My Commitment to Harm Reduction

A strong progressive movement must be dedicated to addressing the ongoing stigma and violence that many Canadians deal with across the country.

Be it the stigma and discrimination around HIV, Sex Work, Addiction and Poverty – harm reduction models are evidence based and have proven to provide substantial structural support to individuals and communities. Safety must be our first priority, and we must recognize the impact of intersecting oppressions and experiences. Too often stigma leads to discrimination- dis-empowers people in our communities, and often keeps them from accessing and receiving adequate health care and other key social services.

Individuals living with HIV are important members of our communities. As leader of the NDP I will foster communities that are resilient, supportive, and discrimination free-this means that I will work to end the stigma that those living with HIV face.

This is a core component of harm reduction, and ensuring that people living with HIV are receiving the medical treatment they are entitled to and deserve is my priority. Too often stigma and discrimination force many to live their lives underground, without access to health care treatments and resources. This must end.

We must work with community organizers and health care networks to ensure that comprehensive health care is available and affordable. We must protect the human rights of those living with HIV, and ensure they are safe and free from discrimination.

As leader of Canada’s NDP, I am committed to:

  • Guaranteeing anonymous access to highly active antiretrovirals (HAART) for treatment and prevention (PrEP) through my proposed universal, nationally-funded pharmacare system program without conditions such as participation or entry into research and/or surveillance programs.
  • Guaranteeing access to HIV medications for people living with HIV travelling between provinces and out-of-country for education, careers, and connection to families and community.
  • Creating access to medications and therapies used to treat and prevent co-morbidities associated with HIV, such as Hep C, diabetes, mental health diagnoses, trauma, and addictions.
  • Implementing routine HIV care and treatment along with essential health services for people who are incarcerated.
  • Ensuring immigrants and refugees living with HIV have access to HIV care and treatment throughout the process of becoming eligible for Canadian health care. Further, we must welcome people living with HIV who are immigrating to Canada and prohibit the use of the “excessive demand on health or social services” test as part of the immigrant and permanent resident processes for people living with HIV.
  • Repealing section 159 of the Criminal Code which describes an older age of consent for anal intercourse than other forms of sexual activity.
  • Ensuring Indigenous-led access to high-quality, free, HIV prevention, care, treatment and support for all Indigenous people in on- and off-reserve communities.
  • Explicitly including trans people, genderqueer people, gender creative people, agender people, two-spirit people and people who do not subscribe to binary concepts of gender in HIV funding, programming, research, and policy.
  • Investing in capacity-building for front line organizations already acting as a first point of contact for people with HIV. Great work is already being done in communities by organization like the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, and YouthCo HIV & Hep C Society. This work must be supported to ensure everyone living with HIV has access to safe spaces.
  • End the use of the criminal law in situations where HIV is not disclosed or discussed prior to sexual activity, with the exception of cases where there is a clear intentional transmission of HIV.
  • Expunge current and former cases and charges related to HIV non-disclosure such as aggravated sexual assault and attempted murder and reverse current designations as registered sexual offenders, with the exception of cases where there is a clear intentional transmission of HIV.

Safe injection sites are evidence-based initiatives, and have proven to be extremely effective harm reduction tools, and safe community hubs for all folks. These sites have proven to reduce and reverse overdoses, and have proven to reduce rates of HIV and Hepatitis infections.

Vancouver’s Insite, the first of it’s kind in Canada is world renowned, has set the precedent for these harm reduction models and it is imperative that Canada’s NDP show leadership by supporting provinces, territories, local governments and community organizations by providing funding for harm reduction models like Insite.

As leader of Canada’s NDP, I am committed to:

  • Ensuring that our party is clear on the message that the health, and the safety, of people who use drugs and face addiction are valued and their health is important.
  • Supporting community organizations, harm reduction agencies, local governments, provinces and territories to open supervised consumption sites across Canada.
  • Recognizing the lack of support services and funding for people in Northern, isolated, rural and First Nations communities by providing federal funding to ensure comprehensive harm reduction services, including safe consumption sites.

Progressive movements are stronger when we stand together; we must begin from the point of seeing sex work as work and believing that sex worker’s rights are human rights.

As leader of the NDP, I will build a strong, feminist, comprehensive harm reduction based approach to sex work in Canada that will centre the safety, health, and dignity of all those involved in sex work in Canada.

As leader of Canada’s NDP, I am committed to:

  • Working to repeal Bill C-36 (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act) and introduce legislation to decriminalize sex work across Canada.
  • Implementing a national feminist, harm reduction approach to sex work in consultation with sex workers that also addresses the ongoing impacts of colonialism in Canada on sex workers.
  • Immediately begin working with provincial health care partners to ensure that all sex workers receive judgement free health care, including working with provincial health care regulators to ensure that all health practitioners are receiving appropriate bias free training and provide non-biased health care.
  • Ensuring that funding for social programs is provided to organizations that support sex workers who continue to engage in various aspects of sex work and those that support workers who wish to exit sex work.