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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 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018

April 2019

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. The case will […]

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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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November 2018

Canada Must Act Now to Prevent Unjust HIV Prosecutions

With World AIDS Day just days away, over 100 health and human rights organizations are collectively calling on the federal government to take immediate action, in consultation with experts and people living with HIV, to end the overly broad use of the criminal law against people living with HIV.

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Raise Your Voice: Annual Report 2017-2018

Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.

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Statement: Canada Must Adopt a Human Rights-Based Approach to Drug Policy

November 22, 2018 – We, the undersigned, believe that Canada must commit to reducing the harms caused by its current drug laws. In response to Health Canada’s request for input on how to strengthen the federal government’s approach to substance use issues through the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS), our organizations are calling upon […]

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Statement: Jamaican Court of Appeal Gives Human Rights a Back Seat

November 9, 2018 — “After a nearly two-year delay, the constitutional challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law looks set to finally restart. The case was effectively suspended while the Jamaican Supreme Court waited for the Court of Appeal to decide whether the Public Defender could join the matter as an interested party. In a heavily criticized […]

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Limiting HIV prosecutions: Nice talk, but little action

November 5, 2018 It’s past time for action by the federal government. On World AIDS Day 2016, the federal Justice Minister declared that Canada must address the “overcriminalization of HIV” that contributes to HIV stigma and undermines public health. She also committed to working with the provinces, affected communities and medical professionals to this end. […]

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October 2018

Open letter to Ontario Minister of Health about the newly proposed “Consumption and Treatment Services” model

October 31, 2018 Dear Minister Elliott: We write to you as organizations concerned about the health and welfare of some of the most vulnerable Ontarians, in response to the October 22 announcement that your government plans to replace supervised consumption sites (SCS) and low-barrier overdose prevention sites (OPS) with “Consumption and Treatment Services.”

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Open Letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

“Dear Minister: Re: Commitment to take action to end “overcriminalization of HIV” in Canada? I write further to our letter of August 3rd and following recent discussions with representatives of your office and of your department regarding measures your government could take to follow through on your previously stated concern about the overly broad use […]

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Statement: Legal regulation of cannabis a welcome step forward

October 17, 2018 — Today marks an important step forward in Canada’s drug policy, as the legal regulation of cannabis for non-medical purposes takes effect. The Legal Network welcomes this important development toward sensible drug policy, but more must be done to uphold the health and human rights of people who use drugs in this […]

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Intimate Conviction launch – Toronto

Join us on November 5 for an event to celebrate the launch of our book, Intimate Conviction: Examining the Church and Anti-Sodomy Laws Across the Commonwealth. This volume contains the texts of some of the presentations from our groundbreaking summit held in Jamaica last year. The event will feature speakers, food and lively conversations about the […]

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Religious leaders call on governments across the Caribbean to repeal anti-LGBT laws

KINGSTON, Jamaica October 4, 2018 — Laws that criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy exist in a majority of Commonwealth countries, an unwelcome holdover from colonization — despite the fact that such laws have been long since repealed in the United Kingdom. But repealing these laws has proven difficult in some countries as they continue to be […]

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Media advisory: Groundbreaking Intimate Conviction volume demonstrates commitment of global faith leaders to LGBTQ rights

Kingston, Jamaica October 2, 2018 — One year after the groundbreaking “Intimate Conviction” conference, which examined the role of the church in establishing and maintaining anti-gay laws in Commonwealth countries, an edited volume of some of the conference presentations is now available. Being launched in Kingston, the volume will serve as an important tool to […]

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Women Deprived of Liberty Due to Drug-Related Offences in Canada

Submission to the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) welcomes this opportunity to provide comments to the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice (“Working Group”) on the issue of women deprived […]

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September 2018

Improve Access to Naloxone in Federal Prisons

There is an opioid overdose crisis in Canada. In 2017, a record 3,987 people in Canada died of apparent opioid overdoses, an increase of nearly 34% from 2,978 in 2016. As in the community as a whole, an increasing number of prisoners are overdosing — sometimes fatally — behind bars. Naloxone can temporarily reverse an […]

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August 2018

Support life-saving supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites: Open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott

Tomorrow, August 31, marks International Overdose Awareness Day. The epidemic of overdose deaths continues to take a staggering toll, underscoring the need to challenge the deadly stigma surrounding drug use and to revisit the failed approach of criminalizing drug use and imprisoning people who use drugs. But in Ontario this year, the government appears intent […]

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Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Human Trafficking in Canada

“Exploitation within the sex industry, including human trafficking, is of great concern to sex workers and to allied groups such as the Legal Network working to uphold sex workers’ human rights. However, anti-trafficking policies must be based on evidence and human rights — not ideological positions on sex work or moral panic.”

