2020-2021 Annual Report
Table of Contents
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Ontario Advisory Committee of People Living with HIV
The Advisory Committee has worked hard over its first year to guide several aspects of the OAN’s work. After the recruitment of members in June of 2020, the Advisory Committee began a three part orientation to the OAN led by OAN staff and Board members. This included a session by Viviana Santibañez about bringing other voices to the table as well as a history of GIPA/MEPA in Ontario delivered by Rick Kennedy. In September 2020, the Committee held its first meeting to provide feedback and guidance on the renewal of the Honour Roll. At this time, the Advisory also elected co-Chairs and discussed the agenda for the Delegate’s meeting.
At the 2020 Delegate’s meeting, the Advisory Committee discussed renewal of the Ontario Accord and Living and Serving, taking specific focus on GIPA/MEPA within organizations and guiding the OAN as it began undertaking renewal of the Ontario Accord over the next calendar year.
Below are a few key points from that discussion:
- GIPA/MEPA means different things to different people who are living HIV. For example, the needs for long-term survivors are unique; how do agencies meet all these different needs, and how does the Ontario Accord hold agencies accountable?
- The Accord should communicate the importance of participation of people living with HIV in all the agency’s work.
- Develop an inclusive Accord that represents the face of PHAs including racialized people, trans, youth, harm reduction, and long -term survivors.
- Latin and Spanish speaking people living with HIV are not visible in the sector’s racialized communities even though HIV infection rates in the Latin community keep going up.
After a thorough recruitment process, the Advisory Committee for People Living with HIV/AIDS identified a consultant team to lead the renewal of the Ontario Accord. This team will lead a process in collaboration with the Advisory Committee over the next seven months and will engage with OAN
member organizations, community members, and other stakeholders as they develop an Ontario Accord for 2021 and beyond.
Manager of PLDI and Special Events
Reflections from members of the Advisory Committee of People Living with HIV
“It’s been an honour. Meetings have been very reflective”
“I feel this is what I want to do, we will kick it”
“It’s been amazing working with this diverse group on the Committee, knowing that
we are affecting change, I have cried and laughed, thank you all”
“First time I am feeling like my voice is being heard and learning from other people”
“In the right place”
Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI), Ontario
The 2020/21 Fiscal Year was a pivotal one for the PLDI program. We are proud to know that COVID-19 couldn’t stop the National Alliance from ensuring PLDI continued. This year the Alliance grew stronger and closer and is poised to unveil its new online core training and website.
In March of 2020, Ontario was in a state of emergency. Meanwhile, PLDI Ontario had just recruied five HIV-positive facilitators from various parts of the province who were prepared to offer many planned workshops. Soon after the Ontario shutdown, other provinces quickly followed and PLDI was in a state of uncertainty. Within days, the three regional managers and our PLDI National Coordinator began weekly meetings to discuss ways to keep the program going.
In April, the Ontario facilitation team had their first meet and greet, introducing the seasoned and emerging leaders to one another over Zoom. The Alliance continued weekly manager meetings with all three provinces and our National Coordinator. These meetings strengthened the National Alliance and provided a space where managers and the National Coordinator could lean on each other during uncertain times.
Soon after, Ontario hosted its first graduate check in June for 34 graduates, followed soon after by a second graduate check-in attended by 23 graduates. Our third Ontario graduate check-in kicked off in June with 28 graduates in attendance. We followed it up with a National Jamboree where graduates from all three provinces could connect, share, laugh, and learn. This meeting allowed The OAN to introduce its five new PLDI facilitators, allowed us to share how each province was working virtually with PLDI (IDLP in French), and meaningfully engage. That December, Ontario held its fourth graduate check-in attended by 23 graduates.
In Summer of 2020, it was clear that face-to-face meetings would remain impossible for some time. So, the National Alliance began a search for a digital platform to help them to continue training and engage people living with HIV in meaningful ways. In late Summer, we adapted the core training workshop to an online module, and modified the curriculum, governance, and communications to be available via a digital learning management system (LMS) platform. By late Fall, managers and the National Coordinator were pursuing Brightspace LMS certifications. During this time, PLDI also developed its new website now available in English and French.
