Casual Harm Reduction Support Worker - Courtenay

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 people living with HIV and hepatitis C and 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 www.avi.org

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.

Job Summary:
The Casual Harm Reduction Support Worker provides a broad range of low barrier, harm reduction supports to individuals accessing harm reduction programming and services. The Casual Harm Reduction Support Worker will provide evidence‐based educational and harm reduction interventions to individuals and priority populations to increase knowledge regarding HIV and other blood‐borne disease transmission and prevention strategies, and facilitate behavior change to prevent transmission. The Casual Harm Reduction Support Worker provides oversight, support, and overdose response training to Peer groups supported by AVI, including facilitating Peer work, payment of honoraria, and providing support to capacity building.

Also the Casual Harm Reduction Support Worker assists in providing specific programming, education, and support relating to substance use, sexual health/sexual decision‐making harm reduction and overdose prevention on an outreach basis.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Responsible for harm reduction supply distribution and recovery
  2. Uses brief assessment, active listening and crisis response skills to help meet immediate, basic needs and make appropriate referrals to other health and support services within the community
  3. Provides education, resources and support regarding safer substance use, safer substance techniques and safer sex, HIV, hepatitis C, and STIs
  4. Provides overdose prevention education and first aid response, including education on the administration of Naloxone
  5. Distributes Naloxone to high use areas in the Comox Valley both on the street and within existing services
  6. Provides outreach to community services, camps, shelters, and to people’s homes, as needed
  7. Provides on the spot training in overdose prevention and response
  8. Provides oversight, support, and overdose response training to Peer groups supported by AVI, including facilitating Peer work, payment of honoraria, and providing support to capacity
  9. building.
  10. Consults with peers to determine how best to enhance skills, competencies and abilities
  11. Provides support and referral to people who have survived overdose(s) including Opiate Agonist Treatment (OAT) and other resources
  12. Collaborates and coordinate service delivery with other community partners including proactively building relationship with Indigenous led services in the Comox Valley
  13. Develops and facilitates workshops and support groups related to increasing health and wellness
  14. Engages with clients in a collaborative, person‐centered approach grounded in harm reduction
  15. Maintains the safety of all program spaces by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response).
  16. Works in collaboration with partner agencies to provide a continuum of services
  17. Keeps electronic records and compiles reports
  18. Maintains both paper and electronic confidential client files as required
  19. Oversees all office ordering, supplier communication, stock records
  20. Manages community distribution of harm reduction supplies and maintain distribution records
  21. Engages in planning, evaluation, and program development as directed
  22. Performs other duties as assigned

Qualifications:

  • Diploma in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health & Addictions Support
  • Worker, etc.), or equivalent combination of education and work/lived experience
  • Have a minimum of two years’ experience working within harm reduction settings
  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents, including overdose
  • Valid Class 5 BC Driver’s License
  • To comply with current BC Public Health Orders, must be fully vaccinated for COVID‐19 or have
  • an approved medical exemption. Proof of vaccination status will be required for successful applicants for positions covered by the order.
  • 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 experience working within a harm reduction framework (paid or unpaid) within communities impacted by systemic injustice, colonialism, racism, and criminalization.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the necessary ongoing involvement of people who use drugs in all aspects of the creation and delivery of harm reduction services, to ensure their relevance and success.
  • Demonstrated ability to contribute to a supportive team environment with a focus on developing
  • trust, transparent communication and critical self‐reflection while addressing interpersonal dynamics.
  • Demonstrated skills, experience, and knowledge in the areas of the local communities who use drugs, safer drug use, safer sex, sex work, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, mental health, etc.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonialism and racism, and where your personal privilege and power as a service provider intersect with it.
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices
  • Demonstrated understanding of relational, empathetic, person centered approaches.
  • Demonstrated ability to connect and build trust with a diverse range of folks accessing services; including people who are actively using substances and living with significant health challenges.
  • Experience managing potentially hostile interactions, utilizing non‐violent communication and de-escalation skills
  • Demonstrated experience with overdose response, including administration of naloxone, oxygen and rescue breathes.
  • Ability to stay grounded and use creativity, flexibility, and assertiveness when working through complex and often urgent situations
  • Demonstrated experience planning, and developing educational workshops
  • Strong public speaking and group facilitation skills
  • Experience supporting and training Peer groups
  • 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

Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to carry out physical duties of position
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with others
  • Ability to operate related equipment
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required to work effectively with co‐workers, clients, community, and other service providers
  • 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
  • Leadership experience
  • Comfortable approaching and initiating conversation with others and ability to build respectful rapport.
  • 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:
Pay: $26.42/hour to start with stepped increases based on your seniority with AVI. (Pay for this
role is based on the BCGEU pay grid 34)
Hours and Schedule: On a Casual basis on Monday – Thursdays 8:45am – 4:00pm and Fridays
10:45am – 3:15pm.
Union: AVI is a union environment under the Collective Agreement: HEABC & Health Services &
Support Community Subsector Association 2019‐2022 and this role is a BCGEU union position.
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 9.31% towards your
pension account. If you are not already a member of the Municipal Pension Plan, part time staff
may become eligible after 2 years with AVI.
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.

To Apply:

Please send your cover letter and resume to jobs@avi.org, open until filled.

We strongly encourage applications from, but not limited to, folks who identify as Indigenous Persons, persons of colour, racialized, persons living with a disability, persons who use/d drugs, persons with experience of sex work, persons who live with HIV and/or hepatitis C, and persons representing diverse genders and sexualities.
Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.