Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update November 9

* Amendments to the Citizenship Regulations and Updated Guidelines Regarding the Citizenship Test Citizenship and Immigration Canada Oct. 13, 2010

New on Clicklaw:
* Do You Need Free Legal Advice? (Brochure) Available in 11 languages. Access Pro Bono Society of BC

* Five Ways to Protect Yourself as a Landlord (Fact Sheet) Available in 5 languages.Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC)

* From Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry:
- Enduring Power of Attorney Fact Sheet
- What's in a Registry?
- Personal Information Record
- Representation Agreements as a Legal Tool for Supported Decision-Making: Bruce's Story (Videos) Part 1 and Part 2

* From Legal Services Society's Family Law in BC website:
- How to get a final family order in Provincial Court if you agree
- How to deal with a committal hearing (because you've fallen behind in your support payments)
- Old Rules/New Rules in Supreme Court

Legal blogs:
* Your Right to Breastfeed in Canada Shannon Salter’s Rights and Remedies Sept 22, 2010

* On the importance of PLE (Public Legal Education) for youth… Displays a 9 minute video from a U.K. organization. Alberta Legal Resource Centre Blogosaurus Lex Oct. 12, 2010

* From JP Boyd’s BC Family Law Resource Blog:
- CBC Reports Continuing Government Concern with Fraudulent Marriages: Sham, wow. Nov. 8, 2010
- The Ins and Outs of Separation... Part III:The Whens [date of separation] Nov. 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Courtenay Branch Library Legal Information Community Forum

Mari Martin, Manager of the Courtenay Branch Public Library, hosted a lively Legal Information Community Forum on October 5th. Representatives from Wachiay Friendship Centre, RCMP Victim Services, Family Justice Services, Comox Military Family Resource Centre, Service BC, Comox Valley Women's Resource Centre, Courtenay Library, Native Courtworkers and Counselling Association of BC, and Salvation Army Pro Bono Service attended.

After each participant described the services their agency offers, the forum discussion included the barriers clients face, such as literacy and privacy issues when accessing legal information from a variety of resources.

The group was keen to see follow-up from the meeting, such as bringing speakers to the library to provide community workshops on topics such as Drinking and Driving Charges, Residential Tenancy and Power of Attorney. Speakers from the People's Law School speaker service, and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre were suggested. Ongoing community interagency meetings were also recommended.

Evaluation responses included appreciations:
  • Useful to see the faces of agencies I frequently make referrals to.
  • Opportunity to network and become more informed.
  • Updates re current services/resources.
  • The informal, round-table atmosphere made it very easy to retain the information!
  • Overview of website Clicklaw.
Suggestions to improve public access to legal resources:
  • More 1- 1 help
  • More coordination of resources
  • Training of retired or disabled professionals to work as volunteer advocates in their preferred field.
We continue to plan more legal information forums: write to jfreeman@courthouselibrary.ca if you would like a forum in your community.

Thanks to Courtenay Library Customer Services Librarian Jason Kuffler for the photos below!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update September 30

* Posts from the Clicklaw Blog:

Shoplifting and Scary Letters September 28, 2010

Finding Probate Forms Online September 22, 2010

New BC Law on Impaired Driving September 20, 2010

* From the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities: CPP Disability Benefits Program Re-opens. Also see CPP Disability Information and Assistance Series of print resources.

* BC Representative for Children and Youth Annual Report April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2010 [64 pp PDF]

* From JP Boyd's BC Family Resource Blog: Court Services Online Drops Criminal Fees Court Services Online has dropped the fee charged to access its full criminal proceedings database.

*New on Legal Services Society's Family Law in BC website:

• Six new translations of a publication: Living Together or Living Apart: Common-law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce (in Arabic, Chinese [traditional], Farsi [Persian], French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese)

• One new frequently asked question: We've just separated, and we have two children, who live with my husband. How can I figure out how much child support I need to pay him?

• Links to five sample completed Provincial Court forms added to the Sample completed court forms page.

