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Our Work

Our most recent posts are listed below. To learn more about a specific issue, select a topic under “Our Work” in the menu to the left.

For our publications on past topics, click on “Find Publications” and search by topic.


March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016

March 2017

Privacy and Disclosure for Youth Living with HIV or Hep C: Questions and Answers

This guide is for youth between the ages of 15 and 29 and focuses on some of the factors at play when young people living with HIV or hepatitis C (Hep C) are thinking about telling others about their HIV or Hep C status.

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HIV Criminalization in Canada: Key Trends and Patterns

As part of an effort to contribute to an informed public dialogue on the issue, this short report provides a snapshot of the temporal and demographic patterns of HIV criminalization in Canada from 1989 to 2016. It also updates information on the outcomes of HIV non-disclosure criminal cases.

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Open Letter to Trade Ministers Meeting in Chile, 14–15 March 2017

It is clear that the withdrawal of the United States means that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as previously negotiated is dead. As representatives of many millions of people in a wide range of unions, civil society groups and social movements, we believe that the TPP text, negotiated in secret, served the interests of large […]

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Review of Canada’s Compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submits this briefing to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in advance of its review of the periodic report of Canada, held during its 17th session from 20 March to 12 April 2017. “In this submission, the Legal Network sets out some selected concerns about the implementation […]

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February 2017

LIFE WON’T WAIT: Statement in support of National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis

“TORONTO, February 21, 2017 — On this first National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network stands in solidarity with the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs (CAPUD) and with other groups of people who use drugs, frontline harm reduction workers and other allies. We demand action, by all levels […]

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Saving Lives, Protecting Health: Strengthening Bill C-37 to expand and expedite access to supervised consumption sites

“In keeping with the government’s stated commitment to harm reduction and to evidence-based policy, the Legal Network recommends two amendments to strengthen Bill C-37, with a view to ensuring the legislative framework for securing exemptions from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is simple, straightforward and expeditious.”

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Letter to Attorney General of Ontario Yasir Naqvi re: HIV and Criminal Law

“On behalf of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, I am writing to you because we are deeply concerned about Ontario’s approach to prosecuting allegations of HIV non-disclosure. We request that you immediately undertake the following actions to put an end to unjust and harmful prosecutions of people living with HIV: 1. Impose an immediate moratorium […]

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Trump aside, Canada should reject trade deals that put drugs out of reach

By Richard Elliott, Executive Director, and Nicholas Caivano, Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network February 1, 2017 Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and declared his intention to renegotiate NAFTA. But as some try to revive the TPP, and trade talks between Ottawa and Washington heat up, Canada should […]

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January 2017

Shadow Report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in relation to the review of the 6th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation

With this report we would like to inform the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) about serious violations of Articles 3 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

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Case Information Sheet: Kurmanayevskiy et al. v. Russia

Unsafe injecting drug use is a primary driver of HIV infection in Russia. The inability of current or former injecting drug users to access prevention and treatment services is compounded by the highly punitive measures meted out by law enforcement, including frequent arrest and incarceration. These trying circumstances led three brave individuals to pursue access […]

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Indigenous Communities: Summary of Legal Needs Assessment

In 2014, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) began collaborating to produce a series of legal information resources for Indigenous communities living with and affected by HIV and/or hepatitis C (HCV). In support of this effort, a legal needs assessment was carried out to determine priority legal […]

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Government walks away from talks on critical harm reduction measure in Canadian prisons

TORONTO, January 17, 2017 — In a profoundly disappointing move by a government that claims to support harm reduction and “evidence-based policies,” the Government of Canada has withdrawn from a planned mediation, preferring to waste more money on lawyers to fight evidence-based harm reduction services in prisons. Meanwhile, prisoners will continue to needlessly contract preventable […]

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21st Century Magic! Gratitude and an Unforgettable Experience at Montego Bay Pride

The following blog post was written by Andrew Beckerman, a long-term HIV survivor and an active board member of the Legal Network since 2014. “I didn’t always believe in magic, but I am starting to believe. My epiphany came as a result of the inspiring and incredible work being done by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal […]

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December 2016

HIV CRIMINALIZATION IN CANADA: Current Context & Advocacy

A two-page document briefly describing the current legal landscape of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada, why the current use of the criminal law is problematic, and what the Legal Network and its partners have been doing to resist the overly broad use of the criminal law against people living with HIV.

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Letter to Minister of Justice Re: Putting an End to Over-Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure

“On behalf of the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization, we would like to thank you for making an important statement on World AIDS Day denouncing the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada.”

