Indigenous Wellness Coordinator - Harm Reduction


The Indigenous Wellness Coordinator will provide culturally informed harm reduction related support and system navigation, linking people to a range of services including Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT), safe supply along with treatment, providing overdose response and training and improving access to cultural activities. The program will meet people where they are at and provide participant led services to build capacity and resilience. The program will work to meaningfully engage indigenous PWLE (people with lived experience) in both the ongoing development and evaluation of the project.

The role will work from an Indigenous worldview that recognizes and respects the values, beliefs and customs of individuals, families and communities as well as adhering to best practices current to the field. They will practice indigenized harm reduction in their relationships to build trust and provide peer support. The Indigenous Wellness Worker will be integral to helping to establish and maintain a positive, respectful, environment program space and act as an ambassador within the community and the organization.


  • Be a liaison and support person for First Nation, on and off reserve, Metis and Inuit people and offer support through active listening skills and non-judgmental attitude in a variety of settings including on-site program space, parks, encampments, shelters, supported housing and drop-in centres
  • Develop and maintain relationships with the First Nations Health Authority and ensure services delivered are aligned with their opioid response and community wellness plans.
  •  Provide indigenised harm reduction strategies  to a wide variety of locations to connect with indigenous people who are homeless/unstably housed and actively using substances
  • Facilitation of increased access to cultural supports and activities including land based healing  practices
  • Provide comprehensive system navigation through a cultural lens to access and continue engagement in OAT (opioid agonist therapy) and Safe supply (pharmaceutical alternatives)
  • Provide comprehensive system navigation to increase access to a range of indigenous substance use treatment and wellness services
  • Assist in conversations and event planning for inclusion of Indigenous people, to promote peer involvement as an Indigenous person. I.e. For Indigenous, by Indigenous.
  • Work with the local nations and other service providers to connect indigenous people to services that work for them
  • Work with indigenous people who are returning to community from correctional or treatment facilities to ensure they are connected to appropriate services
  •  Visit people in hospital to provide support and liaise with hospital staff regarding meeting the needs of people who are using substances in an acute care setting to assist with navigating the realities of the systematic racism that persists with the health care settings
  • Distribute cultural medicine bundles, safer drug use supplies, safer sex supplies and naloxone kits, and provide information and training about their use.
  • Monitor and support people who are using substances. Assess for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing and naloxone when necessary.
  • Maintain the safety of all program spaces by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents.
  • Work to indigenize harm reduction services that fit the cultural, holistic and sensitivity around substance use.
  • Identify issues within the AVI programs and bring them up with management and necessary parties for resolution and advocates for cultural awareness and competencies
  • Attend regularly scheduled team meetings and individual supervision meetings.
  • Keep records and participate in ‘team charting’ to assure comprehensive documentation.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Identify as Indigenous
  • Relevant education and/or experience
  • 3-5 years 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.
  • Experience working within harm reduction settings
  • Experience responding to critical incidents and overdose, including administration of naloxone. Support to obtain first aid certificate is available if necessary.
  • Have a current knowledge of the local drug trends.
  • Interest in learning and eager to share information with a non-judgmental attitude.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the importance and role of people who use drugs in the
    development, delivery, and evaluation of services intended to benefit them
  • Working understanding of the importance of confidentiality and boundaries.
  • Working knowledge in the areas of harm reduction, safer drug use, OAT, safer sex, sex work, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, mental health, etc.


  • Commitment to honor Indigenous communities and ways of knowing, and approach learning about the ongoing impacts of colonial violence with humility.
  • Demonstrate understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices.
  • Experience working with Indigenous leadership, health professionals and communities
  • Awareness and understanding of lateral violence and its impacts
  • Comfortable approaching and initiating conversation with others and ability to build respectful rapport.
  • Knowledge of relevant socio-historical events relevant to First Nations in Canada
  • Knowledge of the importance of critical reflection in practice
  • Familiarity with traditional healing practices, customs, values and traditions of local First Nations
  • In-depth knowledge of cultural safety and agility
  • Ability to use critical self-reflection in practice
  • Ability to balance western and traditional Indigenous worldviews in practice
  • Ability to establish and maintain strong working relationships with a variety of allied professionals, formal and informal community leaders, and knowledge keepers and/or Elders.
  • Ability to work in cooperation with others.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and with respect, both verbally and in writing.
  • Comfortable approaching and initiating conversation with others and ability to build respectful
  • Ability to work in settings that can be high energy and stressful with self-awareness.
  • Ability to keep a ‘cool head’ when tense situations arise and willingness to engage in proactive problem solving.
  • Physical ability to carry out the duties of the position and operate related equipment.
  • Ability to work outdoors during all types of weather in all seasons.


  • Vehicle Requirement: This position requires a valid Class 5 Drivers License and for the candidate to own their own vehicle
  • Pay: $28.56/hour to start with stepped increases based on your seniority with AVI. (Pay for this role is based on the BCGEU paygrid 38)
  • Hours and Schedule: 7.5 hour shifts Monday to Friday, details to be determined based on the new clinic’s hours and the candidate’s workflow. 
    • Applications for job share or part-time hours will be considered
  • 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.
  • Benefits: This position will be eligible for extended health, life and AD&D coverage after 488 hours with AVI.  AVI pays for the entire cost of the plan on behalf of its staff.
  • Pension – a Full Time Position Benefit: If you are already a member of the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP), you can continue with them at AVI immediately.  If not, after 488 hours, you will be eligible to join the Municipal Pension Plan. At this time, AVI contributes an additional 9.31% towards your pension account.
  • Other Full Time Benefits & Perks: This position gets 6% vacation (equivalent to 3 weeks), receives a paid day off for every Stat Holiday and Easter Monday and accrues a Sick Bank of 6.9%.  Sick and Vacation Days are both available to be used after your first 488 hours at AVI.


To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to by 9 am on August 22, 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.

As AVI is a union environment, internal staff will be prioritized in the hiring process.

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.