• One new fact sheet: Information for people with family law cases (child support orders) in Kelowna Provincial Court

• One reviewed and updated self-help guide: How to change a family order in Provincial Court if you cannot agree

• One new link to the Ministry of Children and Family Development's Extended Family Program added to the Child protection/removal, Grandparents/Relatives, and Youth links.

Legislation / court rules links to the acts or regulations concerning family law issues.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Law Display at the Williams Lake Library

Tracy Dunlop is the Branch Assistant for the Williams Lake Branch of Cariboo Regional Library, and a former student of the Community Library Training Program Legal Information Sources online course. Tracy wrote to LawMatters about a recent the legal information display at her Branch:

"I was very pleased with how well it was received. I ordered a large number of handouts earlier and for the entire month of August had the display. Items went out everyday, and I even did up handouts that had the law contacts on it. Unfortunately most of our handouts are usually kept in an area with other community handouts against a far wall that are not seen much, so it was nice to get them right out near the front door.

I really enjoyed the course you facilitated through BC Libraries and the webinars, and if you are doing it again, you have another member of our staff who will be taking the 8 week course.

I am now in my third year of my library tech (part-time) and have recently become the Branch Assistant for the Williams Lake Branch."

Nice work, Tracy, and thanks to Drew Jackson of Courthouse Libraries BC for taking pictures during his recent holiday in the Cariboo Chilcotin area!

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

* Mothers Without Legal Status in Canada - Information for Service Providers YWCA Vancouver, 2009

* LawMatters Law Books for Libraries Update [scroll down to Law Books for Libraries] August 2010. Includes titles on collaborative divorce, estate planning, and condominium ownership.

* New from the Legal Services Society Family Law in BC website:

- How to Use the New Supreme Court Family Forms video and transcript

- How to serve documents when the other party is avoiding service or not available

- How to deal with a Judicial Case Conference

Legal Blogs:
* When Are You Legally Required to Support Your Parents? Rights & Remedies, August 9, 2010

* A Question about Copyright on the Internet Blogosaurus Lex, August 4, 2010.

* New Fillable Court Forms: Questions and Answers, Tips and Tricks The Stream, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

* Resources for new Supreme Court Rules and Forms:
- Justice Education Society has updated and expanded its Supreme Court Self-Help Guidebook series, and launched a new website, SupremeCourtBC.ca .

- Clicklaw has added these common questions:
8Where can I find the new court rules and forms for Supreme Court cases?
8Can I fill in the new court forms online?
8I'm trying to prepare a case under the new Supreme Court rules
8My Supreme Court case started before July 1, 2010. Will the new rules affect me?

Other new online resources:
* People’s Law School released Human Trafficking in Canada 2nd ed. [16 pp] June 2010

* A useful list describing Justice Education Society's series of websites was published in Legal Services Society's May 2010 Elan newsletter.

* Paternity Issues is an online guide at JP Boyd's BC Family Law Resource. For other common questions, see the How Do I? page.

* G20 protests and the power of regulations, from the Alberta Legal Resource Centre's Blogosaurus Lex blog - scroll down to posts from June 25 and June 30, although there are many interesting posts on this blog!

*Updated Resources for Libraries and Community Groups from LawMatters [scroll down to Toolkits and Resources]:
8 BC Toll Free Phone Numbers Legal Information and Advice Referral List [June 2010]
8 LawMatters Reading Guides [March 2010]
8 Multilingual Legal Information Titles [March 2010]
8 Separation and Divorce in BC Research Guide template [June 2010]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Legal Information Community Forum in Nanaimo

On May 27th, Customer Services Librarian Valerie Grace of the Nanaimo Harbourfront Branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library hosted a very successful forum of community groups who work with legal information. Representatives attended from Haven Transition House and Community Victim Services, Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, Immigrant Welcome Centre, Legal Services Society Local Agent and Aboriginal Community Legal Worker, Nanaimo & Area Resource Services for Families, Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association, Nanaimo Justice Access Centre, Povnet, and the Nanaimo Courthouse Library.

Comments from participants included:
  • Thank you for hosting and to those who participated - it re-affirms for me the need for civil law services for those who do not have funds for a lawyer.

  • The networking is very useful, and learning what other agencies do.

