for your views. Your comments and discussion will help the Chief Judge determine whether these policies need adjusting and whether they achieve an appropriate balance between openness and privacy considerations.

The Consultation Memorandum also deals with another issue. Members of the media have found that CSO blocks access to case information whenever a publication ban is made. The memorandum explains how publication bans work on CSO and why this blocking happens. The Chief Judge also invites comment on this policy and suggestions for reasonable alternatives.

Please read the Consultation Memorandum to find:

  • information about the policies limiting access to case information when a stay, withdrawal, acquittal or dismissal has been entered;
  • reasons for considering a change to include peace bonds, options for change; and
  • information about the effect of publication bans on the information available on CSO.

Then please send your comments by September 18, 2015 to: Re: CSO Policy Consultation
CSO Policy Consultation
Attention: Mr. Gene Jamieson, Q.C., Senior Legal Officer
Office of the Chief Judge, Provincial Court of British Columbia
337 – 800 Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C.

… and share them on Twitter @BCProvCourt.