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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 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019

April 2020

FLATTEN INEQUALITY: Human rights in the age of COVID-19

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, law- and policymakers are taking and contemplating drastic measures to minimize the spread of the virus. But hasty and broad punitive measures may perversely undermine public health objectives while also violating human rights — so it is essential that any measures be appropriately narrow and comply with […]

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Letter: Protect The Right to Health of People Who Use Drugs During COVID-19

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has joined leaders in harm reduction to call on the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health to provide guidance to states on how to promote and protect the right to health of people who use drugs in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 emergency poses unprecedented challenges, creating […]

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Letter: Canadian border closed to refugees

        The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Doctors Without Borders Canada and Amnesty International Canada called on the Canadian government to uphold refugee laws and treaties and to immediately reverse its March 20, 2020 Orders in Council legislation during COVID-19 to shut the Canada-US border to people seeking refugee protection and return them […]

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March 2020

Letter: Reject the socio-economic “review” of supervised consumption sites in Alberta 

Read our open letter (download here) in response to Alberta’s “review” of supervised consumption sites, which has been endorsed by 30 Canadian organizations. We have sent this to Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta; Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health; and Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.   Dear Premier Kenney, Minister Shandro, and Associate Minister Luan: We […]

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Open letter to government: COVID-19 – Protecting Prisoner Health

Download letter to Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. Download letter to Federal Minister Bill Blair and Commissioner of CSC Anne Kelly.   March 17, 2020   The Hon. Bill Blair Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Public Safety Canada Anne Kelly, Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada     Dear Minister Blair and Commissioner Kelly:   […]

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NEWS RELEASE: PRISON NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM

A PUBLIC HEALTH FAILURE: FORMER PRISONER AND HIV GROUPS IN COURT SUING THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE ACCESS TO PRISON NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM   This statement is being re-released (with additional information) due to a rescheduling of the court hearing from December 9, 2019 to March 6, 2020.  The following […]

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February 2020

STATEMENT: WHY ARE WE STILL PROSECUTING PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV WHO USE CONDOMS?

The following statement is issued jointly by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”), the Coalition des organismes communautaires québécois de lutte contre le sida (COCQ-SIDA), and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO). Comments can be attributed to Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.   TORONTO, February 12, 2020 — Today, […]

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January 2020

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on the Rights to Freedom of Association of Migrants

We make this submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mr. Felipe González Morales, to describe laws and policies that inhibit migrant sex workers and other marginalized communities from enjoying their right to freedom of association, as well as concrete steps that States, international organizations and the UN can take […]

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

This brief is submitted to the Minister of Health and members of the Canadian delegation to the 63rd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) by the Canadian Civil Society Working Group on UN Drug Policy (see Appendix). The Working Group was originally established in preparation for the 2016 UNGASS. Since this event, […]

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December 2019

NEWS RELEASE: PRISON NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM

A PUBLIC HEALTH FAILURE:  FORMER PRISONER AND HIV GROUPS IN COURT SUING THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE PRISON NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM   The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Comments can be attributed to Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Research and Advocacy.   December […]

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Media advisory: Prison needle exchange program court hearing

FORMER PRISONER AND HIV GROUPS IN COURT SUING THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE PRISON NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM   The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, a former prisoner, and three other HIV organizations are suing the Government of Canada over its failure to provide prisoners with easy, confidential, and effective […]

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November 2019

NEWS RELEASE: CANADA’S TOP 5 ISSUES FOR WORLD AIDS DAY 2019

  November 28, 2019 — Sunday, December 1 is World AIDS Day, and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is calling on the Government of Canada to respond to HIV with a renewed emphasis on human rights and a much-needed infusion of resources. The latest data shows HIV infections are continuing to rise, with a 17.1% increase […]

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October 2019

Submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

In advance of the adoption of the List of Issues Prior to Reporting for Canada’s periodic review under the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW Convention”), to be held during the 76th Pre-Sessional Working Group (11 – 15 November, 2019), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“HIV Legal Network”) […]

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September 2019

Federal Election 2019

On October 21, 2019, Canadians will head to the polls for a federal election. This is our chance to decide what kind of government we want — and at the Legal Network we’re hoping for one that upholds and actively promotes health and human rights. On this page you’ll find resources related to the election […]

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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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