  • Meeting other community groups with the same interests is helpful.

  • It would be good to meet regularly, for example twice a year, and have email contact to announce changes.

Courthouse Libraries Community Outreach Manager Drew Jackson also attended to provide an introduction to the website Clicklaw, and put together a slide show of the event:

If you would like to host a legal information forum in your community, please contact LawMatters Coordinator Janet Freeman at jfreeman@courthouselibrary.ca

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

* Artists' Legal Outreach is a group of volunteer lawyers and law students in Vancouver committed to working with artists and arts organizations. Their legal information index provides resources such as Artist Management Agreements and Artist Studio Guidelines.

* The Assaulted Women's Helpline of Toronto released the Survivor's Guide to Freedom from Violence video. This Canadian video resource educates the public, trains professionals and provides guidance for women working towards violence-free lives. [high definition, 25 minutes] April 2010

* BC Coalition of People with Disabilities has two helpsheets now available in Chinese (traditional) :
- The Persons with Disabilities Benefit Application [12 pp PDF ] 2010
- Checklist for the Persons with Disabilities Benefit [6 pp PDF] 2010
See the list of BC Coalition of People with Disabilities Helpsheets.

* BC Ministry of Housing and Social Development Online Resource lists all procedures and program information for eligibility for ministry employment and assistance programs and provides a table of contents PDF with all topics linked to web pages. Updated: April 8, 2010

* Clicklaw blog post May 11: Passing of the Torch: LawLINK and Electronic Law Library have been retired and now redirect visitors to Clicklaw.

* Courthouse Libraries BC blog post May 13: Research Tool: Asked & Answered, Now with Popular Case Names describes Courthouse Libraries web pages that provide a database of starting points for legal research on a large number of legal information queries.

* Irwin Law recently launched the Canadian Online Legal Dictionary which contains words and phrases defined in glossaries of Canadian law books published by Irwin Law.

* Legaltree.ca is a collaborative forum by Canadian lawyers of research resources, and includes a page of links to BC bylaws.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BC Library Association Award and other Winners!

The Law Foundation of BC received the Keith Sacré Library Champion Award at the annual awards event of the BC Library Association in Penticton on April 24th.

Nominated by Surrey Public Library, the award is presented to an individual, organization or business that has a record of support of libraries, literacy, public access to information and the overall aims and objectives of libraries.

The award reads “In recognition of the long-term support for providing public legal information to the residents of BC, and in particular for the Courthouse Libraries BC project, LawMatters.” Mary Mouat, Chair of the Law Foundation's Board of Governors, accepted the award on behalf of the Law Foundation of BC.

Also at the BCLA conference, Courthouse Libraries BC [CLBC] displayed our new legal information campaign for the public, LawStartBC, which describes LawMatters, Clicklaw, the Clicklaw HelpMap and CLBC Reference Services. Congratulations to the librarians who completed the LawStartBC crossword puzzle and received a coveted CLBC water bottle!
- Indira Wickremasinghe, Rossland Public Library
- Jane Curry, Vancouver Public Library
- Judy Foucher, Greenwood Public Library
- Ana Rosa Blue, WorkSafeBC
For a nice collection of photos from the BCLA conference, visit the Clicklaw facebook page.

And finally, winners of the Amazon gift certificate draw of the 2010 Legal Reference Survey participants were:
- Granisle Public Library
- Port Kells Branch of Surrey Public Library
- Science and Business Department of Vancouver Public Library
- Gibsons and District Public Library
Thanks to the 135 library locations that took part in the survey, we had a 98% return of the surveys! We are just finalizing the report which compares legal reference use in 2009 and 2010.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

New/improved websites:

* Charity Central is designed to help Canada's Registered Charities understand their responsibilities under the Income Tax Act.

* Clicklaw.ca improvements:
- over 200 new resources added to the Solve Problems section
- easier to find resources languages other than English
- over 100 “common questions” on the site, featuring resources that are good starting points for information on common legal problems
- a blog highlighting new resources on the Clicklaw homepage.
- Clicklaw is now on Facebook and Twitter!

