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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.


September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018

September 2019

Joint written statement on Violations of The Right to Life in The Context of Drug Control

Harm Reduction International and supporting organisations wish to congratulate the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for her latest report, and for her ongoing efforts to highlight and address heinous violations of fundamental rights committed in the context of drug control. While countries are increasingly recognising drugs as a primarily health-related issue, we […]

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Joint written statement on The Disproportionate Impact of The Death Penalty for Drug Offences on Foreign Nationals

Harm Reduction International (HRI) and supporting organisations welcome the report by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and wish to take this opportunity to comment on the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice response to drugs on foreign nationals, including migrant women, in countries that retain the death penalty for drug offences. […]

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Joint written statement on Limitations to Judicial Independence in The Context of Drug Control

Harm Reduction International and supporting organisations welcome the Report by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, as well as his March 2019 statement (co-authored with the Special Rapporteur on the right to health) on drug courts; which warned against the dangers of drug courts as manifestations of the abuse of the […]

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Joint written statement on Protecting and Promoting the Health of People Who Use Drugs

Harm Reduction International (HRI) and supporting organisations welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health on promoting mental health through a holistic approach, and the attention paid to underlying determinants, the impact of discrimination, and the need to […]

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Report to OHCHR on “human rights in the administration of justice”

Introduction People who use drugs retain their fundamental rights, including the right to health and including in detention settings, and States have a heightened, positive obligation to protect those most vulnerable, and/or under their direct control. Regrettably, the criminalisation of drug use and drug possession for personal use, in the context of repressive drug policies, […]

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August 2019

Open Letter to Premier Kenney about SCS

On August 30, 2019, in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day, our colleagues in Alberta sent this open letter to Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan, urging them to reconsider their announced review of supervised consumption services in their province. We are proud […]

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Report from the 8th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights

Our 8th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights was held on June 14th and featured moving stories from people who have experience being criminalized, analysis from scientific experts and others active in the community. Download our report on the event to find out more about what was discussed!

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Letter to the Chinese delegation (UNAIDS) — 3 HIV advocates wrongfully detained

Three Chinese lawyers and advocates, Cheng Yuan, Wu Gejianxiong, and Liu Yongze, who work on employment discrimination and disability justice for people living with HIV and viral hepatitis, have been wrongfully detained in Hunan, China since 22 July 2019.  The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network sent a letter to the Chinese delegation of the UNAIDS Programme […]

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Statement: Prisoners’ Justice Day highlights flaws in current Prison Needle Exchange Program

PRISONERS’ JUSTICE DAY HIGHLIGHTS FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS WITH GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S CURRENT PRISON NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM   The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Research and Advocacy.  August 9, 2019 — This Prisoners’ Justice Day (August 10), as prisoners […]

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Documentary #NonExistentWeExist

Watch the trailer now (full film below) A documentary co-produced the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, on the inspiring efforts of communities working on the streets of Russia to try and halt the HIV epidemic. This film is set against the backdrop of the Russian government’s failed response to HIV, their refusal to acknowledge the epidemic, […]

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The Coalition of LGBTTTI at the 49th general assembly of the OAS

The 49th General Assembly of the OAS (Organization of American States) demonstrated the increasing influence of groups opposed to the recognition of human rights for vulnerable and marginalized people across the Americas. This reflects the dangerous drift towards populism in the hemisphere. Despite these ominous signs and daunting odds, the Legal Network was privileged to […]

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July 2019

Letter to federal Attorney General on HIV Criminalization

The Legal Network sent the following letter to federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice David Lametti on the subject of HIV criminalization.   July 22, 2019    The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 180 Wellington St. Office 609 House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6    Dear Minister: First of […]

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Open letter to Minister of Health on SCS

The Legal Network has sent the following letter to the Honorable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal Minister of Health, on behalf of likeminded health and human rights organizations.   July 22, 2019 The Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health Confederation Building 356 House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6     Dear Minister:   […]

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NEWS RELEASE: GAY MAN FILES LEGAL CHALLENGE AGAINST DOMINICA’S ANTI-LGBT LAWS

Lawsuit builds on the global push for decriminalisation of LGBT people and aims to end one of the last remaining anti-sodomy laws in Western Hemisphere   July 18, 2019 — A gay man, who must remain anonymous for his own protection, has today filed a landmark claim challenging Dominica’s homophobic laws that criminalise “buggery” and […]

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Constitutional challenge to Dominica’s laws criminalising LGBTQ people: Questions & Answers

A gay man has filed a case in the High Court of Justice in Dominica challenging the country’s laws criminalising “buggery” and other sexual activity between consenting partners, including and in particular partners of the same sex, as violating numerous rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Dominica. This backgrounder answers some key questions related to […]

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Prison-Based Needle and Syringe Programs

Acknowledging the health benefits of needle and syringe programs in prison, the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) announced on May 14th, 2018, that it would implement a prison needle exchange program (PNEP) at two federal institutions in June 2018 as “the initial stage of a phased approach to strengthen its ongoing efforts to prevent and manage infectious disease in federal […]

