Happy 2018 and best wishes to all PAN member organizations, as well as to our allies, partners and stakeholders…We hope that you are entering into the new year rested and recharged!
The coming year will be an exciting one for PAN, the last in our current five-year strategic plan. The board of directors will be working hard over the coming months crafting a new strategy to move our work forward.
2018 will mark not only the creation of a new strategic plan, but will also be the year when a number of key governance changes will be decided on. At the AGM in October PAN members will vote on a series of special resolutions that will potentially change PAN’s by-laws (hence the title J of this blog).
Some of the special resolutions will reflect the provincially mandated transition to the new’ish BC Societies Act. But many of the proposed governance changes, have been “on the drawing board” and under discussion at the board, staff and membership level for a number of years now….
…in 2013, as part of our last strategic planning process, PAN adopted the expanded mission “We lead an inspired, strong, and effective community-based response to HIV/AIDS, HCV, and related communicable diseases and conditions.” PAN’s 2013-2018 strategic plan was the culmination of a comprehensive consultation process with: member groups, stakeholders, and all people living with HIV (PLHIV) who had been involved with PAN or participated in PAN programs in the previous two years.
While this expanded mission beyond solely HIV and HIV/HCV co-infection has guided our work since 2013, our governance structures haven’t changed to reflect this important move to encompass the myriad of additional issues that impact people living with, and at greatest risk for, HIV.
Between now and the AGM, we will ask members to consider changes to the composition of the board of directors to better ensure the ideal community representation to lead PAN. This will include the possibility of designated seats for persons with lived experience of HCV, as well as a designated seat from the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to ensure an Indigenous voice on the board.
We will also be asking for changes to the by-laws regarding membership criteria (currently the by-laws are largely silent about who may be a member of the network). Currently, members of PAN include groups focused on HIV, as well as groups focused on HCV, and harm reduction. For many years now, PAN members have been responding to the diverse needs arising in their communities vis-à-vis health literacy, housing, food security, the ongoing overdose crisis and more. Many member organizations have been providing services and supports across a broad spectrum; while other member agencies continue to focus exclusively on HIV.
Members of the Board Governance Committee presented on some of the ideas for change at our last two provincial fall conferences, in the wake of which, some concerns were raised about how they could potentially impact the network’s responsiveness to PLHIV and combatting the HIV epidemic. We’ve also heard from many members that they are in support of the changes. Thank you to everyone who has approached myself, a PAN staff or board member. We truly value your feedback and your input.
The HIV epidemic is far from over, HIV-related stigma and discrimination continue to be a tremendous concern and we live in a time of finite resources. It is imperative that we be thoughtful about any changes, to ensure that PAN’s work is both sustainable and true to our legacy. Strengthening the work of HIV organizations on the frontlines, and encouraging leadership amongst PLHIV has been our history and will remain as guiding values. Operationally, we will continue to provide capacity building, training, and research and evaluation services that reflects the best evidence as regards HIV-related care, treatment, support and prevention. Supporting PLHIV to be meaningfully involved will continue to be central to our work. The Positive Leaders Development Institute (PLDI) continues to expand in BC , and we are now working in concert with the OAN (Ontario) and COCQ-SIDA (Quebec), to build the PLDI across Canada https://pacificaidsnetwork.org/training-leadership/leadership-pldi/). In the past five years we’ve worked in tandem with PLHIV leaders and members to advocate on key issues, including access to PrEP and the HPV vaccine, funding for community-based HIV services, and criminalization. Community-based research and public policy efforts have focused on HIV-related stigma, housing, and food security for PLHIV – advocacy efforts in these areas and others will continue in the years to come.
In the coming months, we will look to the membership to provide input and guidance regarding the proposed governance changes.
All PAN Executive Directors, PLHIV who have been engaged with PAN, and other key stakeholders will have already received the Members’ and Stakeholders’ Survey that was sent out last month in December. Thank you to those that have already completed it. If you haven’t yet done so, please do, as it includes a section on potential governance changes. Your input matters to us.
To help support this discussion, we have also created a gateway where people can ask questions and/or request to be contacted by a member of the PAN Governance Committee: [email protected]
Thank you in advance for engaging with us over the coming months, and for your participation at the upcoming AGM! The leadership here at PAN, myself included, believe in the need for changes to PAN’s governance structure, that it will strengthen the network and help lead us into the next five years of work at PAN. We also believe that these changes are in keeping with the realities and wishes of the majority of our members. Having said that, ultimately it is the membership that will decide the best course forward, which is truly the beauty of a provincial network! So until October, I look forward to hearing from you!
Questions? Feedback? Connect with a member of the PAN Governance Committee: [email protected]
Jennifer Evin Jones, Executive Director