Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program (VLAP)

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, BC & Yukon Division
May 31 2019 - 5:00pm

35 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional evening or weekend work may be required.


Pay rate will be decided based on education and experience of the
individual. Applicants must state salary expectations within their
application in order to be considered.

Job Description: 

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, making MS Canada’s disease. The MS Society of Canada is the country’s leading MS advocate, funding leading research in MS and programs & services that help people live well with the disease.

This role reports to the Manager, Provincial Programs, BC & Yukon Division. People affected by MS often face a variety of advocacy and/or legal challenges such as filling out their Canada Pension Plan – Disability application forms, addressing human rights violations, making disability insurance claims and dealing with estate planning issues. The goal of VLAP is to provide advocacy support and free legal advice to people affected by MS within the BCY Division.VLAP provides a team of trained volunteers who assist clients to secure disability income as well as volunteer lawyers who provide services free of charge to those in financial need.

The Specialist, VLAP is one of the first points of contact for people living with MS who are experiencing advocacy and/or legal issues. The main function of this position is to gather pertinent information regarding the client’s advocacy/legal issue, provide information and education, offer community referrals, and provide advocacy support when appropriate. Such advocacy support involves providing navigation support through complex disability applications and appeals.The role also involves volunteer engagement as well as administrative tasks.The Specialist, VLAP works closely with the Program Assistant, Supervising Lawyers, the Advisory Committee and MS Society staff to serve clients with legal and/or advocacy issues.

This position is a position of trust. The incumbent will be required to complete the screening process including completion of appropriate background checks in compliance with the National Screening Measures Policy.

Skills and Qualities Required: 

University degree and a minimum 3-5 years related experience in the legal/advocacy community and not-for-profit sector, or equivalent in education and experience.
•Hands on legal and advocacy experience is essential.
•Experience in volunteer engagement is preferred.
•Excellent interpersonal and communication skills on the phone, in writing and in person
•Able to remain calm under pressure and problem solve; able to demonstrate diplomacy, tact and sound judgment
•Ability to maintain confidentiality at all times and display discretion
•Comprehensive understanding of disability and health related insurance issues
•Experience working with individuals with disabilities, chronic health conditions and cognitive impairments
•Excellent organizational and presentation skills required
•Exceptional computer skills including experience with data base systems and Microsoft Office programs
•Flexible and able to manage many projects simultaneously

Duties and Responsibilities: 

•Responds to intake inquiries specific to the Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program
•Provides support, individual advocacy and referral to community services
•Recruits, trains and manages VLAP volunteers
•Assists clients with applications and appeals for:•Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D)
•Persons with Disabilities (PWD)
•Long Term Disability (LTD)
•Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

•Provides information and advocacy support to clients facing issues in employment on employment law concepts and human rights law as it relates to employment
•Provides information and advocacy support on other poverty law topics as required, including but not limited to: tenancy, debt, income assistance, employment standards, employment insurance, wills, representation agreement, and power of attorney
•Coordinates and reviews the work of VLAP volunteers to ensure quality service
•Recruits and liaises with pro bono volunteer lawyers and law students
•Provides information and education on multiple sclerosis
•Organizes educational webinars on topics related to legal issues and advocacy
•Meets monthly with supervising lawyers to review case work
•Leads the VLAP Advisory Committee, coordinates agendas, minutes and meetings
•Coordinates the administrative duties of the Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program including reports, statistical information and grant applications
•Oversees the compilation and preparation of VLAP resource materials
•Leads program monitoring and evaluation initiatives
•Works collaboratively with colleagues across the country to develop a nation-wide advocacy services
•Maintains appropriate records of service tracking and submits as required to funders
•Attends professional development activities as opportunities and funding permits
•Completes other duties or projects as assigned by the Manager, Provincial Programs

Supervisory Responsibility:
•This position does not supervise staff but does manage VLAP program volunteers

Special Considerations:
•This position may require limited travel within BC, as well as travel to conferences and meetings as appropriate
•Occasional evening or weekend work may be required

How to Apply: 

We are working on a world free of MS, where improving people’s quality of life is a part of our everyday life. If you too are passionate about our mission, we invite your expression of interest and resume submission to:

Stacey Bradshaw
Manager, Provincial Programs
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Email: Stacey [dot] Bradshaw [at] mssociety [dot] ca