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Bill C-37 a welcome step forward for life-saving supervised consumption sites and sound drug policy in Canada

TORONTO, December 12, 2016 — The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes the introduction of Bill C-37, which – at long last – signals a real turning point in Canada’s drug policy, emphasizing evidence, public health and human rights above fear, stigma and misinformation. We are heartened that the federal government is taking this much-needed action […]

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Letter to 17th Philippines Congress Re: House Bill No. 1 on the Death Penalty

“We call on the 17th Philippines Congress to preserve the right to life, and to not bring back use of the death penalty as proposed in House Bill No. 1. We urge all members of the House of Representatives and Senate to uphold the right to life enshrined in the Philippines Constitution 1987 (the Constitution) […]

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On December 6, we remember and we will continue to work to end violence against women

Today, we remember the 14 women who lost their lives in a horrific act of gender-based violence at the hands of a lone gunman in Montréal. Though the incident occurred over 25 years ago, our society continues to struggle with the structural violence against women that manifests in many forms, and in many arenas, all […]

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HIV and Human Rights Organizations Welcome Federal Government’s Interest in Ending Unjust HIV Criminalization

TORONTO, December 1, 2016 — The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) welcome today’s statement by Canadian Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould recognizing the ongoing problem of overly-broad, unjust criminalization of people living with HIV. Today, fittingly for World AIDS Day, the federal government has signaled its intent […]

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November 2016

Submission to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on Medical Inadmissibility

In Canada, people seeking permanent resident status or temporary residence as students or workers can be rejected on the basis of their HIV status due to the “excessive demand” provision of Canada’s laws governing medical inadmissibility. Relying on the purportedly neutral criteria of the cost of health services, this law renders any applicant who would […]

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UN Experts Make Historic Recommendations to Canada: End unjust HIV criminalization, repeal law restricting supervised consumption services, and implement needle and syringe programmes in prison

GENEVA, November 18, 2016 — The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued its Concluding Observations today following its review of Canada’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This is the first time the Committee reviewed women’s rights in Canada since 2008.

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Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Fails to Respect Sex Workers’ Rights

November 18, 2016 — Sex workers and allies in Canada are expressing deep concern and disappointment with the CEDAW Committee’s failure to adequately protect the rights of sex workers in Canada. During an international review of Canada’s progress on women’s human rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women sidelined the concerns of […]

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Civil Society Statement to the National Opioid Summit

Canada is in the midst of an opioid overdose crisis. This statement outlines concerns that civil society organizations have about the emerging federal, provincial and territorial response to this crisis and proposes a collaborative way forward to end the crisis.  

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RESPECT FOR COMMUNITIES ACT: The Case for Repeal

The so-called Respect for Communities Act was passed in 2015 in the last Parliament, with the clear goal of impeding the expansion of supervised consumption services (SCS). The Act is an affront to the extensive scientific evidence of the need for such health services and their benefits — including connecting people to other health care […]

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An Injection of Reason: Critical Analysis of the Respect for Communities Act (Q&A)

The Respect for Communities Act undermines the rights of people who use drugs to access life-saving and health-protecting services. Read more about supervised consumption services in Canada and internationally, and their positive impact on individuals and communities. Related Publications Respect for Communities Act: The Case for Repeal

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Legal Network Welcomes Canada’s Commitment To Redress Discrimination Against LGBTQI People

November 15, 2016 — The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement today to appoint a Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues who will work with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust and other stakeholders to address the urgent human rights and public health issues outlined in The Just Society Report.

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Briefing to the High-level Working Group on Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents

“The Legal Network submits this briefing to the World Health Organization’s High-Level Working Group of Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents in order to provide inputs on the following areas of concern: (i) the rights of women living with HIV; (ii) the rights of women, children and adolescents who use drugs; (iii) […]

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New Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization Launched

On October 20 and 21, people living with HIV, community workers, lawyers and academics from across the country met in Toronto to officially launch the new Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization. The Coalition was founded by a group of Canadians and representatives of Canadian organizations who met at the HIV Is Not A Crime […]

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Open Letter on the Extrajudicial Killing of People Who Use Drugs in the Philippines

“Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, more than 3000 people in the Philippines have been executed without due process for allegedly selling or using drugs. President Duterte has publically and repeatedly incited law enforcement and the general public to commit these murders and other acts of vigilante violence. Duterte’s political rhetoric is becoming increasingly […]

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October 2016

Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the subject of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).” In the brief The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Trading Away Access to Affordable Medicines, we “set out […] a number of specific concerns about how provisions in the TPP will […]

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Montego Bay, Jamaica: Another Pride success!

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network October 24, 2016 How do you measure an event’s success? Is it the number of participants compared to previous events? Montego Bay Pride 2016, co-sponsored by the Legal Network, had over 244 participants — a 50% increase in participation from last year — with participants […]

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Submission to UN Women’s Consultation on Sex Work

“The Legal Network’s guiding values are rooted in a focus on the human rights of marginalized populations such as sex workers and their meaningful participation in policies and programs that affect them. We make this submission to UN Women to urge the agency to (1) engage in a transparent and inclusive consultation with sex workers […]

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Review of Canada’s Compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submits this briefing to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in advance of its review of the periodic report of Canada, held during its 65th session from 24 October to 18 November 2016. “In this submission, the Legal Network sets out its concerns about Canada’s […]

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September 2016

UN High-Level Panel Says Trade Agreements Such As TPP Threaten Public Health AND Human Rights

A high-level body of eminent persons advising UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released its report today declaring that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and similar agreements ratcheting up intellectual property protection and enforcement, endanger countries’ efforts to ensure access to medicines and other health technologies and run counter to their human rights obligations. The High-Level Panel’s report […]

