We're Hiring: Harm Reduction Response Team Lead - Victoria (2 Positions)

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).

Job Summary:

The Harm Reduction Response Team Lead will provide supervision and support to the Harm Reduction Response Team (casuals and regular staff).

This position will support staff while also providing a broad range of low barrier, psycho-social supports to individuals accessing harm reduction services through AVI in community settings. This position will also provide evidence-based educational and harm reduction interventions to individuals and priority populations to increase knowledge regarding overdose prevention, risk and response. Also, this position ensures people have accurate information regarding HIV, HCV and other BBD transmission and prevention strategies, and facilitates behavior change to prevent transmission. The position requires quickly developing and implementing strategies and services in response to varied community needs.

This position also supports folks to access survival and harm reduction supplies, including food, hygiene, safer sex, and safer drug using supplies. The team lead works to help develop and implement systems that support access to these supplies, harm reduction supplies and education.

The team lead will develop and support staff to develop relationships with community members, to support ongoing peer and community based overdose prevention, including but not limited to regular access to harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention trainings and advocacy to support ongoing efforts to prevent and respond to overdose.

This position will provide oversight, support, and overdose response, including the administration of oxygen and Naloxone, to people using illicit substances in a variety of community settings.

The successful candidate embodies collaboration, works from a relational perspective, is supportive and empathetic, upholds AVI’s harm reduction, social justice, trauma-informed care and cultural humility values with people accessing our services. They support and ensure that Harm Reduction Services promotes the dignity and respect of the people we serve.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Supervises the harm reduction services for the AVI Harm Reduction Response Team and acts as a liaison between Harm Reduction Response staff, managers, community resources and stakeholders to communicate and manage support needs, client concerns, and issues related to operations, and critical incidents
  2. Arranges staffing coverage, contacts casual staff members to call-out shift(s), confirms staffing according to seniority and making any necessary scheduling adjustments.
  3. Provides break coverage and coverage when minimum staffing is not met
  4. Assists with paperwork including but not limited to the completion of statistics, leave forms, weekly narrative and reporting, as required, to ensure Managers receive information and reports in a timely manner
  5. Maintains both paper and electronic confidential client files as required
  6. When appropriate, attend meetings as representative of Manager
  7. Facilitates workshops, education and support groups related to community support, Harm Reduction and overdose prevention and response.
  8. Engages in planning, evaluation, and program development as directed
  9. Responsible for harm reduction supply distribution and recovery
  10. Provides outreach and support in a variety of settings including parks, encampments, shelters, drop in centers, parking lots, people’s homes, community services and to people living outside and/or in temporary and fixed Overdose Prevention sites and other areas of Victoria. 
  11. Monitors and supports people who are using drugs, including smoking, injecting and snorting drugs.
  12. Assesses for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing and naloxone when necessary. Follows up with developing safety plans for individuals
  13. Responsible for contributing to and supporting culturally safe practices and spaces with humility
  14. Provides harm reduction and overdose prevention education and individual safety plans.
  15. 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
  16. Maintains the safety of the program by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response), including the ability to use communication devices
  17. Performs other duties as assigned


  • University degree in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health and Addictions Support Worker, etc.), or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Minimum of three years’ relevant work experience
  • Supervisory experience in a front line social service agency working with vulnerable folks who use substances. This includes a demonstrated knowledge of harm reduction practice and social services systems (income assistance, housing, healthcare)
  • 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.
  • Valid Class 5 BC Driver’s License with “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.)
  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents, including overdose response, including rescue breaths and the administration of naloxone.
  • Experience with providing harm reduction outreach support in a variety of settings including parks, encampments, shelters, drop-in centres, people’s homes, community services and to people living outside and/or in temporary and fixed Overdose Prevention sites and other areas of Victoria, for example.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required to work effectively as a supervisor, co-worker, with clients, community, and other service providers.
  • Direct service delivery and supervisory 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 understanding of the importance and role of people who use drugs in the development, delivery, and evaluation of services intended to benefit them
  • Demonstrated ability to establish rapport with a diverse range of clientele including individuals who are actively using substances and living with significant health challenges
  • Demonstrated skills, experience and knowledge in the areas of safer substance use, safer sex, sex work, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, mental health, etc.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of social justice, health promotion and public health approaches and models of social support and health care
  • Demonstrated cultural safety and humility, and trauma-informed practices.
  • Experience managing hostile interactions, utilizing non-violent communication and diffusing techniques
  • Ability to apply sound judgement: stay grounded and use creativity, flexibility and assertiveness when working through complex and often urgent situations
  • Strong working knowledge of local health and social services
  • Demonstrated knowledge of group process and facilitation techniques

Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to honor local indigenous communities and to recognize the ongoing impacts of colonial violence.
  • Committed to social justice, equity, anti-racism and decolonization. 
  • Ability to manage and support staff with diverse experiences.
  • Physical ability to carry out the duties of the position
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team setting
  • Ability to organize and prioritize you work.
  • Ability to establish and maintain rapport with and observe/recognise changes in clients
  • Ability to apply conflict resolution strategies and work thru a diversity of issues with clients and staff.
  • Conflict resolution and crisis intervention skills and ability to work under pressure
  • Advocacy skills
  • Understanding of diversity, and anti-oppressive practices
  • Understanding of the psycho-social issues affecting people who use substances
  • Ability to recognize program needs and implement programming with input from relevant stakeholders

Position Details:

  • 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: 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.
  • Other Perks: This position gets 6% vacation (equivalent to 3 weeks), receives Stat In Lieu payments of 4.6% on each paycheque and has a Sick Bank of 6.9%.  Sick and Vacation are both accessible after your first 488 hours at AVI.


To Apply: Please send your resume and cover letter to jobs@avi.org by 5pm on Wednesday, March 30

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 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.