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Getting Help

Please note that the BC Civil Liberties Association cannot provide you with legal representation. If you need a lawyer, please see this list of resources for options for free and low-cost legal help.

There is also a great deal of information available on our website that individuals might find useful in dealing with civil liberties issues.  Browse our publications or check out our self-help guide.

In some cases, the BCCLA may be able to provide assistance to individuals with issues affecting their civil liberties. Some examples of civil liberties issues that we might be able to assist with include those relating to accountability of law enforcement, privacy violations, access to information requests, democratic rights, and freedom of expression.

We are most likely to get directly involved in cases that may involve changes to a law or a policy. Concentrating our efforts on addressing laws or policies allows us to maximize the impact of our limited resources. We take on cases that are likely to have an impact on people beyond the individual complainant.

There are many incidents of unfairness and injustice that the BCCLA simply does not have the capacity or the expertise to handle.  If we cannot offer you assistance it does not mean that your complaint is without merit.

Our casework line is staffed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to noon and from 1pm to 4pm. We will not be able to answer or respond to calls outside of those times. The number is 604-630-9754 or toll free: 1-866-731-7507.

You may email the BCCLA at casework(at)bccla.org.

Correspondence can also be mailed to the BCCLA at: 900 Helmcken Street, 2nd floor, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1B3

WHAT WE CAN DO:

  • Assist individuals filing formal complaints with public bodies, such as privacy complaints and police complaints.
  • Provide resources to those filing Freedom of Information requests.
  • Provide contact information for other organizations that provide more specialized services, direct advocacy services, or low-cost or free legal assistance.
  • Provide individuals with general legal informationthrough our plain-language legal handbooks, such as The Arrest Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights.
  • Help individuals with formal written correspondence in their efforts to resolve their civil liberties concerns.

The BCCLA also works on issues of national security and physician assisted dying. If you have an issue raising one of these topics, we will do our best to connect you with the appropriate person and/or resources.

Handout + Tools for the Public:

HIV-Handbook-cover

HIV Testing Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights

This handbook covers some of the topics that you need to know to understand your rights in regards to HIV testing in a new environment where the push is for “routine testing”. It covers topics like informed consent, “non-nominal” (no … Read More

HIV-Pocketbook-cover

HIV Testing Pocketbook: A Guide to Your Rights

This pocketbook covers some of the topics that you need to know to understand your rights in regards to HIV testing in a new environment where the push is for “routine testing”. It covers topics like informed consent, “non-nominal” (no … Read More

20120917-How-to-Make-a-Police-Complaint 2012

Making a Complaint Against the Police

If you think that a police officer acted wrongly, you have the right to complain, whether or not you were personally affected the action. Find out when to complain, how to complain, and what to include by using our guide. … Read More

electronic-pocket

Electronic Devices Pocket Guide

The law around searches at the border was designed for a time when people could only bring a small amount of personal information with them, but seem out of date in a time when someone can bring every bit of … Read More

Arrest-pocketbook

The Arrest Pocketbook: A Guide to Your Rights

revised 2008. 20 pp. Available in: English Arabic Spanish The pocketbook is a mini-version of the handbook and explains in plain language the range of conduct citizens can expect from police in the lawful exercise of their duties.

Arrest

The Arrest Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights

This handbook explains in plain language the range of conduct citizens can expect from police in the lawful exercise of their duties. Revised 2010. 62 pp. Available in: Arabic English Spanish Vietnamese Contents: Introduction Chapter 1 – The Police and Arrest … Read More