Peer Worker Support and Compensation

Peer associate Antonio Marante presents poster of BC Stigma Index at CAHR conference.

Peer compensation is a timely topic, with more and more organizations implementing the GIPA/MIPA and Nothing About Us, Without Us principles in their projects and workplaces.

In PAN’s 2017 Members’ & Stakeholders’ Survey, an overwhelming 93% of respondents said their organization supported people with lived experience in volunteering, working, or holding leadership positions. A solid 80% of respondents said “yes” when they were asked if “people living with HIV and/or HCV play a key role in decision-making (e.g. as managers, senior-level staff, and/or on the Board of Directors) at the HIV and or/or HCV organization that I am connected to”. So evidently, the GIPA/MIPA and Nothing About Us, Without Us principles are becoming much more entrenched in community. Peers have always been an amazing resource, and their lived experience is now recognized as a critical part of building projects and programs.

When engaging peers, there are a variety of different methods that are chosen to support and compensate workers with lived experience.  There is no single approach to support or compensation for peers and each organization must assess what is appropriate for them and their circumstances.  Several larger organizations in the sector have released their guidelines and best practices surrounding peer compensation.

Here are some terrific resources that can help guide you and your organization in creating a plan that works for you. Check back as we will be adding to this list or if you have additional resources you would like to post here please be in touch with Paul – [email protected].



PAN Policies and Procedures for Peer Work – (PAN, 2018) Our policy and procedures support people with lived experiences in employment and volunteer organizations at PAN, which are rooted in the principles of Greater/Meaningful Involvement of People with AIDS (GIPA/MIPA) and Nothing About Us Without Us


Peer Compensation and Resources (PAN) – This blog post discusses the entrenchment of Nothing About Us, Without Us principles in the sector, and provides resources surrounding equitable compensation for and best practices in peer engagement.


PAN’s CBR Tip Sheet – Compensating Peer Researchers – In community-based research, compensating people with lived experience to participate actively in the research process is a common practice. This document was developed by PAN with a provincial working group made up of members of the CBR Quarterly Meetings. It outlines some important considerations to take into account when developing compensation plans and policies for community-based research.

PAN’s Checklist for for CBR teams- what needs to be in place to support peer researchers (2019)

For more information on Peer Researchers specifically, please visit PAN’s Peer Researchers page.


Peer Toolkit: Support toolkit for people living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C (Interior Health) – This toolkit provides practical guidance and tools to assist community based organizations or groups to deliver social and emotional peer support services to people living with HIV and/or hepatitis (Hep C).


Peer Payment Standards (BCCDC) – This BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) Peer Payment Standards guide helps outline payment amounts and methods to use when engaging peers across the province. Although intended for use internally by the BCCDC, these standards are also available for consideration by other community-based and public sector health care organizations to inform equitable peer payment. People who have lived experience with drug use, either past or present, are often consulted as experts and use their lived experience to inform effective health service programming and delivery to reduce health inequities and achieve social justice.


Peer Payment Standards for Short-Term Engagements (BCCDC) – This document, originally produced for internal use at the BCCDC, provides detailed approaches and payment rates for various kinds of peer work, as well as resources and templates for use in navigating peer compensation.


A guide for paying peer research assistants: Challenges and Opportunities (BCCDC/UBC) – This resource from the BCCDC and UBC discusses options and approaches to ensuring equitable pay for peer research assistants. It provides an overview of some common approaches, as well as discussing some common barriers to equitable pay with suggestions on how to overcome them in your own work.


Developing Peer Engagement Best Practices for BC Health Authorities For Effective Harm Reduction (PEEP, BCCDC and Toward the Heart) – This resource, developed through the work of the Peer Engagement and Evaluation project (PEEP), discusses benefits of peer engagement and considerations for agencies looking to begin doing peer engagement within work around harm reduction. It also provides a list of best practices for BC Health Authorities that are working with peer engagement.


