Pride flag

Make it Queer: Intro to Harm Reduction through a Gender and Sexual Diversity Lens

July 28, 2021

Excitingly, there has been an increase in people working to expand harm reduction programming in Canada. This Stimulus webinar is an opportunity to learn and connect on sexual and gender diverse communities and what good engagement looks like. This event will start at the basics and move deeper into the culture’s needs.

This webinar is a foundational piece for a future Stimulus Connect that will discuss the harm reduction and drug policy issues that gender and sexually diverse people face.

Presentation Slides 1: Cultural Competency for Harm Reduction Workers July 28 2021

Presentation Slides 2: 2SLGBTQ 101: Communities, Identities and Context, July 28, 2021

We’ve gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.


  1. MAX Ottawa
    1. MAX Programs, including Keeping it 100, NOW WHAT?, Maxpress Yourself and Queerspora, Behind the Scene, Spill the Tea, Outright, Community Maximizer, Group Programs, Peer Support Program, Mental Health Navigation Program and Senior Pride
  2. Community-Based Research CentreWebsites:
  3. Skipping Stones
  4. Trans Wellness Ontario
  5. AlterHéros
  6. gendered intelligence 
  7. My Kid is Gay
  8. 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations
  9. TOMQ
  10. Peer N Peer (PNP) is a peer-led queer substance use and sexual health program
  11. Ontario Harm Reduction Network
  12. Trans Care BC

Upcoming Events

  1. World Hepatitis Day, July 28
  2. 34th Annual International 2Spirit Gathering 2021, August 25 – 29, 2021 in Edmonton, AB and Online.
  3. International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31
  4. Orange Shirt Day, September 30


  1. Pronouns Game: Minus 18
  2. Our Stats is an online database of findings from Canada’s largest and longest running GBT2Q health survey, Sex Now.
  3. How to use gender neutral grammar in French? November 2020
  4. Practice with Pronouns
  5. The Gender Unicorn
  6. Do’s and Don’ts for Providers


  1. Two Spirits, One Voice
  2. Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms, November 2015
  3. A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of Transgender.


  1. Response to Health Canada’s Policy on Poppers, June 16, 2021
  2. Cis People — Stop Expecting to Understand Transness: Being Trans is a Fundamentally Unrelatable Experience to Cis People — That’s What Makes Them Cis, May 13, 2021
  3. Queer Feminine Identities and the War on Drugs, November 19, 2020 which is from The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle
  4. Substance use and supervised consumption services for gay, bisexual, trans and queer men and Two-Spirit and non-binary people, October 2020
  5. Meet the Methods Series: “What and who is Two-Spirit?” in Health Research, October 2020
  6. Health and health care access for trans and non-binary people in Canada, March 10, 2020
  7. Being Safe, Being Me 2019: Results of the Canadian Trans and Non-binary Youth Health Survey
  8. Gender-inclusive language in France: A manual A Manual, June 2019
  9. The Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada, June, 2019


  1. International Journal of Transgender Health
  2. The case for a Canadian standard for 2SLGBTQIA+ medical education, April 19, 2021
  3. Longitudinal associations of cannabis, depression, and anxiety in heterosexual and LGB adolescents, May 2021
  4. Health and well-being of trans and non-binary participants in a community-based survey of gay, bisexual, and queer men, and non-binary and Two-Spirit people across Canada, February 11, 2021
  5. Workplace support and affirming behaviors: Moving toward a transgender, gender diverse, and non-binary friendly workplace, December 2020
  6. Poverty in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) populations in Canada: an intersectional review of the literature, February 2020
  7. Cultural safety in nursing: the New Zealand experience, October 1996

Queer Media

  1. Xtra Magazine
  2. Autostraddle
  3. OUTTV
  5. Love Intersections

The Queer Agenda t-shirt from the Drug Policy Alliance


The Canadian Prison System: Realities and Innovative Practices

April 22, 2021

Today, harm reduction is slowly making its way into prison settings. However, in reality, this approach is not sufficiently implemented, and often poorly thought out for incarcerated people who use substances. With a critical eye, we will revisit harm reduction policies in prisons, while presenting Canadian examples of innovative projects and programs.


