Sexual Health

Sexual health includes reproductive health and is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

[WEBINAR] Mind Your “Business”: Mental and Sexual / Reproductive Health

This year, SRH Week will take place from February 12-18 with the theme: Mind Your “Business”. Hosted by Action Canada, the campaign provides resources for health care providers to have open conversations with their patients and provide affirming and non-stigmatizing care at the intersections of mental health and sexual / reproductive health. The campaign will also see the launch of several articles by community experts working at these intersections, a podcast-style recorded interview between a health care provider and patient advocate, and much more! The webinar will introduce the different components of the campaign, as well as walk participants through some quick tips to provide quality care at the intersections of mental and sexual/reproductive health.

Hosted by the Public Health Agency of Canada
Thursday, January 25, 2018 1:00 pm
Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)

Click here to register

[WORKSHOP] Going Beyond the Basics: Teaching Healthy Relationships from a Human Rights Perspective

What are human rights and what do they have to do with healthy relationships?

Human rights are the fundamental, inalienable rights that everyone has simply because they are human. Human rights are universal, interrelated, and interdependent. Human rights, similar to relationships, are made up of a reciprocal, mutually beneficial exchange of responsibilities and entitlements. Every human has the right to experience healthy relationships, but unfortunately this right is not always realized due to a complex interplay of structural and individual factors. Health professionals and educators can challenge structural barriers that prevent the realization of these human rights, while empowering young people to discern and practice relationships that are healthy and meaningful. Using the overarching principles of human rights can help do both!

Two workshops will be held: one in Saskatoon and the other in Prince Albert.

Participants will:

  • Learn how to apply human rights broadly to sexuality education and specifically to healthy relationships
  • Examine personal values and assumptions about what a healthy relationship looks like
  • Implement strategies to discuss conflicting values from a human rights lens
  • Practice applying human rights principles of equality, mutual respect, empowerment, and accountability to sensitive topics within education on healthy relationships

Subsidized copies of the book, Beyond the Basics: A Resource for Educators on Sexuality and Sexual Health will be available. The regular price is $89.25 per book plus shipping. The subsidized cost, available at the workshop, is $45.00 per book.

Workshop Details

Prince Albert
Where: Plaza 88 Event Centre, 888 Central Avenue
Date: February 13, 2018
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m

Where: The Willows Golf & Country Club, 382 Cartwright Street
Date: February 14, 2018
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


To register for the workshop and/or webinar, please contact Jackie Eaton, Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Coordinator by email at [email protected] or by telephone, 306-651-4308.


  • Makeda Zook Special Projects Officer at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
  • Brittany Neron 24-hour Sexual Health Line Team Leader at Action Canada
  • Natalya Mason (BA, BSW, RSW) Sexual Health Educator and Social Worker

Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week 2018

This year,  Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week (SRH Week)  will take place from February 12-16 with the theme: Mind Your “Business”

We want to spark conversations that help make the connection between sexual health and mental health clear and have been consulting with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to prepare for SRH Week 2018.

In addition to posters designed by Montreal artist Edith Boucher, SRH Week 2018 will feature a series of blogposts written by community-based organizations, a resource for health care providers on non-stigmatizing comprehensive care that addresses the many connections between mental and sexual/reproductive health, podcasts, a webinar, and more!

We’ll be on Facebook and Twitter too! Find us @srhweek or download our social media kit at (available soon!).

The new campaign and material will be available on as of February 12.

Can’t wait until then? The site and all our exciting tools from past campaigns are available year-round with reliable, easy to access, up-to-date and comprehensive bilingual information on sexual and reproductive health. Visit to see for yourself!

Of course, any campaign needs strong voices to really make a difference. Help promote sexual and reproductive health this SRH Week by displaying the posters, following @SRHweek on Facebook and Twitter, visiting and helping to spread the word!

Want free posters? No problem! If you would like to order copies of the poster, visit and fill out the poster order form. We’ll be happy to send you more at no charge.

Thanks for your support in making the connection between mental and sexual/reproductive health!

It’s time to Mind Your “Business”!

New Year! New Link!

To kick off 2018, we’re changing our website URL to You can now find us on Facebook and Twitter @actioncanadaSHR too!

Have an existing Action Canada link?

All of our previous links should reroute to the same page on but glitches do happen! If you have trouble accessing a page, try our search function or contact us at [email protected]

Have an email contact at Action Canada?

Simply replace with to reach us! Our mailing address and phone numbers are the same as before.

Still have questions?

Feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Have you made enough donations to qualify for a tax credit this year?

With the New Year comes a new tax year – did you max out your charitable giving credits?

Have you made enough donations to qualify for a tax credit this year?

Are you a first-time donor? You could be eligible for a super credit.

Did you know $200 is the threshold for the taxable rate of your charitable gifts this calendar year?

