Human Rights Education Project

The right to rights

Everyone has a right to health, yet not everyone can get the services they need. People who use drugs regularly experience barriers to life-saving services, and it’s their voices that inform this project. The Human Rights Education Project provides information on rights and health that are protected under provincial and federal law.

A human-rights based approach:

  • recognizes drug use as a health issue requiring evidence-based health care solutions
  • recognizes that stigma against people who use drugs is connected to negative health outcomes and death
  • recognizes that discriminatory barriers to accessing health services violate human rights law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • focuses on marginalized and high-risk groups with attention to the unique circumstances of Indigenous peoples
  • uses strategies of empowerment
  • monitors and evaluates both outcomes and processes using human rights standards


This community-based project centres on the right to health. Using data from Pivot Legal Society’s Project Inclusion report, national and international sources, we take a rights-based approach to the opioid crisis response.

We are developing train-the-trainer workshops and a Toolkit of resources that will be available to Regional Response Teams (RRTs) and Community Action Teams (CATs) funded under the Overdose Emergency Response Centre. These teams are responsible for implementation plans to reach people at risk of overdose, and develop localized projects and programs that will address multiple sectors, including

First Nations, communities, Municipalities, first responders, front-line community agencies, people and families with lived experience, businesses, local government agencies (eg. housing, social
development, education), and the local recovery community. (from the Overdose Emergency Response Centre Terms of Reference).

The Human Rights Education Project will offer rights-specific information and resources for CATs looking to address these issues in their action plans.

The project is a partnership between PAN and RISE Leadership and is being evaluated throughout its development.

Project Goals

  • Build partnerships with RRTs and CATs to support their work in communities
  • Deliver train-the-trainer workshops to the CATs, RRTs, community organizations and others who work with people who use drugs
  • Build meaningful peer engagement and leadership amongst people with lived experiences, using “Nothing About Us Without Us” principles
  • Support the work of CATs to inspire human rights-based change and leadership in services for people who use drugs
  • Changes in policies, services and supports will lead to people who use drugs experiencing positive change, dignity, compassion and empowerment as well as better health outcomes


Putting Goals to Work


The Human Rights Education Project Toolkit is in two parts. Part 1 provides a foundation to frame human rights in relation to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; drug use as a health and rights issue in BC; and research information collected from people who use drugs (PWUD) in BC (reported in Project Inclusion report, by Pivot Legal Society). Part 2 provides tools for action: engaging people with lived experience; moving beyond stigma, and printable templates for work by Community Action teams.




Learn More

Project Inclusion: A human rights approach to HIV, HCV and overdose prevention in BC (Pivot Legal Society, 2018)

Nothing About Us Without Us: Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Open Society Institute, 2008)

Peerology, A guide by and for people who use drugs on how to get involved

Do No Harm: Health, human rights and people who use drugs

BC Human Rights Code

PAN’s Drug Use and Overdose Response resources

The impact of the opioid crisis on First Nations communities (First Nations Health Authority)

Prison Health and Advocacy (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network)


This project has been funded for one year through the Overdose Emergency Response Centre/ Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.


  • All Program and Projects
  • Positive Leadership Development Institute
  • Training and Leadership
  • Community Based Research
  • Evaluation and Program Science
  • The Research and Evaluation work at Pacific AIDS Network is funded through a partnership with the CIHR CBR Collaborative, a program of REACH 2.0.  REACH 2.0 is “a nation-wide, innovative, virtual laboratory for intervention research, participatory evaluation, and applied program science in HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections.” The PAN Research and… Read more »

  • “Community-based research is research that is conducted with and for, not on, members of a community.” (Kerry Strand. 2003. Community-Based Research and Higher Education: Principles and Practices, p. xxi) Community-based research (CBR) is a methodological practice that places community partnerships at the forefront. promote an interdisciplinary framework that recognizes the multiple social, economic, political and health… Read more »

  • PAN’s Community-Based Research (CBR) program facilitates and supports community-based research initiatives and partnerships to address HIV and HCV  in British Columbia and across Canada.  This program is possible thanks to our partnership with and funding from the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS. Through CBR  we work to help foster CBR in the province by linking… Read more »

  • One of the key pieces in our Training and Leadership program is the Positive Leadership  Development Institute (PLDI). The purpose of PLDI is to support people living with HIV/AIDS to realize their leadership potential and increase their capacity to participate meaningfully in community life. PLDI features three modules to engage people at various stages of… Read more »

  • As part of our Training and Leadership program, webinar topics are  developed with community input gathered at our annual meeting with people from across BC, through our annual Members and Stakeholder Surveys, and by following public health trends and emerging issues. Our goal is to provide member organizations and the community information they can use… Read more »

  • PAN works to facilitate, support and grow participatory evaluation initiatives and associated partnerships that address HIV, HCV and and related issues in British Columbia and across Canada.  This work is made possible through our partnership with and funding from the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS. PAN works within a participatory and community-based evaluation framework: we work to build… Read more »

  • Each year our Fall Conference focuses on key issues in HIV and HCV work in order to educate, support and connect people working across BC. The annual meeting, Executive Directors’ Summit and People Living with HIV forum also identify and prioritize advocacy issues for PAN to address.  The 2017 event will be October 25 and… Read more »

  • The Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) supports people who are living with HIV to realize their leadership potential and increase their capacity to participate meaningfully in community life. Developed in partnership with the Ontario AIDS Network (OAN), these learning modules have supported many people to go on to pursue paid and volunteer work with new… Read more »

  • Going on a weekend training with peers who have HIV can be life-changing. People arrive to meet other attendees and often feel nervous and uncertain about what to expect and how they will do. When the weekend program is finished, people  don’t want to leave. But what does happen when people leave? How does PLDI training… Read more »

  • The Positive Leadership Development Institute News blog covers information about the multi-module PLDI training as well as information about PLDI grads. Some have gone on to work in the HIV sector as researchers, educators, support workers, and more. Read stories on what it’s like to work in community-based research work from someone with lived experience; read… Read more »


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