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“Foreign agent” charges against Russian harm reduction NGO dropped, but HIV organizations still a target

September 13, 2016 A Moscow court recently dismissed the charges against Russian harm reduction NGO Andrey Rylkov Foundation (ARF) for failing to register as a “foreign agent.” While this is no doubt a victory for ARF, the charges were dropped on procedural grounds, which unfortunately does not prevent similar charges being brought against other HIV […]

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A Prescription for Coherence?: UN Secretary-General to release report of High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines addressing tension between health and intellectual property rules

By Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network September 13, 2016 Later this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to release at the UN in New York the much-anticipated, and already controversial, report of his High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines. The Secretary-General appointed his High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines in November […]

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August 2016

Canadian civil society groups call for immediate action to opioid overdose crisis

On International Overdose Awareness Day, over 70 Canadian civil society organizations have endorsed an urgent call to action addressed to all levels of government, urging politicians to immediately implement five recommendations that will serve as initial steps of a nationwide crisis response to reduce opioid overdose fatalities and injuries across the country. Call to Action: ACTION […]

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ACTION = LIFE: Call for an Immediate Response to National Crisis of Opioid Overdose Deaths

Canada is experiencing an overwhelming opioid overdose crisis. Over the past several years Canada has seen an alarming increase in reported opioid-related fatalities and injuries. Overdose deaths are preventable if the right measures are taken. As we approach International Overdose Awareness Day, held on August 31, the undersigned organizations call on you, as the Prime […]

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Indigenous Communities and HIV Disclosure to Sexual Partners: Questions and Answers

While the criminal law is a blunt instrument to deal with complex issues such as disclosure or the root causes for HIV in Indigenous communities, it is the law in Canada, and it is important for you to know about it so you can make informed decisions about your sexual life. This brochure has been […]

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Caleb’s victory for the Commonwealth

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network August 16, 2016 When Caleb Orozco, whom I met at an Organization of American States General Assembly in Panama in 2007, decided to be the claimant in a challenge to the Belize anti-sodomy law, I was elated but a bit nervous for him. Belize is […]

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Game-Changer: Belize Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-LGBTI Law

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network applauds yesterday’s landmark decision from the Supreme Court of Belize, which overturned the country’s archaic law prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” setting a precedent for LGBTI human rights that we hope will ripple across the region.

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Landmark resolution marks progress for people living with HIV in prison

A recent landmark outcome from  a legal case — in which the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network intervened, together with the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) and Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN) — has secured a number of positive steps for people living with HIV in prison. In June 2016, the parties […]

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International Assistance Review: an opportunity for Canada to stand up for human rights abroad

When International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau took up her post in November 2015, she was tasked with leading Canada’s efforts to “provide humanitarian assistance to help reduce poverty and inequality in the world” and refocusing Canada’s development assistance “on helping the poorest and most vulnerable.” This renewed focus on marginalized communities must underlie the current […]

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Submission to Global Affairs Canada: Human Rights Priorities for Canadian International Assistance

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide our perspectives on the government’s priorities for establishing an international assistance policy and funding framework. When International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau took up her post in November 2015, she was tasked with leading Canada’s efforts to ‘provide humanitarian assistance to help reduce poverty and inequality in the world’ and […]

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July 2016

Jamaican Supreme Court Admits Religious Groups as Interested Parties in Challenge to Anti-Sodomy Law

TORONTO, July 8, 2016 — The Jamaican Supreme Court on July 6 handed down its ruling on applications by nine religious groups and the Public Defender to be interested parties in a challenge by Jamaican lawyer Maurice Tomlinson to the country’s anti-sodomy law. All the groups except the Public Defender were allowed in the case with […]

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June 2016

Don’t Trade Away Health: An Open Letter to the North American Leaders’ Summit

“As civil society organizations concerned about access to medicines, in your three countries and globally, we write to you in advance of your North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa on June 29.  The summit is an important opportunity to demonstrate human rights leadership—nationally, regionally and globally—in the Americas. “In February of this year, the United […]

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Turning Point: Annual Report 2015–2016

Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016.

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New International Report Calls for “Principled Non-Compliance” with Antiquated UN Drug Control Treaties

As an increasing number of jurisdictions consider whether and how to legalize and regulate access to cannabis, tensions are growing between these initiatives and countries’ obligations under the UN drug control conventions. A groundbreaking new report produced by a coalition of legal and drug policy experts offers strategies for countries exploring regulatory approaches to cannabis […]

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Losing to win at the Caribbean Court of Justice

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network June 15, 2016 On June 10, 2016, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered a landmark, but decidedly mixed, decision on the rights of LGBTI people. Three years ago, as a gay Jamaican citizen, and with the support of AIDS-Free World, I launched a challenge […]

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Canada Can’t Wait: The Time for Prison-Based Needle and Syringe Programs Is Now

“We, the undersigned, represent many different communities and interests. But today we speak with one voice, firmly committed to health and human rights, in support of desperately needed prison-based needle and syringe programs (PNSPs) in Canada. The time for PNSPs is now. In Canada, people in prison face far greater risk of HIV and hepatitis […]

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