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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.


April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017

April 2018

Media advisory: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network marks 25 years of rights and resistance

For 25 years, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has been defending and advancing human rights in response to HIV, in Canada and globally. This milestone will be commemorated in Vancouver on Friday, April 27, with a reception attended by former Legal Network board president and current B.C. Attorney General, the Hon. David Eby.

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Brief to the Standing Senate Committee regarding Bill C-66, An Act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other Acts

While Bill C-66, An Act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other Acts (“Bill C-66”), was described by Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault as a law intended to address criminal offences that were used “to victimize LGBTQ2S+ people systematically,” the Legal Network and HALCO are […]

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A Modest Advance on Medical Inadmissability

Today, after years of advocacy by HIV, disability and migrant rights organizations, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship announced changes to the rules that exclude would-be residents of Canada based on projected “excessive demand” on health and social services. These changes, however, fall far short of the full repeal of the current flawed, discriminatory […]

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The Missing Millions, the Government of Canada and HIV

As community organizations are closing, the federal government presides over the continued steady erosion of federal HIV funding, with $104 million in funds lost from the response.

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The Missing Millions: Stopping and Reversing the Steady Erosion of Federal HIV Funding

In recent years, the Government of Canada has renewed a commitment to ongoing dialogue and constructive engagement with civil society in the response to HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs). In response to calls from national HIV organizations, the federal government—in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, researchers […]

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Statement: High Court of Trinidad and Tobago strikes down longstanding buggery law

Today, in an historic decision, the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago has struck down as unconstitutional the longstanding, homophobic “buggery” law, most often used to criminalize same-sex intimacy between consenting adults. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is thrilled to congratulate our friends, colleagues and fellow activists, all of whom have worked tirelessly for this […]

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March 2018

Maurice Tomlinson Speaks to HOC Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration

OTTAWA, March 27, 2018 – Today, Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Advisor with the Legal Network, spoke to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration about his personal experience of immigrating to Canada and shared recommendations for improving the process for LGBTQ refugee claimants. Click below to download the text of his oral […]

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Brief to HoC Standing Committee on IRB appointment training and complaint process

“By some estimates, approximately 400 million LGBT persons live under the threat of criminal imprisonment or even death in their home country. The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is faced with thousands of refugee claimants each year trying to escape persecution in their home country simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. While strides have been made to improve the cultural sensitivity of IRB members, more could be done to enhance the cultural competence of IRB members—charged with making decisions about the lives of LGBT persons seeking asylum in Canada.”

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Open Letter to the Liberal Party of Canada – Decriminalize Sex Work: Support Resolution #2764

It is now well recognized, not just by sex workers but by a wide range of human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity, United Nations bodies such as the UN Development Programme, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, […]

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TIME TO ACT ON HARM REDUCTION PROMISES: Open Letter to the Liberal Party of Canada

Drug policy is at a critical juncture in Canada, and we need our elected representatives to put even greater emphasis on public health objectives and outcomes, respecting human rights for all. Welcome steps have been taken on this front following the 2015 election, including restoring harm reduction as a key pillar of Canada’s drug strategy, […]

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February 2018

Barbados police must take action to protect Trans activist

The following blog post contains images and descriptions of violence against LGBTQI people which may be upsetting. By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network joins Barbadian organizations and individuals in calling for immediate police action in the recent savage attack against local transgender activist Alexa Hoffmann. On the morning of Sunday, […]

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Appointment of the next Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada

In February 2018, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada retired. The Legal Network sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick to tell them the appointment of a new CSC Commissioner presents a key opportunity to promote […]

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Statement: It is time to end Canada’s excessive demand regime

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network stands in support of the Private Member’s Bill to repeal Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)—which we called for before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration last November. We hope that Parliamentarians from all parties will vote in favour of this proposal.

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Comments on Canada’s Draft Third Report Under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

In this brief, the Legal Network provides information about Canada’s implementation of its international human rights obligations as raised in the draft report, organized under subheadings included in the draft report. It expands on issues presented in the Legal Network’s Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group in advance of the […]

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Respect, Protect, Fulfill: A Human Rights Response to HIV

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s strategic plan, Respect, Protect, Fulfill: A Human Rights Response to HIV sets out the goals for the organization over the next five years.

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January 2018

A Global Reaction to Stop the Spread of Hate

Thanks to the work of local activists, supported by the voices of people and organizations—including the Legal Network—opposed to hate in all its forms, an American hate-preacher was prevented from spreading his murderous message in Jamaica. Initially, it looked as if the efforts would be for naught. Steven Anderson, an American extremist Christian “pastor” who […]

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Brief to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women: The need for drug policy reform and comprehensive prison-based harm reduction

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support Action Network, CATIE and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network work to promote the human rights of people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), including Indigenous women in prison. We appreciate the opportunity to make this submission on Indigenous women […]

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Open letter to the Government of Jamaica

Individuals and organizations working to help Jamaica achieve its domestic and international human rights obligations are sending an open letter to the Government of Jamaica, asking them to bar American preacher Steven Anderson from entering the country. Anderson has a record of making anti-LGBTQI, anti-women and anti-Semitic comments. His organization,  the Faithful Word Baptist Church, has […]

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100 Organizations Concerned with Health Sign Open Letter to Canadian, Mexican and U.S. Ministers of Health and Trade Urging That the NAFTA Renegotiation Not Undermine Access to Affordable Medicines

The Legal Network joined organizations across North America to call for a re-negotiated NAFTA to protect access to affordable medicine.

