Strengthening Federal Action in the Canadian Response to HIV/AIDS

Key Elements of the Federal Initiative

The Federal Initiative defines the following set of roles and responsibilities for funded departments and agencies.

  • Public Health Agency of Canada - The Public Health Agency of Canada is responsible for the overall coordination of the Federal Initiative (including joint planning, monitoring and evaluation), communications, social marketing, national and regional programs, policy development, surveillance, laboratory science and global engagement focussing on technical assistance and policy advice.
  • Health Canada - Health Canada is responsible for community-based HIV/AIDS education, prevention and related health services for First Nations on-reserve and some Inuit communities. Health Canada, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, is also responsible for coordinating global engagement activities under the Federal Initiative as well as program evaluation activities.
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research - As the Government of Canada's agency for health research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will set priorities for and administer the Federal Initiative's extramural research program in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Correctional Service Canada - Correctional Service Canada provides health services, including services related to the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, to offenders sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more.

Areas of Federal Action

The Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada identifies five areas for increased federal action and investment: program and policy interventions; knowledge development; communications and social marketing; coordination, planning, evaluation and reporting; and global engagement. Activities will be undertaken in partnership with community organizations, other federal government departments and agencies and other levels of government.

Table 2 presents a summary of the five areas of federal action and some of the key activities through 2008-2009.

Table 2: Areas of Action and Examples of Activities
Area of Action Description Examples of Activities To Be Introduced Between 2004-2005 and 2008-2009
4 These activities will complement Foreign Affairs Canada's foreign policy role and CIDA's role as the agency responsible for Canada's international funding for key initiatives, including country-specific programming under CIDA's HIV/AIDS Action Plan, bilateral partnerships, and multilateral initiatives, such as the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNAIDS. CIDA's HIV/AIDS Action Plan and policy statement on strengthening aid effectiveness, Canada making a difference in the world, as well as Foreign Affairs Canada's evolving foreign policy, all recognize the need for policy coherence and coordinated approaches for a comprehensive, multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS.
Program and Policy Interventions Enhanced national and front-line HIV/AIDS programs will be evidence-based and aligned with the regional characteristics of the epidemic and the specific needs of vulnerable populations. Programs will be established to improve front-line capacity to deliver population-specific education and prevention initiatives and to increase access to care, treatment and support. Government policies will be aligned with changes in the epidemic and will support innovative approaches to addressing the epidemic.
  • New programs will be developed along the prevention-care continuum with and for people living with HIV/AIDS, gay men, injection drug users, Aboriginal people, federal inmates, youth and women at risk for HIV and people coming from countries where HIV is endemic.
  • Collaboration with federal departments and provinces and territories will be increased to align funding programs for community-based organizations.
  • Prevention and harm reduction programs will be enhanced to address HIV in prisons, with an emphasis on HIV/hepatitis C-integrated programming, such as safer tattooing and pre-release planning.
  • Local and national programs will be strengthened to enhance the health and community sectors responses to HIV/AIDS through best practices, pilot projects and guideline development.
Knowledge Development Knowledge development will be enhanced to improve our understanding of the HIV epidemic and inform the development of policies, programs and interventions, such as new prevention technologies and therapies. The focus will be on improving population-specific surveillance; epidemiological, socio-behavioural, ethnographic and community-based research; and biomedical and clinical research, including clinical trials. New knowledge transfer opportunities will be established.
  • Training will be provided for the next generation of HIV/AIDS scientists.
  • Programs will be developed to enhance research on new prevention technologies, such as vaccines and microbicides.
  • Increased attention will be focussed on research that provides evidence for population-specific approaches.
  • A national research plan will be developed that includes all domains of research.
  • Mechanisms will be developed to transfer knowledge to inform front-line responses.
  • Support will be provided for research on and analysis of the legal, ethical and human rights dimensions of Canada's response to HIV/AIDS.
  • A sentinel surveillance program will be implemented for vulnerable populations, inclusive of co-infections and sexually transmitted infections, as appropriate.
  • Monitoring of strains of HIV and emerging drug resistance will be enhanced.
Communications and Social Marketing National and front-line communications and social marketing activities will be expanded to improve Canadians' knowledge of HIV, to address community and societal attitudes, and to reduce the stigma and discrimination that fuel the epidemic. National public awareness campaigns will be developed to raise awareness in the general population and encourage people to access HIV/AIDS programs. Local social marketing campaigns will be expanded and targeted to specific populations.
  • Public awareness programs will be developed to provide accurate information on HIV and to highlight the ways in which stigma and discrimination contribute to the epidemic.
  • Specific campaigns will be developed and targeted to specific populations.
Coordination, Planning, Evaluation and Reporting Coordination, planning, evaluation and reporting will be enhanced to optimize both the federal and pan-Canadian responses to the epidemic and the use of resources. The focus will be on supporting the implementation of Leading Together and the development of issue-specific plans (for example, vaccines, population-specific approaches) and an evaluation strategy for the Federal Initiative. Integral to this will be mechanisms that enhance the engagement of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
  • A body will be established to coordinate and align the work of departments and agencies participating in the Federal Initiative.
  • A multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral model will be developed to support the implementation of Leading Together.
  • National and regional plans consistent with Leading Together will be developed and implemented.
  • A performance measurement and evaluation strategy will be developed and implemented. Progress toward the goals of the Federal Initiative will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
  • An annual report will be published each year on World AIDS Day as a key component of the performance measurement strategy.
Global Engagement Global engagement activities will be strengthened to demonstrate the Government of Canada's commitment to the global response. The focus will be on increasing Canada's contribution of technical and policy support and health sector experience and knowledge, promoting learning between the domestic and international responses, and ensuring policy coherence and alignment of federal activities.4 Support will also be provided to international fora, including the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto. Opportunities will be developed to encourage Canadian researchers to collaborate in international initiatives.
  • In collaboration with CIDA, Foreign Affairs Canada and others, technical support and policy guidance will be provided on global issues, such as gender risk factors, human rights, microbicides, vaccines and harm reduction. CIDA, Foreign Affairs Canada and Federal Initiative partners will cooperatively represent Canada in international HIV/AIDS and health fora.
  • Coordination of federal engagement in and support for the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006 will be provided.
  • In collaboration with global partners, technical and policy advice on, as well as training in, clinical laboratory science, surveillance, epidemiology and modelling will be provided to developing countries and countries in transition.
  • The federal government's global activities will be coordinated through existing coordination mechanisms and the development of a Government of Canada-wide strategic approach.
  • Capacity will be built among national non-governmental organizations and their members to share Canadian best practices by supporting events, publications and engagement in international networks and fora.

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