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Hot off the Press – Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet Card

Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet CardThe Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet Card has been reprinted and is now available for order. This wallet card lets Aboriginal parents know about their right to get legal advice if they’re being investigated for a child protection matter. It provides the Legal Aid phone number, and encourages parents to call as soon as possible to find out if they qualify for a free lawyer.



Recently, a ground-breaking conference on gamification was held in San Francisco that drew hundreds of participants. What, you ask, is gamification?

Gamification is taking ideas from games and using them in other contexts to encourage people to take certain actions. Fitness apps are a good example of this. On the one end of the scale, there are apps like Fitocracy, which awards you points for working out and lets you compete with friends. On the other extreme you have apps like Zombies, Run!, which has you listen to a story as you run; every once in a while, zombies will attack and you have to run as fast as you can. Once the danger has passed, you can return to jogging. (Some of you may recognize that this is actually interval training.)
You may be wondering what this has to do with legal aid. The idea of gamification definitely sounds like it’s a bit out there, but if you think about it, it really is just an application of behavioural psychology. Now that’s something that we’re really interested in. We spend a lot of time trying to explain really long and complicated processes. We know that some people will drop out of any online process, legal or otherwise. There could be a lot of reasons for this – from the stress of a situation to getting distracted by the family pet – regardless of the reason, we need to know if there are ways we can tweak how we present information to encourage people to keep at it and not give up.

San Francisco

How do you motivate people to do things that they know they should do but can’t quite make themselves do? In general, I think most people who come to us start out very motivated; they want a divorce or they need to help a friend find help with their legal problem. But the fact is that most legal issues can’t be solved in one sitting. They take time and, as that time passes, things crop up in their lives that affect how motivated they are.

One of the experts in motivation is BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford and a keynote speaker at the San Francisco conference. To oversimplify his message to one sentence: for someone to do a certain behaviour, they need to be motivated to do it, have the ability to do it, and then have the thought to do it. In our case, we’ve put a lot of work into making sure that people have the ability to use our resources. With what we’ve learned about the theory of motivation, we have a good starting point for making our resources more engaging, which should hopefully help people stick with them to achieve what they set out to.

Emperor_Joshua_A__Norton_ISan Francisco Fact: Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico, was one of San Francisco’s most famous residents. He declared himself Emperor of the United States in 1859 and lived out his life in San Francisco as a local celebrity and even issued his own currency, which was accepted in the city.

He was once arrested by a police officer who wanted him institutionalized. There was a public outcry and the Police Chief ordered Norton released saying, “that he had shed no blood; robbed no one; and despoiled no country; which is more than can be said of his fellows in that line.” After that, he was saluted by any San Francisco police officers who saw him in the street.

–Nate Prosser, Online Outreach Coordinator

Hot off the press – Speaking to the Judge Before You’re Sentenced

Speaking To The JudgeBack in stock! Speaking to the Judge Before You’re Sentenced has been revised and reprinted. There have been some changes to the law regarding fines; previous versions of the brochure should be recycled.

This brochure outlines the possible sentences for someone pleading guilty or found guilty. It explains in plain language what you can say to the judge before the judge decides on a sentence. It also contains information for Aboriginal people on their Gladue rights and how to talk to the judge about their Aboriginal background.

Family law Word forms now available

A few years ago, we took down our Word versions of many court forms as they had been replaced by new official PDF court forms from the government. However, we heard that people missed the Word versions and so we decided to bring them back. There are now 23 new and improved Supreme Court family law forms in Word format available on our Family Law in BC website. You can find these forms on our Court Forms page; they are also linked to anytime that those forms are mentioned on the site.

Over the last few months, we’ve created, refined, and tested these forms. They can be used in a range of family law cases, including divorces, changing child support, or changing parenting. These forms all go a step beyond being just forms; included with each of these forms are instructions and tips that help you fill out the form quickly and correctly. Some of the more complicated forms also have additional, more detailed instructions and tips.

These forms were created with funding from The Law Foundation.

Hot off the press – For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders

forYourProtectionBack in stock: our popular booklet, For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders, is again available from Crown Publications. We’ve reprinted both the English and the Punjabi versions with minor improvements: we’ve added information about the court forms needed for a protection order and also that Supreme Court fees can sometimes be waived. For Your Protection explains how and when people can apply for peace bonds and family law protection orders, and what the differences are between them. The booklet is also available in Chinese (simplified and traditional) and French (online only).

Parents’ Rights, Kids’ Rights is now online-only

pub_thumbnail_PRKRWe’ve run out of print copies of Parents’ Rights, Kids’ Rights. This booklet was developed for advocates and intermediaries and provides comprehensive information about child protection law in BC. You can still read the online PDF on our website. You can download it to your computer for easy access.

If you want to print out a page for your client to take home and refer to, select that page in your printer settings.


If you need a publication to give out to your clients who are experiencing a child protection legal issue, If Your Child is Taken: Your Rights as a Parent is a smaller, more client-friendly next-step guide. This brochure is available to order in print from Crown Publications.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email us at publications@lss.bc.ca.

Hot off the Press – Defending Yourself booklets

Comment vous défendreBack in stock! We’ve reprinted four booklets in the new Defending Yourself series: Breach of a Court Order, Mischief, Possession of an Illegal Drug, and Possession of Property Under $5,000 Obtained by Crime.

These redesigned publications replace booklets from the What to Do If You Are Charged series. 

Atira releases an Aboriginal focussed book

Atira Women’s Resource Society has released a new publication, Your Rights on Reserve: A Legal Tool-Kit for Aboriginal Women in BC (PDF). The goal of Atira Women’s Resource Society is to end violence against women. They provide direct services to women in need and raise awareness on the issue.

Your Rights on Reserve is a legal toolkit for Aboriginal women, which explains their rights in plain language. This publication covers a range of topics, including:

  • taxation,
  • education,
  • family law,
  • relationship violence,
  • band membership, and more.

This publication is available online and in print.

Running out of print copies of Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse

Surviving Relationship Violence and AbuseSurviving Relationship Violence and Abuse was written for advocates and community workers so they could help their clients understand their legal rights with respect to relationship abuse. We’re about to run out of printed copies of this booklet. With a tight print budget this year, we’re currently focused on printing publications that were written for clients, who often can’t access computers easily. Therefore, we plan to keep Surviving online for community workers to use as a reference. The online version is a searchable PDF, and pages can be printed to give to clients for information as needed.

Testing our publications for usability has shown that many clients struggle to use large, comprehensive booklets. That’s why we created (and recently translated) the Live Safe – End Abuse fact sheets. We’ve also just reprinted the small booklet For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders. Please check these publications out and order them online from Crown Publications to give out to your clients.

If you have any comments, please email us at publications@lss.bc.ca.

Hot of the Press: Social Assistance on Reserve in BC

Social Assistance on ReserveWe have updated and reprinted our booklet Social Assistance on Reserve in BC. Reprinted for the first time since 2008, this booklet features a whole new look and revised, easy-to-read content.

This booklet explains in plain language:

  • who’s eligible for social assistance on reserve,
  • what benefits are available,
  • how to apply for benefits,
  • your rights and responsibilities while you’re on benefits, and
  • how to appeal a decision about your benefits.

The booklet also features a comprehensive “Who can help” section, with detailed information on where to find an advocate in communities throughout BC, where to get legal help and information, as well as other resources.