Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day! All's Fair in Love and the Law

We at LawMatters have heard from libraries that patrons regularly ask questions about marriage, separation and divorce. Given the holiday season, we thought now would be a great time to talk relationships: the joyful, the not so joyful, and (unfortunately) the downright awful.

We have gathered together some legal information resources that may help you respond to questions about starting, ending, and being in romantic relationships -- now and throughout the year. You may want to keep it on hand! Save it as a bookmark for ready reference when you're working the desk and someone approaches with just such a question. Check them out below: 

General Family Law

Couples and Common-Law
Getting Married in British Columbia

Looking for an in-house print resource?
Your library will have JP Boyd on Family LawWritten
as a plain language, practical resource for the general
public, this book has been provided for free to all library
systems in BC through the LawMatters Program.

Want to learn more?
Register for any of the 2020 Family Law Webinar SeriesIt kicks off on Wednesday February 19th with JP Boyd on Divorce: Legal reference basics, tips & tricks (link to register).

The series is specifically designed for librarians and front-line library staff – yes, you! John-Paul Boyd, the founding author, will be joining courthouse librarians in a discussion framed by reference questions to show you how to find reliable and relevant information in the JP Boyd on Family Law Wikibook.

Looking forward to *seeing* you there!

This is a blog post from LawMatters – a program of Courthouse Libraries BC that helps public libraries to build, access and use legal information collections to improve access to justice in BC. Learn more on our website

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 Family Law Webinar Series

Announcing a new webinar series:

Using JP Boyd on Family Law in Library Reference with John-Paul Boyd, Q.C & LawMatters

Library staff have reported to us that family law related questions are some of the most common types of legal reference questions they field. In response, LawMatters has teamed up with John-Paul Boyd -- the founding author of JP Boyd on Family Law -- to offer a series of webinars on prevailing family law topics. Created specifically for library staff, this series aims to increase your confidence using this comprehensive, plain-language and practical resource in your reference work.
Each interactive 1-hour webinar will be a combination of presentation and Q & A. An introduction will cover basic principles, including how and where to find topics in the JP Boyd on Family Law wikibook. Afterwards, the floor will open and you’ll have the opportunity to pose questions and see how John-Paul navigates the resource to find authoritative, reliable information. Front-line courthouse librarians will be hosting alongside John-Paul to share their own experiences, as well as tips and tricks.
We invite you to join us with questions in mind. What do patrons ask at the reference desk? Which of those questions have you struggled to find answers to?  Learn how to find the right information for those questions and others, such as “how do I get divorced?” or “my ex won’t pay child support, what can I do?”
This is also a chance for you to tell us what you’d like to see in the next edition of JP Boyd on Family Law, set to be released when the new Divorce Act comes into force in July. We’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t in terms of format, organization, and content to make this resource an even better tool for you.
About the presenter: John-Paul Boyd, QC is an accredited family law arbitrator, family law mediator and parenting coordinator, providing services throughout Alberta and BC. He will be joined by LawMatters and front-line courthouse library staff who respond to these types of questions every day and rely on this resource to do so.
There is no requirement for you to enroll in every installment of this series. The content of each one will stand alone. Please feel free to register for as many or as few as you can. 
Please share widely among your colleagues!
Part 1 - JP Boyd on Divorce: Legal reference basics, tips & tricks
In a discussion framed by actual reference questions, learn how to find reliable information about divorce in the JP Boyd on Family Law Wikibook.
Date: Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
Time: 9:00 - 10:00am (PST)

Part 2 - JP Boyd on Common-law relationships: Legal reference basics, tips & tricks
What do people need to know about starting and ending common-law relationships? Learn where to relevant and reliable information.
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
Time:  9:00 - 10:00am (PST)
Part 3 - JP Boyd on Property: Legal Reference basics, tips & tricks
What happens to property and debt when marriages break down? What if spouses live in different provinces? Join us to find out how and where to find answers.
Date: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Time:  9:00 - 10:00am (PST)
Part 4 - JP Boyd on Enforcing Family Law Orders: Legal Reference basics, tips & tricks
Has a patron ever told you they’re struggling to get their ex to pay child support? Learn where to find the information they need to help them get their family law orders enforced.
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
Time:  9:00 - 10:00am (PST)
Parts 5 & 6 - JP Boyd on … to be determined! 
We’re trying something different for the last two webinars and leaving the topics open, dependent on your feedback. We’d like the flexibility to allow for other topics of common interest to emerge and be addressed.  We also want to use some of this time to discuss the new Divorce Act that will come into force in July 2020 so you feel more informed about what to expect, and where to find the information you need when the time comes.
The format of these sessions will be the same as those previous in the series: a combination of presentation and Q & A. Topics to be determined and announced on Wednesday, May 6th.
Dates:  Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 & Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
Time:  9:00 - 10:00am (PST)
We hope you can join us! If you can't make it, all webinars will be recorded and available afterward on our vimeo channel.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you'd like answered, or any other questions you may have about the series at

Hope to see you there!

All the best,
Megan and the LawMatters team at Courthouse Libraries BC

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How to get the most out of Legal Aid BC's "Family Law in BC" website in your public library service

This webinar for public librarians will demonstrate how to find family law resources for your patrons using Legal Aid BC's Family Law in BC website. The webinar will be 45 minutes  including a Q&A session.

