Taking stock, taking action

5th Symposium and 2013 AGM


5th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights and 2013 Annual General Meeting

Thursday, June 13 – Friday, June 14, 2013, Toronto


Download agenda for printing

N.B.: All events except “A conversation with Frank Mugisha” will take place at:

Courtyard by Marriott Hotel
475 Yonge St. (between Wood St. and Alexander St.), Toronto

Thursday, June 13, 2013

  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    Annual General Meeting of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
    WORKSHOP | Judged wanting: next steps after the Supreme Court rulings on HIV criminalization

In February 2012, two cases about HIV non-disclosure represented a unique opportunity for the Supreme Court of Canada to clarify and limit the criminal law based on the latest scientific evidence about the risks of HIV transmission. Seven AIDS organizations, led by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, jointly intervened in the hope that the court would make the right decision. Instead, in October 2012, the SCC took a major step backwards and made the law even harsher for people living with HIV. In this session, people living with HIV, service providers, lawyers and other community members will discuss strategies and actions for limiting the negative impact of the rulings and, in the longer term, achieving much-needed legal change.


    • Jolene Donatelli — Canadian Treatment Action Council
    • Evelyne Fleury — Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services
    • Tim McCaskell — AIDS Action Now!
    • Cécile Kazatchkine — Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law & HIV Exposure, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
    • Alison Symington — Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
    • Eric Mykhalovskiy — York University
  • 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    A conversation with Frank Mugisha, led by veteran CBC journalist Ron Charles

Note that this event will take place at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon — Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St. For details, see below.

Friday, June 14, 2013

  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    WORKSHOP | “Cleanse themselves of undesirables”: municipal bylaws and marginalized communities

This panel will consider the impact of various municipal bylaws on the human rights of people who use drugs and sex workers, including their impact on access to harm reduction and other health services. Speakers from British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario will discuss the rationales underlying these bylaws, their serious ramifications, and steps that can or are being taken to protect health and human rights.


    • Raffi Balian — Toronto Drug Users’ Union
    • Scott Bernstein — Pivot Legal Society
    • Walter Cavalieri — Canadian Harm Reduction Network
    • Julie Dingwell — AIDS Saint John
    • Barbara Hall — Ontario Human Rights Commission (TBC)
    • Jim Watkin — London Harm Reduction Coalition
  • 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    WORKSHOP | Freedom is a work in progress: LGBT rights in Canada and abroad

The past year saw important developments in the ongoing struggle for basic equality and freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, both in Canada and internationally. Important global reports called attention to the ongoing criminalization and abuse of LGBT people around the world, which obstruct their right to the highest attainable standard of health and seriously undermine an effective response to HIV. Meanwhile, activists in Uganda and the Caribbean continue to fight horrific laws in the legislatures and the courts. In Canada, Ontario explicitly prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or expression, and at the federal level, a similar bill passed the House of Commons by a narrow margin (though it must still pass the Senate). A dynamic panel of international and Canadian LGBT rights activists will explore how bad laws and policies endanger the LGBT community and increase vulnerability to HIV — and what kind of community organizing is needed.


    • Susan Gapka — Trans Lobby Group
    • Betty Iglesias — Action Santé Travesties et Transsexuelles du Québec
    • Frank Mugisha — Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
    • Maurice Tomlinson — AIDS Free World
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
    WORKSHOP | Bedford and beyond: sex, work, rights and the criminal law

On the day of this year’s Symposium, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments in the Bedford case, in which sex workers and their allies are challenging Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional for the harm they do to sex workers’ health and safety. Panelists, including Canadian and international sex workers’ rights activists, will discuss the case and related advocacy strategies, including the pros and cons of litigation. Panelists will also consider the ongoing, critical advocacy work ahead — beyond decriminalization — to ensure that other laws and policies respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of sex workers.


    • Catherine Healy — New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective
    • Sandra Ka Hon Chu — Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
    • “Jane Doe” — feminist coalition in support of sex work
    • Cynthia Petersen — counsel for the POWER/Maggie’s/Stella (PMS) coalition
    • Tara Santini — Stella Montréal and PMS coalition
    • Keisha Scott — Maggie’s

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Keynote Event: A conversation with Frank Mugisha

  • Thursday, June 13, 2013 — 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Bram and Bluma Appel Salon — Toronto Reference Library
    789 Yonge St. (north of Bloor St.)

Join us for a conversation with Frank Mugisha, one of Uganda’s leading activists in the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. While the insidious “Kill the Gays” bill continues to be debated in Uganda’s parliament, and hateful groups seek to publicly “out” members of LGBT communities, Frank’s group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), is a powerful voice of hope at a critical and dangerous time for the basic human rights of LGBT people in his native country.

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