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Federal Court Judgement: A.B. and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Judgement issued by The Honourable Mr. Justice Ahmed on December 19, 2017.

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Joint Legal Network/HALCO Factum: A.B. and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

This is an application for judicial review of the decision of the Immigration Appeal Division (“IAD”) to refuse the Applicant A.B.’s appeal to sponsor her parents due to her father’s medical inadmissibility for excessive demand on health services.

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РАСШИРЕНИЕ ПОТЕНЦИАЛА КЛЮЧЕВЫХ ГРУПП В ПРЕОДОЛЕНИИ ПРАВОВЫХ БАРЬЕРОВ В КОНТЕКСТЕ ПРОФИЛАКТИКИ, ЛЕЧЕНИЯ И УХОДА ПРИ ВИЧ/СПИД В РОССИИ

МОНИТОРИНГ И ОЦЕНКА ТЕХНИЧЕСКОЙ ПОДДЕРЖКИ ПО ВОПРОСАМ ПРЕОДОЛЕНИЯ ПРАВОВЫХ БАРЬЕРОВ И УКРЕПЛЕНИЯ СИСТЕМ СООБЩЕСТВ В РОССИИ, ОКАЗАННОЙ КЛЮЧЕВЫМ ГРУППАМ НАСЕЛЕНИЯ И ПРОЕКТАМ ПРОТИВОДЕЙСТВИЯ ВИЧ/СПИДУ

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December 2017

(Français) La pénalisation du VIH en Afrique francophone : état des lieux

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

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Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act Wallet Cards now available

With Canada’s fatal overdose crisis still surging, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, in collaboration with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, issued 50,000 wallet-size cards with vital information about the 2017 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. The cards and an accompanying fact sheet will be provided to people who use drugs, service providers and volunteer […]

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See an overdose? Call 911 immediately

With Canada’s fatal overdose crisis still surging, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, in collaboration with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, issued 50,000 wallet-size cards with vital information about the 2017 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. The cards and an accompanying fact sheet will be provided to people who use drugs, service providers and volunteer […]

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November 2017

Representatives from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario to speak to House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration

OTTAWA November 17, 2017 — Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”), foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause an “excessive demand” on health or social services, or if they have an inadmissible family member. Due to the high cost of antiretroviral medications, people living […]

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One Week in Jamaica: Celebrating LGBTQI lives and local leadership

Maurice Tomlinson’s 2017 Montego Bay Pride video diary In October, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network helped launch Intimate Conviction, a two-day international conference examining the Church and anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth, and supported a new generation of local LGBTQI leaders to organize the third successful Montego Bay Pride, with more than 850 people participating. […]

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Submission to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in relation to its study of Federal Government Policies and Guidelines Regarding Medical Inadmissibility of Immigrants

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) stipulates that foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause an “excessive demand” on health or social services, or if they have an inadmissible family member (i.e., an inadmissible spouse or dependent child). In this submission, we will […]

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Respect, Protect, Fulfill: A human rights response to HIV: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Strategic Plan 2017–2022

In 2016, we undertook a planning process to set our strategic directions for the next five years (2017–2022), including seeking the input of our members, key partners and supporters. This is a summary of the Legal Network’s 2017–2022 strategic plan.

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October 2017

Montego Bay Pride 2017: “Pride is where I can be free and truly express myself without fear”

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network October 24, 2017 For the third year in a row the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network collaborated with local and international partners to host a successful and incident-free Montego Bay Pride! Starting with about 150 participants in 2015, Montego Bay Pride expanded to over 300 people […]

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Towards a New NAFTA: Safeguarding Public Health and Access to Medicines: Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade (the “Committee”) as part of its upcoming consultations regarding the priorities of Canadian stakeholders having an interest in bilateral and trilateral trade in North America between Canada, the United States and Mexico. “Given the […]

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LGBTQI Jamaicans paint a bridge to the police

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network October 19, 2017 In 2010, I received an email from a stranger who promised to kill me if I continued to advocate for LGBTQI human rights in Jamaica. I was urged to go to the police and make a report — the first time I […]

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TURN OFF THE SPOTLIGHT: Sex workers and allies urge an end to Operation Northern Spotlight

October 19, 2017, Canada – As part of the hunt for people who “exploit” or purchase services from sex workers, police forces across Canada held their yearly raids between October 11–15 on sex work establishments that they call Operation Northern Spotlight. These operations include intrusive and intimidating visits to sex workers to their homes and […]

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As Battle Over NAFTA Investor Protections Heats Up, Trinational Coalition Delivers 400,000 Petitions Demanding Elimination of Corporate Rights and Tribunals

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2017 – Growing public opposition to the expansive corporate privileges at the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took centre stage as the fourth round of NAFTA talks began today in Washington, D.C. U.S., Mexican and Canadian civil society organizations delivered more than 400,000 petitions demanding that NAFTA’s […]

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Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group: Third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Canada

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network makes this submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in advance of the third review of Canada, to take place in April/May 2018. In this submission, the Legal Network describes four key areas requiring action from the government of Canada to fulfill the […]

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September 2017

Good Samaritans vs. Bureaucrats: Which Side Are You On?