* ImmigrantLegal.ca provides free legal information, education and resources to newcomers to Canada and the people working with them. Includes information on employment standards and residential tenancy, as well as a series of videos from training sessions for helpers.

* Support Worker Central includes employment standards resources for B.C. support workers who help people with disabilities.

* Voluntary Sector Knowledge Network includes sections on Starting a Non Profit, Governance and Government Relations.

* Legal aid offices have recently been added to New Westminster and Langley. Updated information is available at Where to find a legal aid office.

New/revised publications:

* Legislation Made Easy, 3rd Edition, by Gail Nash. Crown Publications, March 2010

* Free copies of Legal Help For British Columbians; A Guide to Help Non-legal Professionals Make Legal Referrals for Clients is available from the People’s Law School; see their online order form.

From Legal Services Society:

* Consumer Law and Credit/Debt Law 3rd Edition [209 pp PDF] October 2009

* Sponsorship Breakdown 3rd edition [42 pp PDF] November 2009

* Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse [89 pp PDF] February 2010

* Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance 21st edition [146 pp PDF] February 2010

Legal Blogs:

* Cameras in court? Blogosaurus Lex, Alberta Legal Resource Centre, March 24th, 2010

* Remarrying After a Void Marriage BC Family Law Blog April 5, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

* New Online Search Tool from Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Finding Newcomer Services in Your Area (from CLEONet News March 2, 2010)

* New or revised information from Legal Services Society:

- Getting Initial Orders for Custody, Guardianship, Access, and Support in Provincial (Family) Court [Flow Chart] October 2009

- Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce 3rd ed [56pp PDF] December 2009

- Understanding Aboriginal Delegated Agencies [2pp PDF] November 2009

* New from Battered Women's Support Services:

- When Battered Women Are Arrested - A resource for front-line workers [6 pp PDF] March 2010

- When Battered Women Are Arrested - A resource for women [8pp PDF] March 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

E-Government Services And Public Libraries

The American Library Association recently published A Perfect Storm Brewing: Budget Cuts Threaten Library Services at Time of Increased Demand [11 pp PDF] January 2010. The report included this statistic:

"[From 2007 to 2009] There was a 23 percent jump in libraries reporting they provide ssistance to patrons applying for or accessing e-government services" p. 5

Further discussion on this topic may be found in another ALA report: U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services (8 pp PDF] June 2009:

"Increasingly, government agencies refer individuals specifically to their local public libraries for assistance and access to the Internet for citizen-government interactions, but often fail to provide support to libraries in meeting this service need." p. 2

This finding is echoed by many BC public librarians. In particular, Deb Thomas, Deputy Chief & Branch Manager of the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch, Burnaby Public Library recently stated on a listserv discussion:

"This is not a new issue! I was dealing with it in Nelson over the last decade. As government offices reduce and centralize, many areas that were previously served by live bodies in physical buildings are reduced to phone, Internet or driving a long distance to get the services they need. We had many people coming in to apply for jobs online - big rough-handed logger types who had never used a computer before - or apply for various government services or find information on those services. Here in South Burnaby, it's visas and MSP. Yet few government agencies will formally recognize - with funding - the burden they've placed on public libraries. "

To add to the 'perfect storm' in BC, current economic difficulties have resulted in reduced government funding; provincial government grants to BC public libraries were cut 22% in August of 2009.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

New on the Clicklaw Blog:

* Clicklaw HelpMap continues to grow with 78 services offered in over 750 locations across BC! Recently, the Legal Services Society added their Provincial Court Family Duty Counsel and Supreme Court Family Duty Counsel programs to the map. [February 16, 2010]

New or revised publications from Legal Services Society:

* If You Can’t Get a Lawyer for Your Criminal Trial: How to Make A Rowbotham Application 2nd edition [21pp PDF] November 2009. This publication is intended for people facing serious and complex criminal charges who have been denied legal aid but cannot afford a lawyer. It explains why, how, and when to ask the judge to appoint a free lawyer, and includes a checklist of points to cover in court and copies of the necessary court forms.

* If You Can’t Pay Your Court Fine on Time [2pp PDF] February 2009

Other new titles/articles/websites:

* Access to legal aid facing challenges by Mike Simmons, Kelowna Capital News, February 5, 2010.