Register here! December 3rd, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm (PT) 

This webinar is open to all public library staff, please forward to your colleagues.

The Family Law in BC website is a plain language family law resource that helps people manage family law issues outside of court. This webinar will show you how to navigate the site to find information on separation & divorce, children, finances & support and abuse and family violence

About the presenter: 
Nate Prosser is a Project Analyst – Digital Delivery at Legal Aid BC. He manages and leads the development of major digital projects that improve the impact of online materials and increase access to justice in the province. 

What: Webinar - How to get the most out of Legal Aid BC's "Family Law in BC" website in your public library service
Presenter: Nate Prosser, hosted by LawMatters | Courthouse Libraries BC (funded by the Law Foundation of BC). 
Date: December 3rd, 2019
Time: 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm 
Cost: Free 

Can't make this time? We will be recording the webinar for future access.

Questions? Contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Free Professional Development Opportunities for Library Staff!

Check out these upcoming webinars hosted by Courthouse Libraries:

Know Your Rights: A Primer for Advocates & Service Providers
When: November 19, 2019, 12:30 - 1:30
Register here:

In this webinar Pivot Legal Society will present on the legal rights of people who rely on public space, with an aim to equip advocates and service providers to serve their clients and prioritize their rights.  This information is based on the handbook they recently released also titled Know Your Rights.
Topics will include street stops and detention, rights upon arrest, rights in your home, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, police search and seizure, bylaw enforcement, and private security guard enforcement. Pivot staff will also provide an overview of relevant police complaint processes and highlight the barriers that make these processes largely inaccessible.

Freedom of Information: Tips & Troubleshooting
When: November 21st, 2019, 12:30 - 2:00
Register here:  
This webinar will be co-presented by Mike Larsen, President of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (BC FIPA) and Alexandra Wieland, Information and Privacy Archivist at SFU. 
It is geared towards people who have some experience preparing and filing FOI requests, and who are looking for advice regarding challenges that arise during the process. If you have had questions from library patrons about this and would like to learn more, please join us! 
The presenters have invited participants to send any questions in advance so they can address specific issues you may have experienced. Questions can be sent to

We hope you can join us!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Webinar: How to field family law questions with JP Boyd on Family Law (Oct. 29, 2019)

For public librarians, this half-hour webinar features updates to family law and how the publication JP Boyd on Family Law (2019) can help patrons with family law topics including separationdivorcecustody and much more

Register here!  October 29th at 3:00 pm-3:30 pm (PT) 
founding author JP Boyd will address how this publication can help you to support your reference service.  We will offer ample opportunity for Q&A with JP Boyd.

This webinar is open to all public library staff, please forward to your colleagues.

About the presenter: 
John-Paul Boyd is the founding author of JP Boyd on Family Law. He is an accredited family law arbitrator, family law mediator and parenting coordinator, providing services throughout Alberta and British Columbia. Read more!

What: Webinar How to use JP Boyd on Family Law in your Public Library service.
Presenter: JP Boyd, hosted by LawMatters | Courthouse Libraries BC (funded by the Law Foundation of BC)
Date: October 29, 2019
Time: 3:00 - 3:30 pm (PT)
Cost: Free

Can't make this time? We will be recording the webinar for future access.

Available online and in print! 

Most public libraries in BC will have by now received a print copy of JP Boyd on Family Law 2019 through LawMatters.  It is also available online through Clicklaw Wikibooks (an e-publishing platform).
The online version of JP Boyd on Family Law is laid out in a Wikipedia-like format  and provides a helpful option to print sections of the book.

Questions? Contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Community Legal Information Workshops at Public Libraries

Public Librarians, Community Advocates and Service Providers: 


LawMatters is working together with BC libraries to host free community legal information workshops to improve community access to legal information, resources and services.

In partnership with the Kootenay Library Federation, we have planned a series of events to be hosted at several Kootenay library locations in early October. We have also been working with Squamish Public Library in planning an event for Sea-to-Sky communities in early November.

Public library staff, local community advocates, and service providers have been invited to come together and share their knowledge. Our goal is to strengthen connections and awareness by providing an opportunity to gather, discuss our respective services and common community needs, to ask questions and to share resources.

We also hope to identify gaps in legal information and discuss how, as a community and we at our local libraries, can help fill those gaps and meet our communities' legal information needs. All this with coffee and light snacks!

This will be followed by a training component for library staff focused on legal information resources and referrals.

Due to space considerations at host libraries, these events are by invitation only and must be RSVP'd. If you are interested in attending, please contact us for details. Space permitting, we'd love to have as many voices and perspectives at the table as we can.

If you are interested in hosting a community legal information workshop in your region, please let us know! You can reach us via email at: or by phone at 604-660-9204.

We hope to see hear from you soon!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Deadline for 60's Scoop applications is August 30th!

Find out if there is someone in your community that can help with the application process here:

Realizing that people living outside the Lower Mainland were struggling to find help in completing the application, Povnet quickly put together this resource:

This website lists all the organizations in the province (by region) that are helping survivors get their applications done. If you have patrons looking for support, please check out this amazing resource to see if there is someone in your area that can help - and thank you so much to Povnet!

Photo attribution:  Crystal Luxmore.
Sixties Scoop Rally & March at Allen Gardens, Toronto, Fall, 2011 (Modified: resized)
Used under Creative Commons non-commercial use license CC BY-NC 2.0