OAN News

The latest news from the Ontario AIDS Network


All Thanks to U

On World AIDS Day, Federal Health Minister, Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, signed onto the U=U Consensus Statement on behalf of all of Canada!

Surrounding her on Parliament Hill, amidst cheers and revelry were the team members from the AIDS Committee of OttawaU=U Campaign founder Bruce Reichman and community members.

Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Khaled Salem, wrote of the occasion:

“Words cannot express our sentiments and truly convey our feelings surrounding this momentous occasion, when we, as an organization, city, country and most importantly, as the HIV community made history together. 

“Our collective hearts were filled with pride, and tears were trickling down our cheeks, at the same time as our hands were either up in the air or coming together in thunderous claps, as our Federal Minister of Health, The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, of behalf of our Canadian Government, officially endorsed U=U and signed the consensus statement. Canada can now proudly declare that it is the first country in the world to do so. 

“Saturday, December 1st, World AIDS Day 2018, on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa will be frozen in time, and some day, maybe months or more likely years later, we will look back and see it as a turning point and a game changer in our collective fight to put an end to the driving factor behind new HIV infections, barriers to testing, starting treatment – HIV Stigma.

“It is crucially important to recognize the blood, sweat, tears and toil of so many incredible people living with HIV that laid the groundwork over the last 3 decades for this moment to materialize, so many fearless leaders that have come before us and created the path for us to follow. Unfortunately, many are no longer with us, but you will always be alive in our hearts.

“As Vitto Russo said back in 1988, “Remember that someday the AIDS crisis will be over. And when that day has come and gone, there will be people alive who will hear that once there was a terrible disease, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and in some cases died so others might live and be free”. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and we are simply building on the foundational work of the pioneers of the HIV movement.”

The OAN joins the AIDS Committee of Ottawa in its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the teams in Ottawa and from across the province in their collaborative efforts to build awareness and momentum leading to this incredible action.

For more photos and videos of this incredible day hop on over to ACO’s Facebook page.

ED/Board Chair Forum

OAN Skills has opened registration for our ED/Board Chair Forum, taking place March 1 – 3, 2019 in Toronto.

Building on our program theme this year of “Strengthening ASO’s from the inside out!”, the ED/Board Chair Forum will provide an opportunity for learning, sharing, networking and increasing knowledge to strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS in Ontario.

In addition, the OAN Honour Roll will coincide with the dates of the Forum, providing some entertainment for participants and an opportunity to network the evening of Saturday, March 2nd at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, across the street from the venue.

This year, we decided to combine what were historically two separate workshops: one for Executive Directors and one for Board Chairs. We are still building the agenda, but the current thinking is that we will have some separate and combined sessions based on feedback we receive from our Agenda Survey.

Both the registration link and Agenda Survey were emailed to our Membership yesterday. Please take a moment to respond to both as soon as possible.

The ED/Board Chair Forum is open to current Executive Directors and their Board Chair/Co-chair(s) or, where transition will occur at the next AGM, vice-chairs as well.

Mark it in your calendars!

Who’s, What’s, Where’s & WHAI

In response to sector requests, the WHAI Provincial Office will be holding a live webinar on Wednesday December 12, from 11:00am – 12:30pm to share some updates about what is happening in our WHAI Network!

The webinar will discuss background about WHAI’s work including some current Areas of Focus, progress and achievements, work for the upcoming fiscal year as well as some ways WHAI can support other OAN Members and others in the sector.

Please RSVP to mbannerman@whai.ca if you are planning to attend and she will share the meeting link directly.

Survey for Gay, Bi, MSM

The OHTN is launching a survey for Gay, Bisexual, and other men who have sex with men surrounding decisions about sex and how they might talk about these decisions with their sex partners. Those who complete the 20-30 minute survey will receive a $5 e-gift card for Tim Horton’s or Starbucks as a thank you.

Click here to participate!

Ending Unjust Prosecutions

In addition to the U=U Consensus Statement endorsement by the Government of Canada on December 1, 2018, the Government of Canada also announced a new directive to help limit unjust prosecutions against people living with HIV in Canada. Given the complicated legal structures in Canada, this blanket statement will affect each province differently.

The directive, which will take effect on Saturday, December 8, 2018, governs federal prosecutors who handle criminal prosecutions in the three territories in Canada. It does not apply to prosecutions taking place in Ontario or other provinces.

In response, the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) has created a new factsheet: HIV and the Criminal Law in Ontario for service providers, their clients and communities. The factsheet is available here.

Thank you, HALCO!

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The OAN Outpost

The OAN Outpost is distributed to our email list of OAN Member and Affiliate agencies, Board members and friends of the OAN.

The Newsletter contains actionable items and events that offer an opportunity for our readers to engage with other organizations and initiatives.

To be included in the OAN Newsletter, items must be:

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