Access Support Worker- Victoria

AVI Health & Community Services (AVI) is a multi-disciplinary community based organisation 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 take evidence-based action to prevent infection, provide support, and reduce stigma. We work within a social justice and health promotion framework to ensure equity and access to services for all. 

At the core of what we do is our ability, and commitment to, creating meaningful connections. Every day, we strive to create meaningful connections between clients and staff, between peers, between staff members, between organizations, between communities, and between funders and impactful programs. For more info see  

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.

Harm Reduction Team - 713 Access Support - JOB SUMMARY:  

The Harm Reduction – Access Support Worker will be the first point of contact for individuals who are accessing services at AVI (713 Johnsons St) before they enter the premises and acts as a “community liaison” for all the programs & organizations within the 713 building. This position will engage with all individuals and communities accessing 713 and agencies and individuals providing services at 713 Johnson in an attempt to reduce stigma, encourage relationship building and support community engagement with policies and practices that keep our communities safe. 

This position relies heavily on the worker’s abilities to build relationships of trust and rapport with service users and other stakeholders. A thorough understanding of the principles and practices of harm reduction, the impact of colonialism and system inequities on individual and population health, and the operationalization of trauma and violence practices are essential.  This position requires a high level of self-awareness, empathy, ability to provide non-judgemental support with exceptional understanding of personal and community boundaries.  

The Access Support Worker must demonstrate capacity to consistently attend work and contribute to a team dynamic in which minimum staffing requirements impact program delivery.  This position relies on flexibility, self-motivation and the ability to support a team dynamic that is dependent upon staff attendance and flexible service delivery.  

Confidence in overdose response, de-escalation, relationship building and place-based harm reduction services are essential to this position. This position will also provide accurate information regarding HIV, HCV and other blood-borne disease transmission and prevention strategies, as well as evidence-based educational and harm reduction intervention to individuals and priority populations to increase knowledge of overdose prevention and response strategies.  


  1. Connects with and welcomes individuals into 713 Johnson, and encourages them to attend services, education and supports at AVI (and other services within the building).
  2. Mitigate and alleviate conflicts that may arise in the entryway and just outside the building by using de-escalation strategies, empathy and holding space for quick and often challenging conversations with various stakeholders. This includes those attending services in the building, and other service providers.
  3. Provide basic harm reduction information and support for people accessing harm reduction services at AVI.  
  4. Provides support to reception, and remains in contact by radio or phone with 3rd floor at 713 Johnson.
  5. Maintain safety and cleanliness in communal entryways for all programs and everyone entering the building at 713 Johnson St. Including the stairwell, elevator, vestibule, breezeway and sidewalk area immediately in front of the building.
  6. 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. 
  7. Monitor and support people who are using substances. Assess for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing and naloxone when necessary. Training is provided. 
  8. Responsible for harm reduction supply distribution and recovery 
  9. Provides overdose prevention education and first aid response, including education on administration of Naloxone and overdose response.  
  10. Engages with service users and other stakeholders in a collaborative, person-centered approach grounded in harm reduction 
  11. Maintains the safety of all program spaces by following protocols related to egress, accessibility, violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response), including the ability to use communication devices.  
  12. Performs other duties as assigned. 


  • One-year work experience with harm reduction based social services, lived experience of criminalised substance use or a diploma in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health Support Worker, etc.)
  • Demonstrated capacity consistently attend work, ready to work and contribute to a team dynamic in which minimum staffing requirements impact program delivery 
  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents, including overdose  
  • Experience with and prepared to provide overdose response, including administration of naloxone, an asset.  
  • 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 
  • Flexibility and ability to adjust approach and a program delivery based on the needs of community
  • Experience de-escalating crisis and 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 drug use, OAT, safer sex, prescribed safe supply sex work, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, mental health, etc.  
  • Demonstrated cultural safety and humility, and trauma-informed practices.  
  • Demonstrated knowledge of social justice, health promotion and public health approaches and models of social support and health care  
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices  
  • Experience managing hostile interactions, utilizing non-violent communication, and diffusing techniques 
  • 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  
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required to work effectively with coworkers, clients, community, and other service providers  
  • Strong working knowledge of local health and social services 

Position Details:

  • Pay: $30.64/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: 16 hours, Tuesdays to Fridays- 10:00 am to 2:00pm
  • Term: Position runs to Mach 31, 2024.
  • Location: AVI Victoria office and in the community as needed
  • Union: AVI is a union environment under the Collective Agreement: HEABC & Health Services & Support Community Subsector Association 2022-2025 and this role is a BCGEU union position. 
  • Position Type: Part Time
  • 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.  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 6% vacation (equivalent to 3 weeks), receives Stat In Lieu payments of 5% on each paycheque and has a Sick Bank of 6.9%.  Sick and Vacation are both accessible after your first 488 hours at AVI.
  • Proof of vaccination: AVI is under BC's Health Services Order and continues to require proof of vaccination.
  • Hours of Work, Days Off and Work Area may be subject to change.



To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to by September 4, 2023, 5pm.

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.

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

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