Job Posting 83608

Harm Reduction Response Support Worker
AVI Health & Community Services
Vancouver Island & Coastal areas
closing today (Mon, 23 May)
part time - temp / contract  •  $26.42/hour (BCGEU Grid 34)

AVI Health & Community Services (AVI) is a multi-disciplinary community based organization, providing HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction services out of 5 locations across Vancouver Island. AVI provides services to more than 500 people living with HIV and hepatitis C and more than 3000 harm reduction clients. We work within a social justice and health promotion framework - ensuring equity and access to services for all - and from a harm reduction perspective, understanding that clients are the best sources of knowledge regarding the services and supports they need.  

At the core of what we do is our ability, and commitment to, creating meaningful connections. between clients and staff, between peers, between staff members, between organizations, between communities, and between funders and impactful programs. AVI provides comprehensive, accessible and effective education, prevention, care, treatment and support services to residents of Vancouver Island with offices in Victoria, the Westshore, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley and Campbell River.  For more info see

Join our supportive, dedicated and client-centred team in promoting the health, dignity and well-being of all people affected by HIV, HCV and substance use by delivering sex-positive and harm reduction-based education, prevention and/or support services.

Victoria Harm Reduction Services Team provides services for people who use drugs and may be impacted by criminalization, systemic injustice and stigma. Relational care is foundational to the team in providing appropriate and accurate services. Folks accessing supplies for safer drug use, safer sex supplies, overdose   prevention, response and the training are met with care and intention. Harm Reduction services provides supports in various locations as we continue to look for a home for publicly accessible harm reduction services for all. Victoria Harm Reduction Services is located on the territories of the Lekwungen peoples (Esquimalt and Songhees nations).
Job Summary:
The Harm Reduction Response Support Worker will be part of a temporary outreach team which provides a broad range of low barrier, harm reduction supports to individuals accessing harm reduction programming and services through AVI.
The Harm Reduction Response Support Worker will provide evidence-based educational and harm reduction interventions to individuals and priority populations to increase knowledge of overdose prevention and response strategies. This positions will also provide accurate information regarding HIV, HCV and other blood-borne disease transmission and prevention strategies.
This position will provide support & overdose response, including the administration of oxygen and Naloxone, to people using illicit substances in a variety of community settings. 

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Provides outreach and support in a variety of settings including parks, encampments, shelters, drop in centers, people's homes, community services and to people living outside and/or in temporary and fixed Overdose Prevention sites and other areas of Victoria
  2. Provides on the spot training in overdose response and education on substances and safer use techniques
  3. Responsible for contributing to and supporting culturally safe practices and spaces with humility
  4. Prepares and distributes timely drug warnings
  5. Monitor and support people who are using substances. Assess for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing and naloxone when necessary.  Training is provided.
  6. Responsible for harm reduction supply distribution and recovery
  7. Provides overdose prevention education and first aid response, including education on the administration of Naloxone
  8. Uses brief assessment, active listening and crisis response skills to help meet immediate, basic needs and make appropriate referrals for people who use substances and those who have survived overdose(s) to other health and support services within the community.
  9. Engages with clients in a collaborative, person-centered approach grounded in harm reduction
  10. Facilitates overdose response trainings
  11. Maintains the safety of all program spaces by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response), including the ability to use communication devices (cell phone/2-way radio)
  12. Identify and develop safety plans with people who are using substances who are at increased risk of overdose
  13. Maintains both paper and electronic confidential records as required
  14. Provide training and support to build capacity for peer lead inanities
  15. Performs other related duties as assigned


Education, Training, and Experience:
Diploma in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health Support Worker, etc.), or equivalent combination of education and experience

Proof of Vaccination Status, as required by the Provincial Health Order for Hospital and Community Health Care Services staff  

Harm Reduction Response Workers will have a minimum of one-year relevant work experience and will demonstrate the following minimum requirements:

  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents, including overdose
  • Experience with overdose response, including administration of naloxone, an asset.
  • Experience in providing harm reduction outreach in various situations. Including but not exclusively street outreach, encampments, and within hotel sheltering sites and supported housing.
  • Direct service delivery experience in the community social services sector with a demonstrated working knowledge of community-based programs and related provincial and community support services systems
  • Demonstrated ability to establish rapport with a diverse range of clientele including individuals who are actively using substances and living with significant health challenges
  • Demonstrated skills, experience and knowledge in the areas of safer drug use, OAT, safer sex, sex work, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, mental health, etc.
  • Demonstrated cultural safety and humility, and trauma-informed practices.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of social justice, health promotion and public health approaches and models of social support and health care
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices
  • Experience managing hostile interactions, utilizing non-violent communication and diffusing techniques
  • Ability to problem solve with creativity, flexibility and assertiveness in dealing with complex issues
  • Demonstrated understanding of the importance and role of people who use drugs in the development, delivery, and evaluation of services intended to benefit them
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required to work effectively with co-workers, clients, community, and other service providers
  • Strong working knowledge of local health and social services

Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to honor local indigenous communities and to recognize the ongoing impacts of colonial violence.
  • Committed to social justice, equity, anti-racism and decolonization. 
  • Ability to carry out physical duties of position
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with others
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to organize and prioritize
  • Ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients and recognize changes in folks
  • Ability to analyze and resolve issues thru conflict resolution and crisis interventions skills
  • Advocacy skills
  • Comfortable approaching and initiating conversation with others and ability to build respectful rapport.
  • Ability to work with a diverse and often unpredictable street involved clientele
  • Demonstrated skills, experience and knowledge in the areas of harm reduction/health promotion practices, safer using practices, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, poverty issues, mental health concerns and addictions
  • Ability to work under pressure and in crisis situations
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Understanding of the psycho-social issues affecting people who use drugs

Position Details:

  • Schedule: Saturday, 1:00pm - 7:00pm and Sunday, 1:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Start and End Date: This position starts ASAP and is a temporary position, covering a leave, the end date will be based on the return of the incumbent
  • Pay: $26.42/hour to start with stepped increases based on your seniority with AVI. (Pay for this role is based on the BCGEU wage grid 34)
  • Pension: If you are already a member of the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP), you can continue with them at AVI immediately. At this time, AVI contributes an additional 9.7% towards your pension account.
  • Other Perks: This position gets paid an extra 5% in lieu of vacation and 4.6% in lieu of stats, meaning your hourly rate is actually 9.6% higher than listed.

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