Harm Reduction Response Support Worker & Housing Overdose Prevention Worker CombinedHarm Reduction Response Support Worker & Housing Overdose Prevention Worker Combined

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 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.

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 Ləkʷəŋən peoples (Esquimalt and Songhees nations).


The Housing Overdose Prevention Worker provides a broad range of low barrier, harm reduction supports, overdose prevention/response, crisis intervention, supply distribution, and evidenced based harm reduction education, all done within an “in-reach” context.  This position relies heavily on the abilities of the workers being able connect and develop relationships of trust with residents. This will be formed thru consistent staff interactions based in the principles of harm reduction and a solid understanding of the impacts of colonization, systemic inequities, with a lens of violence and trauma informed practice. This position requires a high level of self-awareness, empathy, ability to provide non-judgmental support, with a solid understanding of personal and community boundaries.

Confidence in an overdose response situation, and the ability to provide leadership, education and support to the “peer resident workers” in overdose response is essential to this position. This includes the administration of naloxone, oxygen and/or rescue breaths to residents and their guests, in various settings within housing sites. This could include common spaces, indoors/outdoors, or private resident rooms. This position relies on flexibility and self motivation, and the ability to identify and respond to resident needs.


  1. Provides leadership in the development of a supportive resident community within the buildings, through building trust and mentoring harm reduction principles of relational care, empathy and support.
  2. Provides overdose prevention education, including education on overdose response, and supporting residents with the development of individual safety plans.
  3. Witness and support people who are using substances in a variety of settings. Assess for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing, oxygen and naloxone when necessary.
  4. In-reach supply distribution while providing information and access to in-house and external resources. Follow up with resources and support in making initial contacts.
  5. Use brief assessment, active listening, and crisis response skills as needed in situations with residents.
  6. Works in collaboration with partner agencies within the buildings to provide a continuum of support and care to ensure the success of HOPPS
  7. Provides education and support regarding safer drug use and safer sex, HIV, hepatitis C, and STIs
  8. Ensures all necessary safety precautions are taken to minimize risk for staff and residents we interact with by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response, needle stick injury protocols).  This includes the ability to use communication devices (cell phone/2-way radio) to ensure regular check-ins.
  9. Facilitates OD prevention workshops and community meetings related to increasing sense of community, health and wellness within the building(s).
  10. Maintains both paper and electronic confidential client files as required. Fills out critical incident, and overdose response forms as needed within timely manner.
  11. Engages in planning, evaluation, and program development as directed
  12. Performs other duties as assigned

JOB SUMMARY – Harm Reduction Response Support Worker:

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 – Harm Reduction Response Support Worker:

  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


  • Diploma in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health & Addictions Support Worker, etc.), or equivalent combination of education and work experience and/or;
  • Valid Class 5 BC Driver’s License (“Normal” Drivers Status)
  • Driver’s Abstract (AVI will review the past 1 year and driving records will need to have no suspensions or prohibitions or 1 passenger only restrictions.)
  • Proof of Vaccination Status, as required by the Provincial Health Order for Hospital and Community Health Care Services staff  
  • Experiential knowledge of substance use, prison, sex work, homelessness and/or mental health struggles and/or;
  • 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
  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents


  • Physical ability to carry out the duties of the position
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with others
  • 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
  • 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


  • Pay: $26.42/hour to start with stepped increases based on your seniority with AVI. (Pay for this role is based on the BCGEU paygrid 34)
  • Hours and Schedule: Casual basis with potential shifts falling during the HOPS Team and/or Harm Reduction Response Team Hours.
  • Term: Starts as soon as possible. This position runs until January 1, 2023
  • 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.
  • Position Type: Casual with ability to work shifts in both the Harm Reduction Response and Housing Overdose Prevention teams.
  • 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.    
  • Hours of Work, Days Off and Work Area may be subject to change.


To apply, please send statement of interest to jobs@avi.org by 5 pm on November 16, 2022.

AVI is committed to equity and diversity and 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.

It is beneficial to identify in the cover letter if you are Indigenous and/or have lived/living expertise relevant to the position.

Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

We would like to thank all those that apply but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.