A new legal aid website has been launched to provide British Columbians with answers to legal questions surrounding COVID-19.
The website—www.LegalHelpBC.ca—is from the Justice Education Society (JES), and will help people who have legal questions about the changes to individual rights and responsibilities regarding everyday life and work that have resulted from new policies from the provincial and federal government about the COVID-19 pandemic.
New COVID-19 policies relate to health, work and employment insurance, housing, utilities, and more. Due to the fast-moving situation, new policies are announced almost daily, and Sonia Poulin, CEO of the JES, says that people have a lot of questions.
“We created LegalHelpBC.ca to assist British Columbians during these challenging times,” Poulin says. “A range of organizations are working hard to provide legal information and services during COVID-19. LegalHelpBC.ca provides British Columbians with a starting point to get answers to their COVID-19 legal questions.”
The site gathers current information from more than 20 organizations, providing an online gateway for people to understand their changing legal rights and responsibilities due to COVID-19 and new legislation. Topics include health and safety, work, housing, family, and more.
The site also features “Ask JES”, a live help, information, and referral service. In addition to searching for COVID-19 questions and answers on the website, users can ask their own questions.
Ask JES provides personalized legal help by phone, live chat, or text every weekday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During offline hours, users can leave their phone number or email address to get an answer to their question the next business day.
Development of LegalHelpBC.ca is funded by the Law Foundation of BC and the JES. Along with announcements from the Government of Canada and various B.C. government agencies, the site consolidates information available from the Legal Service Society, the Peoples Law School, PovNET, and many other B.C. legal services organizations.