With the new learning management system (LMS) platform launch on the horizon, Ontario started a pre-PLDI facilitator boot camp for the new facilitators, reviewing the code of conduct, curriculum, application process, facilitating tips and tricks, group work, individual work, and strengthening the team. The countdown to the Online core training started in January.
In February, as the Fiscal Year was winding down, PLDI introduced a HIV-Masterclass Series in Ontario focused on inviting graduates to explore the factors and conditions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, as PLDI enters its fifteenth year of programming excellence, we extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to all PLDI graduates, trainers, and managers, and to our National Alliance Partners. We also thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for their continuous support for the past 15 years. We are so proud of PLDI’s has grown and development to where we are today, and where we are heading over the next year and beyond. We look forward to celebrating fifteen years of success with you in the coming months.
Manager of PLDI and Special Events
Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI), National
This year, we learned that from crisis comes opportunity. Like many other programs, PLDI national began adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic early and continued adjusting throughout the Fiscal Year. To keep continuity and connection, PLDI program managers began meeting on a weekly basis and have continued doing so ever since.
Virtual check-ins with graduates to support alumni of the program were also initiated early on in British Columbia and adopted and adapted in Québec and Ontario. Overall, we held 20 meetings with PLDI graduates to discuss resiliency, refresh leadership and communication skills and practices, maintain community networks as well as onboard some to online and digital communication tools and platforms.
This year, we also began digitizing the PLDI. To do this, we established working groups with our trainers to explore and choose technologies that would help us make PLDI training available online, and then began to modify our learning materials and modalities to be delivered online. Revised workplans, evaluation plans and budgets were expanded and became the stepping-stones to define our new five-year, National Alliance project (submitted to PHAC 2022 Community Action Fund funding cycle) which includes a sustainable and flexible blended learning model that enables in person and online training throughout the country.
After intensive research and debate, PLDI National Alliance managers finished out the year by learning the Brightspace learning management system (LMS) platform, developing our dynamic online Core training and putting the finishing touch on our new bilingual PLDI website.
Results of our evaluation of the National Alliance indicate our work remains impactful despite the challenges of this Fiscal Year:
- 63% feel they have benefited from the Alliance’s work.
- 81% of survey respondents felt there had been an increase in collaboration possibilities across the PLDI National Alliance through the creation of online workshops and training.
- 94% of respondents felt they had a good understanding of the common goals for the PLDI National Alliance.
- 75% felt the Alliance is adding value to their work.
- 80% believed the collaboration between regions has strengthened the curriculum and training methods.
PLDI national builds on fifteen years of successful delivery and positive health outcomes for people living with HIV in Canada. Looking to the future, the PLDI National Alliance will continue to grow the program and expand to reach participants across the country.
National Coordinator, PLDI
Policy and Advocacy
Over this past fiscal year, the OAN, with support and input from our members has been ever increasingly engaged in policy-related work and advocacy activities at the provincial and federal level. After installing a Manager of Policy and Advocacy in September of 2020, the OAN’s policy and advocacy portfolio has expanded ensuring our Member and Affiliate voices are heard.
Highlights of our activities from this past fiscal year include:
- Successful advocacy and consultation to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) to uphold the current ODSP eligibility policy for people living with HIV (following auditor general’s report indicating people living with HIV should be subject to adjudication to determine medical eligibility). This work was completed in partnership with community members, clinicians, Member and Affiliate organizations (Toronto PWA, Black CAP, OTHN, HALCO, CAAT, Maple Leaf Medical Clinic, Toronto HIV/AIDS Network and others).
- Development, production, and release of the Step Forward podcast, newsletter, and resource series exploring anti-Black racism in Ontario’s HIV and AIDS service sector.
- Sector-wide launch of the Reconciliation in Action Guidance document conceptualized and refined by the OAN Reconciliation in Action Working Group whose members include: Oahas, Réseau Access Network, PASAN, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area, Elevate NWO, Gilbert Centre, and whose activities are guided by Elder Advisors Linda Plain, Linda Barkman, and Pat Green.
