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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.


November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017

November 2017

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 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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Indigenous Communities and HIV: Resilience, strength and solidarity

June 21, 2017 Today, National Aboriginal Day, we recognize not only the cultures and contributions of First Nation, Inuit and Métis people in Canada, but also the resilience and strength of these communities. Many Indigenous Peoples have had to cope with traumatic life circumstances, including those related to experiences with the residential school and child […]

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Urgent Action Needed To Save OAS LGBTQI Human Rights Resolution

By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network June 21, 207 Without urgent action by the Government of Canada and other countries supportive of fundamental human rights, protections for LGBTQI people across the western hemisphere are about to be set back by a decade. This is because a very unfortunate precedent is likely […]

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Words. Action. Impact. Annual Report 2016–2017

Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.

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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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