On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2017, the Department of Justice released the Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV. This report explores the question of HIV non-disclosure and the law in various contexts, including public health; medical evidence on treatment effectiveness; HIV transmission risk; and prosecutorial practices and considerations.
Charging practices can differ from province to province, and we don’t know how this report will impact cases moving forward.
The resources that follow below pre-date this report, yet provide important background information on how the law has been applied in HIV non-disclosure cases in Canada. These resources should not be considered as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific case, please consult a lawyer.
Information about the law and your rights
Know Your Rights: The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has created this series of 8 brochures addressing the privacy rights and disclosure obligations of people living with HIV in a variety of day-to-day contexts. Available for order in 7 different languages through the CATIE ordering Centre orders.catie.ca or [email protected]
- Disclosure at work
- Accommodation in the workplace
- Remedies for discrimination and privacy violations in the workplace
- Disclosure and post-secondary education
- Disclosure as a patient
- Privacy and health records
- Disclosure in school and daycare
- Disclosure, privacy and parenting
HIV Testing Handbook: This handbook created by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is designed for both patients and service providers and sets out what people living with HIV need to know about their rights and making the right choice for them when it comes to HIV testing. To order copies contact BCCLA: 604-630-9755 or [email protected]
The Criminalization of HIV Nondisclosure: This poster Positive Women’s Network created by the describes the research Positive Women’s Network has been working with regards to the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. Six focus groups were conducted with 60 women to discuss their experiences and knowledge around the non-disclosure laws.
Practical Guide: Managing your health: This guide, created by CATIE, covers questions around HIV prevention, awareness and treatment. It’s Available for order through the CATIE ordering Centre orders.catie.ca or [email protected]. See Chapter 21: Legal issues.
Resources on HIV disclosure
Notice: HIV Disclosure and Criminalization: Created by the Positive Living Society of British Columbia, this two-page notice describes the ruling made by the Supreme Court of Canada on October 5, 2012 and what it means for the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV.
Disclosure: Telling someone you are living with HIV: Created by the Positive Living Society of British Columbia, this is a resource for people living with HIV providing help for talking to others about their HIV status.
Booklets to support women with HIV disclosure have been published by the Positive Women’s Network & BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.
- Figuring out how to tell romantic & sexual partners
- If your partner tells you they have HIV
- Figuring out how to tell children and family
HIV Disclosure and the Law: This brochure created by the Positive Women’s Network is intended to support women living with HIV by clearly describing laws around HIV disclosure, and how to protect yourself as a woman living with HIV. Now available through CATIE in English and French.
HIV disclosure: A legal guide for gay men in Canada: The HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO, Ontario’s Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH) & CATIE
published this brochure providing legal information for gay men in Canada. Available for order through the CATIE ordering Centre.
Sex, criminal law and HIV non-disclosure (2014): This short, two-part video series produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network addresses the urgent, pressing legal issue of criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada, what is wrong with the current approach and why the Legal Network continues to work to change these laws and the way they are enforced.
Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada Video Series (2014): This series of 23 short videos by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network focuses on the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada. It covers the history of HIV non-disclosure, legal rights of people living in Canada and internationally, as well as the implications of current laws, and what is being done from a policy standpoint.
HIV Disclosure to Sexual Partners: Questions & Answers for Newcomers: This brochure published by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network — in five languages — will help newcomers to Canada make informed decisions about disclosing to sexual partners. It provides important information about the criminal law in Canada, public health, and specific implications for newcomers, including permanent residents, students, temporary workers, visitors, refugees, and people without immigration status.
HIVNow.ca: This informative website created by ACT Toronto includes a page on disclosure, with an overview of the current legal context and helpful tips on disclosure.
Think Twice: This website brings together community voices around decriminalization with the key message of “thinking twice” before pressing charges if you’re HIV-negative and found out someone you had sex with is HIV-positive.