- Reconvening of the Reconciliation in Action working group to take on a new project: development and establishing an Elders and Knowledge Keepers Advisory Council (EKKAC).
- Creation of a resource and application toolkit for OAN members applying for Federal program funding through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Community Action Fund (CAF) and/or the Harm Reduction Fund (HRF).
- Meeting with Member of the House of Commons, Marci Ien (Toronto Centre), to establish formal connection with the Office of the Federal Minister of Health.
- Preparation and planning for sessions with the Office of the Federal Minister of Health to discuss the status of the HIV/AIDS response in Ontario and Canada (in collaboration with Member and Affiliate organizations CATIE, Black CAP, OAHAS, Elevate NWO, and PASAN).
- Meeting with the Federal Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Annamie Paul (Toronto Centre) to discuss national HIV-related issues related to federal funding to support community-based programming.
- Advocating to PHAC on behalf of OAN members receiving CAF and HRF funds to increase flexibility of budget reallocation and rollover requests in order to maximize program dollars during COVID-19 shutdowns.
- Provision of formal, constructive feedback to PHAC throughout the CAF and HRF consultation and LOI processes.
- Advocating to Ontario’s Vaccine Task Force concerning COVID-19 vaccine prioritization of people living with HIV and AIDS during phase one and phase two of the vaccine rollout.
- Participation in development of a COVID-19 vaccination resource for people living with HIV to support vaccine education and uptake in collaboration with OHTN.
- Ongoing work with the National Advocates working group (PAN, ACCH, CAS, COCQ-SIDA, HIV Legal Network, CATIE, CAAN, CBRC, and others) now actively engaged with leadership at PHAC and the Federal Ministry of Health to solicit increased annual funding for community-based HIV/AIDS programs nationally.
As our sector continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic and drug policy crisis all within a federally underfunded HIV/AIDS response, our policy advocacy work will continue to centre the needs of Members and Affiliates to ensure access to the tools, technology, government support, and funding needed to strengthen Ontario’s HIV/AIDS response.
Manager of Policy and Advocacy
This year the OPRAH program was as responsive as ever to the changing needs of our Members. We continued to benefit from the excellent services of the Pivotal Solutions team who presented at multiple OAN workshops. These include the Leadership Symposium and Middle Managers Meeting—with special focus on COVID-19 (including workplace COVID-19 screening resources, best practices in the workplace, return to work protocol in 2nd or 3rd wave, privacy/ health questionnaires and work from home accommodations). At the ED/Board Chair forum, the Pivotal Solutions team turned their focus to supporting organizations with succession planning.
Throughout the Fiscal Year, OAN Members kept the Pivotal team busy, accessing a total of 1,041 hours compared to 663 hours in the previous year. Priority focus areas included:
- Employee relations
- Meeting legislative requirements
- Operational issues and policy development
In the latter half of the Fiscal Year, the Pivotal Solutions team was essential in supporting the planning and implementation of a sector-wide compensation and benefits survey to be released in Fall 2021. We thank member agencies, Positive Living Niagara, Fife House, and CATIE for their role in supporting this work.
We also saw exciting changes to the HR Downloads platform. This year, the platform was re-imagined, becoming a seamless Human Resources Information System (HRIS) that delivers an integrated and intuitive experience like no other. The new online experience now includes assignable document delivery, digital sign-off, and a scalable human resource Information System (HRIS) to communicate and store employee records directly on the platform. A new favourite is the animated training for more ways to engage employees in learning.
Our sincere thanks to the Pivotal team which includes Mike Salveta, Ann Maynard, and Caroline Cardozo, for the many hours of support and their willingness to ensure our Members can comply with provincial requirements while upholding our sector’s values. We thank the team also for
attending and presenting COVID-19 Update Sessions to Executive Director/Directors over the past year, and for contributing to the professional growth of our sector leaders. Our thanks also to Serena Madigan and the HR Downloads team for working so hard during the renewal and for
their continued service.