We're Hiring! Harm Reduction Counsellor - Indigenous focus 

POSITION TITLE: Harm Reduction Counsellor - Indigenous focus 

CATEGORY: Temporary/Full-time 

DEPARTMENT: Client Services 

SUPERVISOR: Director of Programs 

WAGE RATE: GRID 13 ($25.80 per hour) 

HOURS: 37.5 hrs per week, some evening work required. 

Start date: ASAP, End date: December 31, 2017 



The Harm Reduction Counsellor works closely with the client services team to identify and provide counseling, and care coordination services to individuals struggling with substance use, mental health, and chronic health issues. The Harm Reduction Counsellor will carry a caseload of indigenous and non-indigenous clients and will be responsible for ensuring supportive case management services are offered within a harm reduction and health promotion framework. The HR counsellor works in consultation with the client to assess needs and develop client directed goals. 

The HR Counsellor will provide culturally safe care to Indigenous people at risk of overdose and develop partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities to reduce risk. The Harm Reduction Counsellor will also provide training in overdose prevention and response to groups and individuals with a focus on indigenous populations. 



  1. Actively engages new clients in care by providing basic harm reduction information and access to harm reduction supplies. 
  2. Provides intake and assessment, brief counselling, crisis counselling, harm reduction counselling, advocacy, and referral. 
  3. Provides a range of therapeutic counseling interventions as requested and appropriate (capacity building education, motivational interviewing, trauma informed care and support) 
  4. Provides advocacy to clients by working with them on issues such as housing, medical, legal and other support agencies.
  5. Conducts individual or group training sessions, and develops educational materials to meet clients’ needs, as required. 
  6. Develops and delivers overdose prevention and response training to groups and individuals including train the trainer workshops 
  7. Provides onsite support and staffing for the evening harm reduction drop-in program. 
  8. Provides information related to harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C to other service providers, such as government and community based agencies, and within medical and educational settings. 
  9. Develops partnerships and provides support and outreach to Aboriginal communities and organisations in the greater Victoria area 
  10. Identifies and develops safety plans with individuals who are at increased risk of overdose \Maintains both paper and electronic confidential client files. 
  11. Participates in ongoing clinical supervision and Direct Services Meetings with AVI client services team. 
  12. Performs other duties as assigned. 


Position Requirements 

University (Masters level preferred) degree in health or social services (Counselling, Social Work, Psychology, etc), or equivalent combination of education and experience. Counsellors will have a minimum of four years relevant work experience and will demonstrate the following minimum requirements: 


Counselling/Care Coordination Skills 

  • 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; 
  • Knowledge of and experience providing care within a framework of cultural safety; 
  • Knowledge of code of ethical conduct and standards of clinical counselling practice; 
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in providing relevant formal counselling and assessment techniques (for example, Motivational Interviewing, Harm Reduction psychotherapy, Stages of Change, etc); Demonstrated case Management skills including treatment planning, advocacy, and referral; 


Health Promotion Skills 

  •  Experience working in/with Indigenous organizations and communities; 
  •  Demonstrated ability to develop and deliver training sessions to individuals and groups 
  •  Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  •  Experience in managing community development programs/projects 
  •  Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective partnerships 
  •  Knowledge of the issues surrounding problematic substance use,, illicit drug use, sex work, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other co-infections; 


Personal Attributes/Other Skills 

  •  Demonstrated understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices; 
  •  Ability to contribute to a positive team environment 
  •  Experience managing hostile interactions, utilizing non-violent communication and diffusing techniques. non-violent diffusing techniques; 
  •  Excellent organizational, time and general management skills; 
  •  Demonstrated interpersonal skills required to work effectively with co-workers, clients, community, and other service providers; 
  •  Ability to problem solve with creativity, flexibility and assertiveness in dealing with complex issues; 
  •  Demonstrated written communication skills including the ability to document and report. 


*Due to the nature of this position, preference will be given to Indigenous/Aboriginal candidates and applicants are encouraged to identify as such. 


Please apply in writing with one attachment containing both a cover letter that speaks to the experience and qualifications of the position and recent resume to Kristen Kvakic, Director of Programs at kristen.kvakic@avi.org 

Applications close 4pm June 8th

Applicants must be willing and qualified to provide all of the duties and responsibilities of the job.