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June 2019

Maurice Tomlinson – Statement at World Pride Human Rights Conference

On Monday, June 24, 2019, Senior Policy Analyst Maurice Tomlinson shared a very personal story at World Pride Human Rights Conference. At this event, the Legal Network announced the coming launch of a legal challenge to anti-LGBT laws in Dominica. Maurice reflected on the first such Caribbean challenge we launched, in Jamaica, and told us […]

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News Release: Gay man to challenge Dominica’s anti-LGBT laws

Lawsuit launch will complete trifecta of legal challenges in Caribbean countries with many of the harshest anti-LGBT laws   June 24, 2019 — A gay man, who must remain anonymous for his own protection, is about to file a landmark case challenging Dominica’s homophobic laws that criminalise “buggery” and “gross indecency,” targeting the consensual sexual activity […]

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The Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada: Current Status and the Need for Change

This document provides an overview of the current laws and policies governing HIV non-disclosure in Canada. Sections include: A legal obligation to disclose HIV-positive status to a sexual partner in some circumstances What does “realistic possibility” of transmission mean? When is there no legal obligation to disclose? Recent developments in law and policy Federal and […]

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The Political is Personal: Annual Report 2018-2019

Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019.

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STATEMENT: Response to Justice Committee’s report on the criminalization of people living with HIV

For immediate release. Également disponible en français.  The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Legal Network.   June 17, 2019 — Today the House of Commons Standing Committee of Justice and Human Rights has released its report “The Criminalization […]

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STATEMENT: Proposed supervised injection site in Alberta’s Drumheller Institution cannot replace a prison-based needle and syringe program

For immediate release. Également disponible en français.  The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Research and Advocacy.   June 12, 2019 — Drumheller Institution in Alberta is reportedly getting a supervised drug injection site. While we support supervised consumption […]

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Media Advisory: FEDERAL MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL DAVID LAMETTI TO SPEAK AT HIV CRIMINALIZATION SYMPOSIUM IN TORONTO

  People living with HIV in Canada continue to face unjust criminal prosecution and imprisonment for allegedly not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is hosting a full-day symposium in Toronto on HIV criminalization with legal experts, members of parliament, activists and people living with HIV.   WHAT: 8th Symposium […]

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May 2019

Ending HIV criminalization in Canada: Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

On April 30, 2019, the Legal Network submitted this brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, examining the current state of HIV criminalization in Canada and making recommendations to improve the situation.

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POSTER: ending unjust HIV prosecutions

Ending unjust HIV prosecutions: Making progress through community advocacy and scientific expertise Click to download this academic poster created for the 28th Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research (2019). This is a great resource for current and concise knowledge on HIV criminalization in Canada.

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Rest in Power, Alena Asaeva

Alena Asaeva  It is with deep sadness and a sense of profound injustice that we acknowledge the untimely passing of our friend and colleague, Alena Asaeva, age 47, on May 2, 2019. Alena was a fierce warrior who dedicated her life to upholding the human rights of people who use drugs, in Russia and around […]

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Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health: LGBTQ2S+ HEALTH IN CANADA

The Legal Network has submitted this brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, addressing HIV criminalization, criminalization of sex work, and criminalization of drug possession for personal use. 

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April 2019

STATEMENT: New policy for B.C. prosecutors still harms people living with HIV

The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Legal Network.   April 23, 2019 — The British Columbia Prosecution Service (BCPS) has issued an updated policy on criminally prosecuting cases of alleged HIV non-disclosure. This policy falls short of […]

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STATEMENT: Law enforcement “protections” harm sex workers

Rather than helping, sex workers’ human rights are being systemically violated by those meant to protect them   The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Research and Advocacy, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.   April 10, 2019 — In […]

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NEWS RELEASE: SENTENCING HANDED DOWN IN VIOLENT ATTACK ON TRANS WOMAN IN BARBADOS

April 8, 2019 — Brandon Coward, who attacked Barbadian trans woman Alexa Hoffmann with a meat cleaver on February 18, 2018, was today convicted in the Oistins Magistrates Court by Magistrate Elwood Watts and ordered to compensate Alexa BD$460 (about CAD$306) or face three months in prison. The gruesome attack left Alexa with serious injuries, […]

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The Perils of “Protection”: Summary reports

Criminal law has perpetually trapped sex workers within dualities of criminality and victimization. Whereas the previous criminal offences concerning sex work framed sex workers in terms of nuisance and criminality, the passage of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) in 2014 legally enshrined sex workers as victims, invalidating the labour of sex […]

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March 2019

(Français) Les dangers de la « protection »

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

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The Perils of “Protection”: Sex Workers’ Experiences of Law Enforcement in Ontario

Criminal law has perpetually trapped sex workers within dualities of criminality and victimization. Whereas the previous criminal offences concerning sex work framed sex workers in terms of nuisance and criminality, the passage of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) in 2014 legally enshrined sex workers as victims, invalidating the labour of sex […]

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Open Letter to the Government of Canada on the Evaluation of its “Prison Needle Exchange Program”

On March 20, 2019, a group of scientists wrote to the Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Anne Kelly, Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, about the evaluation of the Government of Canada’s “Prison Needle Exchange Program.” The text of the letter is available in the download below.