Peer Engagement Principles and Best Practices: A guide for BC Health Authorities and other providers (BCCDC, UBC, PHSA, Peter Wall Institute, Toward the Heart and BC HRSS ) – This document, developed by PEEP, provides an in-depth look at best practices surrounding peer engagement in work around harm reduction. It focuses on supporting organizations through the entire process of peer engagement, from preparing to engage to the completion of a project.


Are You Peer Advisor-Ready? (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This tool, developed by Vancouver Coastal Health, is intended to help organizations assess their readiness in starting a peer advisory approach. It contains a flowchart, as well as tips for working with peer advisors.


How do you compensate peers or people with lived experience?  (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This blog post by Vancouver Coastal Health provides tips and external resources to guide thinking around equitably compensating peers.


Peer Framework for Health-Focused Peer Positions in the Downtown Eastside (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This framework, developed by Vancouver Coastal Health, provides detailed descriptions of various levels and forms of peer work with associated compensation levels.


HIV CBR Ethics: Ethical Issues Related to Compensation (Guta, et al at – This factsheet presents some orientation around the ethics of peer compensation, including why, how much, when, and whom we compensate. It also discusses considerations around compensating individuals that may be considered “vulnerable”, including people who use drugs, people who are street involved, and sex workers.


Peer Research in Action I  Models of Practice (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) – This research study by the Wellesley Institutes examines three different “models of practice of peer research” and their application in CBR in Toronto. The study discusses the strengths and limitations of each of these models, as well as providing recommendations to organizations that may be considering a peer research approach in their work.


Peer Research in Action II  Management Support and Supervision (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) – This study takes a look at approaches to the Human resources aspects and labour relationship. It covers topics that include recruitment, hiring processed, remuneration considerations, training and support.


Peer Research in Action III – Ethical Issues (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) –  This report provides an overview of the research findings covering ethical challenges in adopting a peer researcher approach.




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  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection just as HIV is a viral infection. Unlike HIV, however, HCV can be treated and cured.  Treatment for HCV is available to anyone living with hepatitis C in BC.   Explore in Detail: Hepatitis C: Epidemiology, testing, treatment, resources HCV Manifesto Hepatitis C Treatment Options Expand in BC

  • The Evaluation News blog covers our work within PAN and with organizations in the community.  Learn about different kinds of evaluation like Realist Evaluation, learn how other organizations are using evaluation approaches, meet evaluators on the job, and find out about how you can help in community evaluation. Explore in detail:  Evaluation News blog Evaluation… Read more »

  • People with HIV can live long and healthy lives if they access to treatment and social support as needed. As people with HIV age, however, complications of aging can compound challenges of living with HIV. Concerns for people with HIV who are aging can include income security, stigma, safe and affordable housing, aging in place,… Read more »

  • Our Fall Conference, AGM, PLHIV Forum and ED Summit gathers people from across the province who share their programs and services, learn about new developments in public health, and help build a vibrant and supportive community. We also offer Regional conferences to customize capacity building-needs for different service areas in BC. After the events, with permission… Read more »

  • We offer our KnowledgeConnect webinars to reach our  member organizations as well as community leaders and stakeholders. Information is available when our viewers have the opportunity to connect. Watch for news on upcoming webinars in the blog. Follow the blog for news on upcoming webinars   Explore webinars by theme: Advocacy, Policy, Public Health Health Determinants… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people with lived experience… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency in April 2016.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people… Read more »

  • Information about the law and the rights of people with HIV  Having HIV is not a crime, but law can impact heavily on the lives of people with HIV. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network “is one of the world’s leading organizations tackling the legal and human rights issues related to HIV, and advocating at both… Read more »

  • Evaluation can help guide your organization or group to make decisions about programs, services, research, and more. Participatory research is just what it sounds like- people and communities take part in decision-making about what is evaluated, rather than being told what they “should” evaluate. Community is central to evaluation work and we can help you… Read more »


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