Government and Stakeholder Communications

Formally communicating with government ministries, funders, health authorities and related allies and stakeholders is just one part of our work on policy change and collective action.

We consult with our members to discuss research findings, experiences, and priorities from across the province. With this information, we represent a collective voice for our members on issues that impact the health of people our member organizations serve. Contact our Executive Director, J. Evin Jones, for more information.

Entries are posted by most recent activity. 

2021

Joint Letter to Provincial Government Regarding Unauthorized Police Enforcement of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions on May 1, 2021

We are writing to follow up on the rollout of enforcement Ministerial Order No. M182. As you are aware, on April 21, 11 community groups released an open letter to Premier Horgan, Minister Farnworth, and Minister Eby in response to the police enforcement set to accompany the Ministerial order. In this letter, signatories noted that they were “deeply concerned about the overbroad and unconstitutional expansion of police powers that will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.” Prior to the release of enforcement details, representatives of several organizations met with ADM Rideout for the purpose of a technical briefing on April 29. At that time, we were advised that enforcement re: non-essential travel would only take place at designated RCMP checkpoints.

We have since been made aware of a ticket issued by the RCMP on Vancouver Island on May 1, outside of an RCMP checkpoint. Read more


Joint letter to Province regarding proposed travel restrictions and police enforcement

We are writing to you today on behalf of the BC Civil Liberties Association, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC First Nations Justice Council, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, Pivot Legal Society, Criminal Defence Advocacy Society, Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War, Sanctuary Health, PACE Society, and the Pacific AIDS Network with serious concerns and questions about an upcoming provincial order on travel restrictions and accompanying police enforcement in BC, to be announced on April 23, 2021.

We absolutely believe there are urgent measures needed to be taken in order to curb the deadly spread of COVID-19 in our communities. However, we are deeply concerned about the overbroad and unconstitutional expansion of police powers that will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. Our key concern is with the proposed restrictions on a person’s ability to leave their health-care authority and accompanying police enforcement. Read  more


BC’s 5th anniversary of the Overdose Emergency: Time for Bold Action and Political courage

Wednesday, April 14 will mark the 5th anniversary of the declaration of the BC Public Health Emergency of overdose and overdose deaths. This anniversary comes on the heels of BC’s deadliest year ever with 1,716 lives lost to Illicit drug overdoses in 2020. COVID-19 has had a terrible toxifying impact on the illicit drug market. Much work has been done by peers, by workers on the front lines, by human rights and other advocates, and by public health. Sadly, we are still so far from addressing this crisis. Read more

 


PAN Letter to Premier Horgan re: decriminalization of simple possession of drugs

As we near April 14, 2021 and the five-year anniversary of the Provincial Medical Health Officer declaring a public health emergency of overdose and overdose deaths, it is a solemn occasion. Over 7000 people have died since the declaration. Last year alone, 1716 people died–the highest number of overdose deaths, ever, in the province. Currently more than 5 people every day are dying. Clearly, despite the best efforts of drug users, peers, front line workers, and public health what we are doing is not enough. It is time to do more. It is time for bold leadership. We urgently call on you to implement the recommendations of Dr. Bonnie Henry contained within her 2019 Report Stopping the Harm. We also call on you to submit a formal application to the federal government for a section 56(1) exemption. Read more

 

 


Letter to Mr. Iain Stewart, President, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

We are writing to you as 16 leading provincial, national or territorial networks and associations addressing HIV, hepatitis C and other STBBIs, to request a meeting to discuss future funding for our sector. Despite the impact of COVID-19, Canada must not lose ground, in addressing HIV, hepatitis C and other STBBIs. PHAC’s recently released report has confirmed that “Canada is closing the gap; however, progress is slow and there is still work to be done in order to meet the 90-90-90” (UNAIDS HIV targets). It is less clear how Canada is faring with its other international commitments, including the Sustainable Development Goals, and the World Health Organization’s viral hepatitis 2030 elimination target. Read more

 


PAN Letter to BC CDC Regarding Closure of Bute Street Clinic

From letter to BC CDC by PAN Executive Director J. Evin Jones: I write to express our concerns over the closure of the Bute St. Clinic, formerly co-located with QMUNITY. For decades the Bute St. Clinic provided essential, low barrier sexual health testing services. The clinic enjoyed an excellent reputation. It served residents not only of the West End and downtown Vancouver, but people from across the Lower Mainland and beyond in search of queer friendly and non-judgmental health care.