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Legal Network ICJ Submission

Submission to the International Commission of Jurists’ consultation: “Developing principles to address the detrimental impact on health, equality and human rights of criminalization with a focus on select conduct in the areas of sexuality, reproduction, drug use and HIV” February 2019 The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) welcomes this opportunity to make a submission […]

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Legal Network Statement to CND

On March 18, 2019, the Legal Network made an oral statement to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs – “Implementation of the international drug control treaties.”  “Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion regarding the implementation of the international drug control treaties. For more than 20 years, Member States have recognized, […]

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Supporting Health and Human Rights in Drug Policy – Legal Network Statement to CND

Statement submitted by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Sixty-second session, Vienna, 14–22 March 2019. “We urge Member States to promote a public health approach focused on promoting health and social justice, rather than relying predominantly on criminal law responses. A public health approach is an organized, comprehensive, multi-sectoral effort directed at […]

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Legal Network Submission to Human Trafficking Consultation

“Re: City of Toronto’s consultation on human trafficking The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) promotes the human rights of people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV or AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, litigation and other advocacy, public education and community mobilization. We are also a member of […]

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Ontario HIV Coalition Submission re: Bill 68

Letter to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, attention Jocelyn McCauley, Clerk March 6, 2019 As organizations involved in the response to HIV in Ontario, we write to express our concerns with certain provisions in the recently introduced Bill 68 (Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019) – and specifically the provisions in Schedule 7 that […]

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February 2019

News release: New report makes recommendations on supervised consumption services in Canada

TORONTO, February 20, 2019 — In the midst of a growing overdose crisis, more than 75 health and human rights organizations have signed a letter to the federal government calling for a much-needed “class exemption” to protect clients and staff of supervised consumption services (SCS) from prosecution for drug offences when accessing or providing those […]

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Letter to federal ministers regarding Overdue for a Change

On February 20, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network distributed the full report of Overdue for a Change: Scaling Up Supervised Consumption Sites in Canada. This report builds on the summary released in December 2018 and includes recommendations for actions the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments can take immediately to address the current overdose crisis. The […]

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Overdue for a Change: Scaling up Supervised Consumption Services in Canada – Full report

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is pleased to share with you the full report of Overdue for a Change: Scaling Up Supervised Consumption Services in Canada. This report documents a research project that was undertaken in 2018 to explore the current state of supervised consumption services (SCS) in Canada, to monitor legal and policy changes affecting […]

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January 2019

Supporting Health and Human Rights in Drug Policy: Brief to the Minister of Health and Canadian Delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Prepared for the 62nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its High-Level Ministerial Segment Canadian Civil Society Working Group on UN Drug Policy January 21, 2019 The High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 62nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna on March 14th and 15th is the next significant meeting of UN […]

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Ending Unjust HIV Prosecutions in British Columbia: Modernizing prosecutorial policy

Submission to the Attorney General of British Columbia January 2019 The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submits this brief to supplement previous correspondence and submissions to the Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of British Columbia, for the purpose of assisting with the development of a directive from the Attorney General to the British Columbia Prosecution Service […]

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Statement: Religious beliefs must not interfere with patients’ rights to accessible health care

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), are jointly intervening in a landmark case before the Court of Appeal for Ontario regarding whether doctors can put their personal religious beliefs ahead of patients’ rights to health care.

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STATEMENT: Reverting to an Outdated Sexual Education Curriculum Violates Charter Rights of Ontarians

January 8, 2019 — The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario have been granted intervener status in the challenge to the Government of Ontario’s decision to revert to an outdated sexual education curriculum. The challenge, brought forward by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and an Ontario teacher, will […]

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December 2018

Overdue for a Change: Scaling up Supervised Consumption Services in Canada

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is pleased to share with you Overdue for a Change: Scaling Up Supervised Consumption Services in Canada. Our summary brief describes the key findings and recommendations of a research project that was undertaken in 2018 to explore the current state of supervised consumption services (SCS) in Canada, to monitor legal […]

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Intimate Conviction: Examining the Church and Anti-Sodomy Laws across the Commonwealth

  In October 2017, The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Anglicans for Decriminalization hosted a two-day conference examining the role of the Church in anti-sodomy laws across the Commonwealth. The conference, Intimate Conviction, was a groundbreaking gathering that brought together activists, church officials, and politicians from around the world for an inspiring discussion. Now, to […]

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Human Rights Day – December 10

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations formally adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And on every anniversary since then, the world has marked Human Rights Day. This Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that everyone, regardless of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other […]

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Moving to End Unjust HIV Prosecutions

December 1, 2018 — Today, on World AIDS Day, federal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould announced a new directive to help limit unjust prosecutions against people living with HIV in Canada. This new directive, which comes after years of advocacy by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and many partner organizations, is consistent with Justice Canada’s own […]

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