If you are a first time donor you will qualify for an additional credit of 25% of the first $1000 of monetary donations. It’s called the “First time donor super-credit.”

Charitable rates for tax credits vary by province, you can claim eligible amounts up to 75% of your net income. Want to see what your rates are by province? Click here! 

Charitable gifts are often referred to as tax deductible, when they are actually tax credits on amounts owed. Would you like to see what credit you will be eligible for this year? Click here!

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is a registered charity working to advance sexual health and rights in Canada and around the world. Our registered charitable number is 107848319.

Click here to make a secure online donation today!

Planned Parenthood Ottawa and HIV Community Link win 2017 Bentley Awards!

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is excited to announce the winners of the 2017 Helen and Fred Bentley Awards of Excellence: Planned Parenthood Ottawa (first place) and HIV Community Link (second place)!

We received a strong number of applications but Planned Parenthood Ottawa’s Parent Peer Leadership (PPL) program and HIV Community Link’s Shift Program stood out for their innovation and leadership.

Planned Parenthood Ottawa’s Parent Peer Leadership (PPL) program improves parent-child communication on sexual health in Ottawa’s immigrant communities through training and discussion about healthy development and sexuality. Parents feel they can communicate more openly and accurately with children and youth about healthy sexuality while upholding their cultural values and have reported increased comfort and less fear of the Ontario Sexual Health Curriculum. Click here to read the Planned Parenthood Ottawa press release »

For over 10 year’s, HIV Community Link’s Shift Program has provided safety planning, access to basic needs, safer sex education and supplies, case management, and trauma-informed supportive counselling to adults involved in sex work. In 2016-2017, Shift saw 129 registered clients and 193 unique sex worker contacts through street outreach. Unlike most sex worker services, Shift is non-denominational and exiting the sex work industry is not a primary goal. Click here to read the HIV Community Link press release »

Action Canada is proud to count Planned Parenthood Ottawa and HIV Community Link among its Associate Organizations. Our Associate Organizations and partners continue to encourage and motivate us with their creativity and success. We are constantly inspired and look forward to ongoing collaboration and experience sharing to ensure that all people are guaranteed their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

For more information about both programs and the Helen and Fred Bentley Awards of Excellence please contact [email protected]

Action Canada Statement on the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers

On December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights pays tribute to the sex workers in Canada and around the world who are fighting for their right to autonomy, health and safety.

Despite strong evidence that clearly demonstrates the harmful impact of criminalizing sex work on the health and human rights of persons engaged in sex work, Canada and many other countries continue to punish sex workers, their families and their allies. In doing so, Canada restricts access to important safety strategies, which leads to serious violations of sex workers’ right to health, to security, to safety and to equality.

International human rights standards are clear. Every person is entitled to the full range of human rights, without distinction of any kind; yet, sex workers are regularly excluded from policy making processes that directly affect their lives and denied justice when subjected to violence and discrimination.

As Canada’s human rights record comes under scrutiny in May 2018 at the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, we encourage government officials, civil society organizations and parliamentarians to engage with the research and recommendations submitted by the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform and the Sexual Rights Initiative. The report highlights the particular ways in which sex workers’ rights are denied and their safety put at risk under current Canadian law. The report also sets out steps for Canada to take in order to comply with its human rights obligations to ensure all persons in Canada can live in dignity and free from violence, stigma and discrimination.

This December 17th, Action Canada calls on all human rights advocates to strand in solidarity with sex workers, sex worker rights organizations and their allies by practising the fundamental principle of universality to ensure that all people, including sex workers, can claim their rights.



This holiday season, will you be the change?

We’re at a defining moment for reproductive rights in Canada. And you are an important part of history in the making.

The progress made through the campaign for better access to Mifegymiso (the abortion pill) has put issues of abortion access back into public discourse and continues to create major opportunities to address historical inequalities. Action Canada is taking a leadership role through the campaign and our influence among decision-makers is growing. Will you join us?

Right now what lies before the leaders of this country is a choice. It’s a choice between whether Canada is going to resolve the long-standing barriers to access in our country or accept the status quo. If things don’t change, abortion will remain largely a privilege for folks in urban centres close the US border.

Mifegymiso has the potential to change all this. It holds the promise of access to abortion within every community – urban, rural or remote.

We’re getting closer. But we have a long way to go! Provinces have signed on to provide cost coverage of Mifegymiso, but the rollout has been uninspiring at best,  despite government pledges and commitments.

Will you help? Every dollar is a step forward.

As a supporter your help goes both “upstream” to address the barriers standing  in the way and “downstream” to support the very people who face challenges in accessing services, stigma-free support, and objective fact-based information.

Now is not the time to rest! Every day we here about anti-choice
politicians in the media, provinces staying silent on abortion
access, and myths about abortion and contraception.