Such confidential, anonymous and queer positive testing services are still the preferred option for many. We are concerned both that the Clinic has been closed since March 2020 (due to COVID-19); and by the recent announcement that this will be a permanent closure. We urge the PHSA and BCCDC to fund and complete plans for a new home for the Bute St. Clinic as soon as possible. Read more.

 

2020

Letter to Honourable Adrian Dix regarding World AIDS 2020 Message

Minister, as we did last year, we write on behalf of the members of the Pacific AIDS Network to respond to your 2020 World AIDS Day message. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) work with some of the most vulnerable members of our society and provide services that are flexible, timely, and highly cost-effective in communities across the province. In many instances, they are the vital link for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in maintaining their connections with healthcare and treatment adherence, not to mention their work in preventing HIV transmission through harm reduction programming, education and support of priority populations. Given all of this, we were puzzled and disappointed to read, for the second year in a row, that your World AIDS Day message failed to acknowledge the critical contributions of PAN members and the community-based sector. Read more.


Joint Letter to Minister Hajdu, Federal Minister of Health

“We write during challenging times, and we acknowledge COVID-19 and its impact on PHAC and the Ministry of Health – but we cannot lose sight, or ground, in addressing HIV, hepatitis C and other STBBIs. In advance of World AIDS Day 2020, it is important to acknowledge the progress made. We have made good gains with respect to our international commitments, but much work remains to be done. This will take a concerted effort and a reaffirmation at the federal level is essential, including sufficient funding for our response.

We are concerned that the current level of federal resourcing for addressing HIV, hepatitis C and other STBBIs is insufficient.” Read more.


Advocating for Safer Supply and Decriminalization with the Provincial Government

PAN has sent a letter to Minister Dix (Minister of Health) and Minister Farnworth (Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General) that detailed our collective concerns regarding the roll-out of safer supply during the COVID-19 emergency – including a lack of a sufficient number of prescribers, a lack of pharmacists, overly conservative interpretation of the guidance and a lack of safe supply, information and supports for people who use stimulants and other substances.


Letter to Canadian Government: decriminalize simple possession immediately

PAN signed onto this letter from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Pivot Legal Society and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – they joined forces to call on the Minister of Health and other key ministers in the federal government to immediately decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in response to the twin crises of opioid overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Letter to Premier Horgan, Dr. Bonnie Henry, et al regarding dual public health emergencies

The BC and Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors sent a letter to the provincial government ensure the “equitable application of public health protections to vulnerable British Columbians” during the dual public health emergencies of drug overdose deaths (declared April 14, 2016) and COVID-19 (declared March 17, 2020). PAN, along with many community groups and individuals, signed in support of the open letter to Honourable John Horgan, Premier; Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer;  Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health; Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, among others.


Letter to Minister Morneau regarding pharmacare

PAN’s voice joined over 150 national and provincial organizations co-signing a letter to Minister Morneau asking for the necessary commitments for pharmacare in this year’s federal budget.
“The majority of Canadians voted for pharmacare in the 2019 election. We are counting on
your government to fulfill its promise to Canadians.”


Letter to Minister Dix regarding World AIDS Day Announcement

“We write in the wake of your December 1st, 2019 World AIDS Day Announcement. There is much to celebrate about the record low cases of HIV and AIDS in BC. We applaud your government’s decision to expand public funding for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis medication. We applaud the continued resourcing of the treatment as prevention approach, and the critical work of Dr. Julio Montaner and his colleagues at the BC Centre for Excellence. We are mindful, however, that these are shared successes, attributable to the work and efforts of countless individuals and numerous agencies and organizations across the province – many on the front lines of our communities. Staff and volunteers of community-based organizations – many of them people living with HIV – have made key contributions across the continuum of care, supporting efforts to test and treat and link people to care.

We want to underscore the importance of not losing momentum. We are concerned about the current lack of a comprehensive provincial strategy vis-à-vis HIV and AIDS in this province.”