Hard Time: Harm Reduction Policy in Federal Prisons

Real Talk

In-Reach and Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP): A PASAN Perspective

  • Nicole Alexander et Chris McNab, Federal In-Reach Community Development Coordinators, PASAN

Harm Reduction in Ontario Provincial Jails

  • Lindsay Jennings, Provincial Hep C Program Coordinator, PASAN

A Project for Access to Naloxone in a Context of Incarceration



  1. Website: Prison Health Now
  2. Website: PASAN is a community-based prisoner health and harm reduction organization that provides support, education and advocacy to prisoners and ex-prisoners across Canada.
  3. Website: HIV Legal Network’s work on Prisons

Resources & Articles (2011-18)

  1. Improve Access to Naloxone in Federal Prisons, September 6, 2018
  2. The “Problem of Health Care” in Canada’s Federal Prisons, March 2018
  3. Journal Article: Health in correctional facilities is health in our communities, March 12, 2018
  4. Journal Article: HIV and hepatitis C virus infections in Quebec’s provincial detention centres: comparing prevalence and related risky behaviours between 2003 and 2014-2015, May 11, 2017
  5. Report: Indigenous Communities and HIV and HCV in Federal Prisons: Questions and Answers, April 2017
  6. Clinical Review: Health status of prisoners in Canada, 2016
  7. Report: UN Experts Make Historic Recommendations to Canada: End Unjust HIV Criminalization, Repeal Law Restricting Supervised Consumption Services, and Implement Needle and Syringe Programs in Prisons, November 18, 2016
  8. Journal Article: Health status of prisoners in Canada, March 2016
  9. Office of the Correctional Investigator: Access to Physical and Mental Health Care, March 14, 2016
  10. Report: ON POINT: Recommendations for Prison Based Needle and Syringe Programs in Canada, January 2016
  11. Journal Article: Prison health care inequality, April 2, 2013
  12. Journal Article: Incidence and risk factors for non-fatal overdose among a cohort of recently incarcerated illicit drug users, February 7, 2012
  13. Journal Article: Peer health promotion in prisons: a systematic review, 2011

Resources & Articles (2019-21)

  1. COVID-19 Prisoner Emergency Support Fund: Support prisoners re-entering the community and the families of those still behind bars
  2. Journal Article: Correctional services during and beyond COVID-19, April 8, 2021
  3. Video: Overcoming stigma and violence against incarcerated and drug using women, March 24, 2021
  4. Correctional Service of Canada fails to track employees accused of sexual assault in prisons, March 8, 2021
  5. Hepatitis C infection secondary to illicit drug use for prisoners within the correctional system, March 3, 2021
  6. Houses of hate: How Canada’s prison system is broken, February 28, 2021
  7. Report: No Turning Back: [Canadian Bar Association] Task Force Report on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19, February 17, 2021
  8. Ontario Prisoners’ Resource Guide, January 2021
  9. Journal Article: Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes among Incarcerated Women in Canada: A Scoping Review, January 28, 2021
  10. Transitioning from incarceration to the community: Reducing risks and improving lives of people who use substances, November 23, 2020
  11. Report: Decriminalizing People Who Use Drugs: A Primer for Municipal and Provincial Governments, November 12, 2020
  12. Human Rights Groups File Legal Challenge Citing Canada’s Failure to Protect Prisoners’ Health in the Context of COVID-19, October 14, 2020
  13. Report: Office of the Correctional Investigator Annual Report 2019-2020, June 16, 2020
    • Recommendation 5: I recommend that CSC review independent Patient Advocate models in place in Canada and internationally, develop a framework for federal corrections and report publicly on its intentions in 2020-21 with full implementation of an external Patient Advocate system in 2021-22.
  14. Journal Article: Recent incarceration and risk of first-time injection initiation assistance: A prospective cohort study of persons who inject drugs, April 29, 2020
  15. A Public Health Failure: Former Prisoner and HIV Gropus in Court Suing the Government of Canada for Failing to Provide Effective Access to Prison Needle and Syringe Program, March 5, 2020
  16. Report: Focus on Harm Reduction for Injection Drug Use in Canadian Prisons: A supplement to CNA’s Harm Reduction Discussion Paper
  17. Prison Needle Exchange Program, August 28, 2019
  18. Prison – Based Needle and Syringe Programs, July 11, 2019
    • Policy Brief on the Correctional Service of Canada’s Prison Needle Exchange Program
    • Fact Sheet that Dispels Some of the Common Myths
  19. Open Letter to the Government of Canada on the Evaluation of its “Prison Needle Exchange Program”, March 25, 2019