Why “pop-up” overdose prevention sites are a legally justifiable and morally necessary response to the opioid overdose crisis and government inaction.

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Parallel Submission for 62 Session with Respect to Russia

Full title: Parallel Submission for 62 Session with respect to Russia in addition to the Shadow Report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concerning the access of people who inject drugs to drug treatment and HIV prevention, care and treatment programs This document presents information gathered for the Committee by the Public Mechanism […]

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RETHINKING JUSTICE: 7th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights: Report

Since 2009, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has organized a number of symposia on HIV, Law and Human Rights. The issue of criminalization of HIV non-disclosure has been and remains an ongoing issue of concern to people living with HIV, community organizations, service providers and human rights advocates; therefore, it has been the subject of […]

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Legally Empowering Key Populations in Russia in the Context of HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care

Monitoring and Evaluation of Technical Assistance to Key Populations And HIV Projects in Russia in Removing Legal Barriers and Community Systems Strengthening Since June 2015, Russia’s non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations working on HIV issues have been implementing a three-year project titled “Improving access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for key populations in […]

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August 2017

UN rights experts criticize Canada’s failure to end racist drug policies affecting Black and Indigenous people

TORONTO, August 28, 2017 — The Government of Canada must take immediate steps to implement recommendations by the United Nations’ highest body for combatting racism calling for an end to punitive drug policies that disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network said today. In its Concluding Observations on its review of […]

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Protecting the Human Rights of People Living with or at Risk of HIV in the Criminal Law: Submission to the Department of Justice

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) welcomes this opportunity to provide submissions to the Department of Justice on how the Canadian criminal law should be transformed. “In this submission, the Legal Network sets out its concerns about Canada’s criminal justice system, focusing on (i) the overly broad criminalization of HIV non-disclosure; (ii) the criminalization […]

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Concerns from the health community regarding proposed next steps in the TPP11

Canada continues to engage in discussions about reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even though the US has now withdrawn. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has joined with other civil society organizations to release an open letter to the governments of the remaining TPP countries, calling on them to abandon the TPP in its current form.

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Recomendaciones a Canadá: Presentación al Comité de la ONU para la Eliminación de la Discriminación Racial

Las minorías raciales son desproporcionadamente acusadas, procesadas y encarceladas en Canadá usando leyes que criminalizan a las personas que usan drogas y quitándoles sus derechos a un trato igualitario en el sistema de justicia, a su seguridad como persona y a los servicios de salud y sociales. El hecho que Canadá no ofrezca a los […]

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Recommendations to Canada: Submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Racialized communities are disproportionately charged, prosecuted and incarcerated in Canada under laws that criminalize people who use drugs, depriving them of their rights to equal treatment in the justice system, to security of the person, and to health and social services. Canada’s failure to provide prisoners, who are disproportionately Indigenous and Black, with equivalent access […]

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July 2017

Towards a New NAFTA: Safeguarding Public Health and Access to Medicines: Submission to Global Affairs Canada

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide submissions to Global Affairs Canada on the scope of the renegotiation and modernization of the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “Given the potential impact, domestically and globally, of a new trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, this briefing focuses on how […]

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Mandatory Minimum Incarceration for Drug Offences: Bad public policy: Submission to the Department of Justice

“There is no evidence that mandatory prison time for people convicted of drug offences reduces the problems associated with drug use, or drug use itself. “At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence that mandatory minimum sentences wreak terrible damage on individuals (particularly those who are dependent on drugs), families and communities, […]

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New report from Canada’s Drug Futures Forum outlines recommendations for the next decade of drug policy in Canada

Toronto, Canada (July 14, 2017) — Against the backdrop of a national opioid overdose crisis and the fracturing of the global consensus on criminalization-based drug policies, over 200 participants met in Ottawa at Canada’s Drug Futures Forum in April 2017 to produce a ten-year agenda for the future of Canadian drug policy. A new report […]

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

“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submits this briefing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in advance of its review of the periodic report of Canada, held during its 93rd session from July 31 to August 25, 2017. “[T]he Legal Network has focused this briefing on its concerns about Canada’s implementation of […]

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June 2017

UN day against “drug abuse” gets it all wrong

By Nicholas Caivano, Policy Analyst, and Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network June 29, 2017 As the world again marks the United Nation’s “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking,” too many UN member states are still missing the point — namely, that drugs are primarily a health issue and not a […]

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Brief to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights regarding its study on human rights of prisoners in the correctional system

The public health and human rights rationale for prison-based needle and syringe programs  Programs that ensure access to sterile injecting equipment are an important component of a comprehensive approach to reducing the vulnerability of prisoners to HIV and HCV infection.

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