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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.


May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016

May 2017

Letter to provinces and territories Re: Healthy drug policy: Bill C-37 and beyond

“We, the undersigned, write to you respecting the recent passage into law of Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts. As you well know, the intent of this law is to facilitate the scaling up of safer consumption services (SCS) across Canada, […]

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List of Issues Prior to Reporting: Canada’s Compliance with the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

“In advance of the adoption of the List of Issues Prior to Reporting for Canada’s periodic review under the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (‘Convention’), to be held during its 93rd session from 31 July to 25 August 2017, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (‘Legal Network’) would like to provide […]

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Submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration 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. “We recommend that the excessive demand provision be repealed, for the following reasons: The excessive demand provision is discriminatory. […]

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Canada Needs Action Now: Top Priorities in Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Reform

TORONTO, May 15, 2017 — Today scientists, medical professionals, policy makers, activists and people who use drugs are gathering in Montréal for the 25th Harm Reduction International Conference 2017 (HR17). Meanwhile the opioid crisis rages on and, even as Canada takes an important step forward by legalizing and regulating cannabis, outdated prohibitionist drug policies continues to […]

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Brief to the Standing Committee on Social Policy Regarding Bill 96, the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2017

We urge the Standing Committee on Social Policy to uphold the human rights of sex workers by rejecting Bill 96, the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2017, as it does not help end trafficking but endangers the safety and security of vulnerable people, particularly migrant sex workers.

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Harm Reduction in Canada: What Governments Need to Do Now

Canada is in urgent need of comprehensive harm reduction policy that jettisons the failed, costly model of drug prohibition that has ravaged so many lives, from fueling the spread of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), to contributing to over-incarceration, to creating conditions for the ongoing epidemic of overdose fatalities. A harm reduction approach must […]

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Reducing stigma and discrimination through the protection of privacy and confidentiality

This resource explains the important role of privacy and confidentiality in reducing stigma and discrimination related to STBBIs, and offers frontline health and social service providers several strategies they can use to deal with issues related to privacy, confidentiality, the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure and stigma reduction.

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Canada must be a true LGBTQI ally

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, and Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network May 1, 2017 Despite certain advances in some countries, the world remains a very dangerous place for LGBTQI people. In Chechnya, gay men are being kidnapped, tortured and even murdered by uniformed military. This horrific situation has reignited an urgent […]

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Indigenous Women, HIV and Gender-Based Violence

This report synthesizes resources that jointly consider Indigenous women, HIV and gender-based violence and relevant recommendations for law reform.

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Letter to Health Minister Re: Senate Committee Amendments to Bill C-37

“For the reasons we have noted, we urge you to oppose and remove the Senate committee’s three amendments to Bill C-37, as they are contrary to the spirit and purpose of the bill, creating unnecessary mechanisms for delay in determinations regarding exemptions for SCS [safer consumption services] and reflecting an ongoing stigmatization surrounding people who […]

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April 2017

Open Letter to Government Ministers Re: Renegotiating TPP

“We write to you in advance of Canada’s meeting with senior trade officials from TPP countries on May 2–3 in Toronto to map out the future of the agreement in light of the United States’ withdrawal. This meeting presents a critical opportunity for Canada to demonstrate human rights leadership—both nationally and globally. “As it stands, […]

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Educate yourself about HIV transmission

Earlier this year, the Legal Network, HALCO and PASAN produced a poster for people in prison to address common myths about HIV transmission. The poster will be posted in the Admitting and Discharge Area of all provincial correctional institutions in Ontario and in the program rooms on the ranges at Toronto South Detention Centre.

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Letter to Toronto Police Services Board RE: Request for Feedback on Police “Street Checks”

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network wishes to add our voice to the many calling for the immediate abolition of all aspects of “street checks” or “carding” used by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

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Sex Offender Registries: Fact Sheet

This fact sheet discusses common questions regarding sex offender registries in Canada in the context of the criminal law and HIV non-disclosure. This is general legal information and not legal advice. If you want legal advice specific to your situation, you should talk to a lawyer.

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Harm Reduction Services for Indigenous People Who Use Drugs: Questions and Answers

In Canada, Indigenous people experience higher rates of injection drug use and less access to health care than non-Indigenous people. For many Indigenous people, drug use offers a means of coping with traumatic life circumstances, including those related to their experiences with the residential school and child welfare systems in Canada, legacies of colonialism and […]

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Know Your Rights: A Guide for Child and Family Service Providers Serving People Living with HIV

This guide was written for child and family service providers who provide support and assistance to people living with or affected by HIV.

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Know Your Rights: Guide for Parents Living with HIV

This resource was produced for parents or prospective parents living with HIV, including women, transgender men and non-binary people. Its aim is to provide practical information and to foster knowledge about some of the main areas of concern that parents living with or affected by HIV may have. Also available in Spanish and Swahili.

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March 2017

Indigenous Communities and HIV and HCV in Federal Prisons: Questions and Answers

This ‘Question and Answer’ booklet is for prisoners who identify as First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and who are imprisoned in a federal prison or healing lodge run by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

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Indigenous communities: HIV, privacy and confidentiality

Knowing your rights and responsibilities when it comes to HIV disclosure, privacy and confidentiality is an important way to protect your privacy. This guide provides answers to common questions on disclosure, privacy and confidentiality in the health care settings, workplaces, post-secondary institutions and other settings — places where many Indigenous people living with HIV have […]

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Exploring Avenues to Address Problematic Prosecutions Against People Living with HIV in Canada

In consultation with the community, federal and provincial governments must take action to limit HIV criminalization and bring the law in line with international recommendations, science and human rights as outlined in the attached brief.

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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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Women and HIV – “Women and the Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure”

This is one in a series of four info sheets on the human rights of women living with or vulnerable to HIV in Canada. Please note: this info sheet updates the original, which was published in May 2012.

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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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Recommendations for Aligning Canada’s International Obligations with the Country’s New Legal Framework for Cannabis

“As Canada prepares to enact legislation that will legalize and regulate cannabis, the government should begin to explore Canada’s options for ensuring that the country’s international legal obligations are brought into alignment with its new legal framework for cannabis. Canada’s reform will inevitably involve entering into non-compliance with specific elements of the UN drug control […]

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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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