  1. Journal Article: “My first 48 hours out”: drug users’ perspectives on challenges and strategies upon release from prison, March 12, 2021
  2. Prisons Are a Public Health Crisis — and the Cure Is Right in Front of Us, October 13, 2020
  3. Incarceration Should Not Be a Death Sentence, July 21, 2020
  4. Journal Article: Prison-based needle and syringe programmes (PNSP) – Still highly controversial after all these years, June 15, 2015
RCMP police cruiser

Decriminalization: Beyond the Buzzword

December 8, 2020

Up to now, drug policies in Canada have failed to protect the health and human rights of people who use drugs. Criminalization puts, more than ever, people who use drugs at risk and contributes to their marginalization and oppression. As the country faces two major crises, establishing a public health and human rights approach to drugs is urgently needed to save lives.

In this webinar, four speakers present different aspects and international models surrounding decriminalization of drug possession for personal use.



  1. Sign On: Decriminalize simple drug possession immediately
  2. Maps: Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project
  3. Maps: Drug Decriminalisation Across the World 29 countries. 49 models of drug decriminalisation. One handy web-tool.
  4. Read: Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada by Susan C. Boyd
  5. Podcast: Crackdown
  6. Website: Decriminalize Nature Canada
  7. Letter: Canadian Government: Decriminalize Simple Drug Possession Immediately and  Drug Decriminalization Follow Up Open Letter to Government
  8. Opinion: Caitlin Shane: Decriminalize drugs across Vancouver and watch the harm recede, October 9, ,2020
  9. Opinion: Canadians Split on Decriminalization of Possession of Narcotics, Prostitution | Ipsos , January 29, 2020
  10. Resource: Guidelines to prosecutors in determining the appropriate approach to the prosecution of the possession of a controlled substance contrary to s. 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (the “CDSA”).
  11. Resource: Act Now! Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver, 2020
  12. Resource: Impaired Judgment: Assessing the Appropriateness of Drug Treatment Courts as a Response to Drug Use in Canada — Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, June 7, 2012
  13. Resource: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice: A Global Summary
  14. Resource: Dismantling the [US] Federal Drug War: A Comprehensive Drug Decriminalization Framework (The Drug Policy Reform Act)
  15. Resource: Drug decriminalisation in Portugal: setting the record straight
  16. News: How a Canadian Decriminalization Model Can Improve on Portugal, October 6, 2020
  17. News: Exclusive: President Behind Mexico’s War on Drugs Admitted It Was ‘Unwinnable’, September 23, 2020
  18. News: Canada Is So Close to Decriminalizing Drugs: Let’s Make It Happen, September 2, 2020
  19. News: Decriminalization of drugs ‘not a silver bullet’ for overdose crisis, prime minister says, September 2, 2020
  20. News: Canada’s top doctor open to opioid decriminalization as deaths spike, August 24, 2020
  21. News: ‘Societal discussion’ on drugs decriminalisation needed amid surge in opioid deaths, Canada’s health chief says, August 24, 2020
  22.  News: Talks needed on decriminalizing hard drugs to address opioid crisis, Tam says, August 22, 2020
  23. News: Canadian police chiefs call for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession, July 9, 2020
  24. News: B.C.’s top doctor urges province to decriminalize possession of hard drugs to address overdose crisis, April, 25, 2020
  25. News: Portugal’s Decriminalization of Drug Use, Explained, February 28. 2020
  26. News: Chief medical officer calls for decriminalization of all drugs for personal use, July 9, 2018
  27. Journal Article: Depenalization, diversion and decriminalization: A realist review and programme theory of alternatives to criminalization for simple drug possession, November 28,2019
  28. Journal Article: Drug Decriminalization: A Matter of Justice and Equity, Not Just Health, November 15, 2019
  29. Journal Article: Uses and Abuses of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal, Summer 2015