* BC Workers' Compensation Legal Kit by Jonathan Dykstra and Erika Eineigel, 2010. Helps workers by giving step-by-step guidance regarding injury appeals. Instructions, templates, real-life samples, and precedent letters included. $47.00

* Povnet has redesigned their website which includes a new feature of Government Information, organized by region and by issue.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

LawMatters Training Follow-Up Survey Report

The LawMatters Training Follow-Up Survey Final Report (PDF, 32 pp, December 2009) was recently published on the LawMatters website. The report summarizes the findings of a survey of 70 public library staff who attended the LawMatters Legal Reference Introductory Training in 2008-2009. Two interesting findings:

* Public librarians answer a lot of legal questions: half of those surveyed get at least one legal question per week.

* The LawMatters training significantly raised the confidence of public librarians to handle legal questions, and that confidence increase didn't fade, even 1-2 years after the training was provided:

Medium or High Confidence Level of Public Librarians:
Before training: 42%
Immediately after training: 83%
1-2 years after training: 89% [adapted from p.17]

Librarians also reported on trends in legal reference topics:

"... funding cuts had limited information sources for citizens, potentially leading to more use of free library services. Two librarians noted that unrepresented litigants are bringing more legal reference questions to the library.

Five library staff said that legal documents or court forms are often difficult for patrons to understand, copy or print out. Many questions also require reference to case law and historical reference materials.

Three librarians noted that answers to simple legal reference questions can now be answered on the internet, meaning that librarians are now asked more complex questions. "

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

New on the Clicklaw website:

* 5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Renting (Video) Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, 2009. The video is available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Farsi (Persian), Spanish and Vietnamese.

* If You Are Charged with a Crime (Brochure) Legal Services Society, November 2009. Also available in French.

* You Owe Money and Someone Owes You Money (Videos) People's Law School, January 2010. Animations of a character experiencing debt collection problems. The videos are accompanied by fact sheets You Owe Money and Someone Owes You Money.

Other new titles:

* Immigration Law for Temporary Foreign Workers in English and Immigration Law for Temporary Foreign Workers in Spanish [Powerpoint presentations 35 pp ] are available from the IM-POWER-ED website, which is a community-based legal education and facilitation project for temporary foreign workers.

* Justice for All? [video 8:49 min] from Access to Justice.ca describes the legal aid cutbacks in BC.

* Protesters’ Guide to the Law of Civil Disobedience in British Columbia – Olympic Edition by Vancouver lawyer Leo McGrady, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada . [45 pp PDF] November 2009

* West Coast Environmental Law has a new site which contains links to their publications, newsletter, blog and media releases.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Video: Clicklaw HelpMap Top 5 List

New from the Clicklaw team on the Clicklaw Blog this week:

A 5 minute video posted on YouTube has been created to give a flavour for what the new Clicklaw HelpMap offers. The top 5 things you can do on the HelpMap are:

* You can search by community in British Columbia for someone who can help with legal problems.
* You can locate a result on the map (where we’re integrating with Google Maps).
* You can narrow your results down in a few different ways — by topic (e.g., show me only “Family law” services) or by type of help (e.g., show me only services that provide “legal advocacy, advice or representation”).
* You can start your search by clicking on a topic and narrow down from there.
* You can find services that are provided in languages other than English (by starting with a community in BC and narrowing down by language).

The team would like to hear your feedback on the Clicklaw HelpMap. Please consider taking our 3-minute Clicklaw feedback survey online, posting a comment on the Clicklaw blog, or contacting the editors at editor@clicklaw.bc.ca.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two New Titles From the LawMatters Project

We are pleased to present the following titles produced for BC public libraries, but available to anyone to download:

Legal Help for British Columbians: A Guide to Help Non-legal Professionals Make Legal Referrals for Clients by Cliff Thorstenson of the Nicola Valley Advocacy Centre. [60 pp PDF] 2009. The Guide updates the 2008 Legal Help for Rural British Columbians legal guide, and print copies will be distributed to all BC public and courthouse libraries in January.