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International Prisoners’ Justice Day

By Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Policy and Advocacy International Prisoners’ Justice Day, observed every August 10, is a chance for people to reflect on what it truly means to be incarcerated in our country. Prisoners are not fundamentally different from us and remain members of our communities who are entitled to human rights. […]

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July 2018

Bringing science to justice: historic announcement at AIDS 2018

  July 25, 2018 Today we welcome an important development in the ongoing fight against HIV criminalization in Canada and around the globe.  At the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), underway this week in Amsterdam, 20 of the world’s leading HIV scientists published a peer-reviewed “Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the […]

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Media Statement: Groundbreaking consensus on HIV criminalization released by world scientific experts at International AIDS Conference

July 25, 2018 — Today, at the 22nd International AIDS Conference underway in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 20 eminent world scientists — including two leading Canadian researchers — released a groundbreaking Expert Consensus Statement providing their conclusive opinion on the low-to-no possibility of a person living with HIV transmitting the virus in various situations, including via […]

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Immigration and Travel to Canada for People Living with HIV: Questions and Answers

People living with HIV are allowed to travel to Canada. However, HIV status is one factor considered by the Government of Canada when deciding if a person can stay in Canada for an extended period of time. This Q&A provides information on how Canadian immigration law and policy affect people living with HIV who wish […]

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Comments on Recommendations from Canada’s Third Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide comments on recommendations that Canada has received during its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which took place on May 11, 2018. In this brief, the Legal Network provides comments on priority recommendations that Canada should consider accepting of the 299 recommendations received during the UPR. […]

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Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network in the Caribbean

Why the Caribbean? And why LGBTI human rights? As a region, the Caribbean has the second-highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, after sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS and regional and national agencies have identified homophobia as a factor contributing to this troubling statistic. In numerous countries, particularly the Commonwealth Caribbean, the criminalization of consensual same-sex relationships […]

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June 2018

Prison-Based Needle and Syringe Programs: Myths and Facts

As the first PSNPs are set to begin, we’re seeing a lot of incorrect information being circulated by opponents of these programs. In this fact sheet, the Legal Network looks to dispel some of the common myths.

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Legal Network submissions to 48th OAS General Assembly

From June 3-5, 2018 the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network participated in the 48th General Assembly (GA) of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Washington D.C. Unlike most other OAS GAs, there was no central theme for the this gathering and so many issues were open for discussion.  The Legal Network therefore collaborated with other civil society organizations working on similar issues, including LGBTI human rights, sex worker rights, drug use […]

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OAS Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression – Ten Years On

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Maurice Tomlinson presenting the IACHR Rapporteur on LGBTI people, Flavia Piovesan, with a copy of our work in the Caribbean On June 5, the 48th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted another annual resolution on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.  […]

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Media advisory: Vital community dialogue about HIV criminalization and the way forward

TORONTO June 13, 2018 — Canada (and Ontario) has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of criminalizing people living with HIV in the world. As Pride Toronto marks 35 years of AIDS activism this Pride Month, and with the results of last week’s provincial election creating uncertainty about the future of […]

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Drug Policy and Human Rights: The Canadian Context and Recommendations to OHCHR

“Repressive drug control laws and policies around the world have fueled the HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) epidemics and contributed to mounting human rights violations against people who use drugs. The upcoming Ministerial Segment of the 62nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2019 represents another important opportunity for Member […]

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Barbados Challenge Q&A

Three Barbadians — a trans woman, a lesbian and a gay man — have filed a petition against Barbados before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) challenging  laws criminalizing “buggery” and other intimacy between consenting partners, including partners of the same-sex, as violating numerous rights guaranteed in the American Convention on Human Rights. This […]

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News release: Challenge launched against two sections of Barbados’ discriminatory sexual offences act

Three Barbadians — a trans woman, a lesbian and a gay man — are filing today a petition against Barbados before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) challenging laws criminalising “buggery” and other intimacy between consenting partners, including same-sex partners, as violating numerous rights guaranteed in the American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR […]

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