French Resources

  1. Nouvelle : Arruda «en faveur» de la décriminalisation des drogues au Québec, 31 août 2020
  2. Vidéo : Faut-il décriminaliser les drogues? 6 octobre 2020
tiled screen grab from a Zoom screen

When Harm Reduction Loses its Authenticity

October 14, 2020

Today, the term Harm Reduction is everywhere, often misunderstood and sometimes misused. Its principles and philosophy are forgotten, leaving room for a false vision of what it represents. People who use drugs and social justice are at the centre, it goes beyond risk reduction. In addition to speaking to its philosophy, principles and values, this webinar will provide insights into various practices and the creation of safe spaces for people who use drugs.



  1. Beyond the Buzzword: A Concept Analysis of Harm Reduction, 2019
  2. Harm reduction in name, but not substance: a comparative analysis of current Canadian provincial and territorial policy frameworks, July 26, 2017
  3. Beyond the Buzzword: The Evolution of Harm Reduction by Dominique Denis-Lalonde – Canadian Harm Reduction Nurses Association
  4. Harm Reduction Service Model (Victoria Safer Initiative)
  5. Crackdown
  6. Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs
  7. Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – Harm Reduction 
  8. CATIE – Substance Use and Harm Reduction 
  9. Canadian Public Health Association – Can You Identify and Apply Harm Reduction Strategies
  10. Website: CRISM – CHARP Framework and CHARP Results
  11. BC Centre for Disease Control – Harm Reduction Guidelines
  12. Canadian Nurses Association – Harm Reduction
  13. Harm Reduction Nurses Association
  14. Looking for help and support concerning drug use and addiction?
  15. Read: Decriminalizing People Who Use Drugs: A Primer for Municipal and Provincial Governments, November 2020
  16. A Reflection on Sex Work and Harm Reduction Discourse, June 2020
  17. Gendering the Scene: Women, Gender-Diverse People, and Harm Reduction in Canada, May 12, 2020
  18. Indigenous Harm Reduction = Reducing the Harms of Colonialism, 2019
  19. Harm Reduction Services for Indigenous People Who Use Drugs: Questions and Answers, April 20. 2017
  20. “Nothing About Us Without Us” Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative, 2005
  21. Harm Reduction and Substance Use (Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Association of Nurses in HIV/AIDS Care and Harm Reduction Nurses Association)

International Resources

  1. Harm Reduction International – What is Harm Reduction?
  2. International People Who Use Drugs (INPUD)
  3. International Drug Policy Consortium 
  4. National Harm Reduction Coalition – Harm Reduction Education On-Demand
  5. Harm Reduction and Women: An International Human Rights Approach
  6. Is Decriminalisation Enough? Drug User Community Voices from Portugal
  7. The Global State of Harm Reduction 2020
  8. Read: Moving Beyond ‘People-First’ Language: A glossary of contested terms in substance use
  9. Words Matter! INPUD & ANPUD Language Statement & Reference Guide
  10. World Drug Report 2020 (United Nations)