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I have COVID-19 legal questions. Who can I talk to in BC?

Category
Updated
20, 07-2020

Ask JES provides free answers to legal questions. See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website for contact information. Call, text or chat live weekdays from 10am to 2pm. During offline hours, ask your question and leave your contact information to get an answer the next business day.  Ask JES provides legal help information and referrals, not legal advice. See the green sidebar for contact details.

Legal Aid BC also provides free legal advice services to eligible individuals. 

Lawyer Referral Service can provide a free consultation (now by phone) with a lawyer. Contact Access Pro Bono at 1-800-663-1919 or (604) 687-3221 or email lawyerreferral@accessprobono.ca.

What are the police and government allowed to do in BC under their COVID-19 emergency powers? What rights do I have?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Emergency powers make it easier and quicker for governments to enact and enforce certain laws to help them address the emergency. The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) made a fact sheet to help you understand What is an Emergency Order?, including what laws governments have used to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and what the risks are if the government went too far. See also the BCCLA’s fact sheet on Policing the Pandemic to learn more about how emergency orders can be enforced during the emergency.  Currently, in BC, police officers, and compliance and enforcement officials can not ticket or detain people who have or whom they suspect may have violated provincial public health orders.

However, one rule has more severe penalties if you don’t follow it. If you’ve just returned to Canada from abroad, you must isolate or quarantine, depending on if you have symptoms. (The federal government website explains the difference.) You can be fined or jailed for failing to follow this order.

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How can I prepare or update my will in BC during the COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Social distancing can make seeing a lawyer of having your signature witnessed more challenging. Fortunately, the People’s Law School has created a mini-guide on Preparing or Updating Your Will During Coronavirus. 

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Where can I get help with legal matters relating to Indigenous Peoples in BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC provides up-to-date information relating to how COVID-19 is impacting the legal system for individuals and families. There is also a legal questions page. The Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC is providing support during court closures as well. Contact your regional office for further assistance. 

If you still have questions, contact aboriginal@lss.bc.ca

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Where can I get help with my COVID-19 business questions?

Date:
July 20, 2020

To get answers to your COVID-19 business questions go to the BC Business COVID-19 Support Service and the  COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre.

For more information on the Supports available go to BC’s COVID-19 Support for Businesses and Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

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I am a new immigrant or refugee, are services still available to me during the COVID-19 health crisis?

Date:
July 6, 2020

Yes. Many services are still available by phone and online channels. 

Mosaic translation services are still available by phone and through online platforms. You can call them at 604-254-8022 or email them at interpretationservices@mosaicbc.org to book an interpreter or inquire about their services. Go HERE for more information. 

SUCCESS provides a broad range of culturally appropriate services to newcomers to Canada. Services include settlement help, housing, counselling, and senior care. Go HERE to find program contact information in a variety of languages. 

The Court Information Program for Immigrants (CIPI) is a free service designed to help new immigrants and refugees understand BC’s justice system.  Currently, services are provided in English, Punjabi, Hindi and Chinese by telephone at 604-760-5727 or by email: Lali.Pawa@JusticeEducation.ca. Staff only provide legal education, information and referrals to the appropriate agencies. For program details, go HERE.

Limited language services are provided by Ask JES. Use the contact information in the green box on the right. When you make contact, say the language you would like to communicate in.

BC211 provides multilingual access to information and services across BC.

Also see, “Where can I find information about COVID-19 Coronavirus in my own language?” for translated COVID-19 information provided by the government. 

To find out how COVID-19 may affect immigration, refugees, citizenship, and passport services, go to the Immigration and Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s COVID-19 page.

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Where can I find more COVID-19 information on housing in BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Tenants and Landlords: See the Residential Tenancy Branch and BC Housing for up to date information on housing programs and FAQs for renters and landlords. Landlord BC has provided information for landlords on communicating with tenants during the COVID-19 health crisis.  

Stratas: The BC Government has provided a guide for COVID-19 Information for Strata Housing. The Condominium Home Owners Association of BC has provided information and bulletins on managing stratas during the health crisis.  

Mortgages: The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has provided some guidance on the Mortgage Deferral Program. Be aware that interest will still be charged during the deferment period. You should contact your lender for details about their policy and options.

Need more help? Ask JES provides free answers to legal questions about housing. Live operators are available from 10 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday (except holidays). See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website for contact details.

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Where can I find more COVID-19 information online for employment law in BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

The People’s Law School provides a great list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 and employment law. The People’s Law School ran a webinar on “Returning to Work During the Pandemic,” and you can watch the recording HERE.

Service Canada has more information on government supports available and guidance for workplaces. 

You can also search the BC Government’s Employment Standards or the BC Click Law Wiki Employment page for information.

BCGEU has information, answers to frequently asked questions, and guides for union members. 

For up to date information on workplace safety relating to COVID-19 see WorkSafeBC.


Need more help? Ask JES provides free answers to employment law questions. Live operators are available 10 am to 2pm from Monday to Friday (except holidays). See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website website for contact details.

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Where can I find more COVID-19 information online about family law in BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Family Law BC has updated information on Family Law Resources.

COVID-19 Legal Questions Common Family Law questions and answers from BC Family Justice. 

For a collection of reliable COVID-19 family law resources see Courthouse Libraries Wiki page.

COVID-19 Family Law Resources (BC) is created by Hannah DeJong, a family lawyer with Boughton Law. The document includes general information and resources for family law issues arising out of the COVID-19 crisis.


Need more help? Ask JES provides free answers to family law questions. Live operators are available 10am to 2pm from Monday to Friday (except holidays). See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website for contact details.

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I need assistance with a family law issue. Who can help me in BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

The Legal Services Society is taking applications for legal aid by phone. Family duty counsel is available by phone.

Family LawLINE is a free telephone advice service for family law matters.

Family Justice Services provides a range of services throughout BC by telephone and other virtual service options. Services include family dispute resolution. 

Unbundled Lawyers provide a more affordable way to get legal advice. It allows clients to pay for specific legal assistance without having a lawyer take on all aspects of their case.  To find a lawyer see the Directory.

LawCoachBC provides personalized guidance and support for those going through a separation or divorce. It is ideal for those that are at the early stages and those interested in settling without going to court. 

Legal Aid BC also has information on mediation services, which can help people with family law problems reach a resolution without going to court.

Need more help? Ask JES provides free answers to family law questions. Live operators are available 10am to 2pm from Monday to Friday (except holidays). See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website for contact details.

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I need help with a COVID-19 legal issue, what online resources are available for BC?

Date:
July 20, 2020

Courthouse Libraries Clicklaw Wikibook: COVID-19 Resources for British Columbians provides a list of links to information dealing with the ways COVID-19 public health directives are affecting people’s lives.   

The People’s Law School has provided a set of common questions and answers to legal questions arising from the coronavirus outbreak ranging from employment to housing to consumer and business. 

PovNet has compiled a list of COVID-19 special resources.

You can now get free help from volunteer paralegals at Amici Curiae Friends of Court, who can help you fill out court forms. Request a virtual appointment at www.legalformsbc.ca.

Need more help? Ask JES provides free answers to family questions. Live operators are available 10am to 2pm from Monday to Friday (except holidays). See the green sidebar on the LegalHelpBC website for contact details.

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