Policy shifts in the US are being felt around the world with funding losses and legal changes that eliminate women and trans people’s right to choose.

After 30+ years we are closer than ever to abortion being a readily available medical service without stigma, where people have full autonomy (fully have the right to choose what happens to them and their body). Bodily autonomy is central to human rights work. And human rights are central to the work we do.

On Action Canada’s Access Line, we hear from countless folks, mostly younger or lower income women, who are seeking access to abortion and cannot find these services in their own communities. They are forced to travel sometimes hundreds of kilometers, often having to raise the travel funds themselves from family and friends, while negotiating the multiple barriers or gatekeepers in the way of access to services that are fundamental to rights!

Our Emergency Fund helps people in Canada access abortion, people who otherwise wouldn’t have access despite almost 30 years since the Morgentaler decision! There is so much demand that each year the fund is still drawn down to $0.

We need your support to be able to offer access *right now* and we need your support to continue the fight to make barriers obsolete.

Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that the abortion provision in the Criminal Code violated people’s rights. Strong advocates across the country rallied together to remove senseless barriers, advocates that have been working on this issue for 30+ years!

Action Canada carries this rich history in the work of our predecessor organizations who saw sexual and reproductive rights advocacy through crucial times in the past: Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL), Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC), Canadians for Choice (CFC), Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (CFSH), and Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD). We remain committed to their vision and are grounded by the real stories of real people who come to us daily.

The path to change has been shaped by the courage and determination of activists, health care advocates and feminists. We keep rising to the ongoing challenge, adding our own energy and expertise. We want Canada to be a leader in sexual and reproductive health and rights and Action Canada brings lifetimes of expertise as well as a network of dedicated supporters, experts, and advocates to the table.

This year, you have been a part of the tidal wave of support that led to real changes in the landscape of access in Canada. You have helped push Health Canada to drop the unnecessary regulations that were curbing access to the drug. Together we rallied activists, politicians and the medical community, wrote letters, got petitions into the House of Commons, navigated the lack of national pharmacare and shot for the stars by advocating for universal cost coverage for the abortion pill. We leveraged expertise on sexual health and rights across the country, engaged our elected officials at ministerial meetings and made sure the media and the public were kept informed! We worked “upstream” and “downstream” at the same time for #RealAccessNow!

We are building on the momentum in the fight for reproductive health and rights! And your support is urgently needed! Your gifts help us continue to knock down barriers that stand in the way of access to services and information people need to make decisions that are the right for them. It helps fight the “downstream” barriers people face in real time every day, like being unable to pay for a train ticket, and the “upstream” that exist today, like holding provinces accountable to their promises for increased access and choice.

Canada’s provinces have made promises to make access more equitable. Canada’s international assistance policy has declared itself feminist. After years of education, advocacy, and public health research the picture upstream is changing but the promise of choice, autonomy, and access will take real work to be felt downstream.

This next year we need to keep up with the effort! With your help we can see this year’s promises realized.

Our campaigning work needs support so that we can push the hold-out provinces and territories to commit to universal cost coverage of the gold standard of medical abortion (as other jurisdictions have done). We need to work to ensure that doctors and nurse practitioners are supported to start prescribing Mifegymiso and that midwives are empowered too. Without such support, we will fall short of realizing rural and remote access and a vision where abortion is available in all communities across Canada.

What else are we doing to keep up the pressure for #RealAccessNow? With your support, we can replicate the win in Ontario with Bubble Zone legislation across the country to ensure that new and existing abortion providers are protected as they provide abortion care. And we can ensure all people, including federal patients and uninsured folks, have access to the care they need.

You can take additional action to help build the national sexual and reproductive health and rights movement today. 

Because he believes in our work, a generous donor is matching every new dollar donated until the end of the year by three! That means, your dollar has the power of $4. Please share our Facebook and Twitter posts about the donor match with people who, like you, believe that all people should be able to make choices about their bodies that are right for them!

When I last spoke to him about the donation, here’s what he said:

For years I’ve been haunted by the “upstream story,” famous in public health circles and credited to Irving Zola. He tells the story of a person who sees and rescues a series of drowning people caught in a river current. Finally, the individual goes upstream to investigate why so many people are falling into the river in the first place, but in the process, people continue to drown. Action Canada works “upstream” and “downstream” by providing direct support through the Access Line and emergency funds for people with lower income who have to travel in order to access the care they need, by helping resource professionals with stigma-free and factual information, and by shaping policy and systems to address deep systemic challenges in sexuality and reproduction. From the global to the local, change is needed. Advocates and health professionals around the world are making ground through a sexual and reproductive health and rights movement that we can be a part of.

Will you join him in supporting this vital work? Please give what you can today.

As we near the 30th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision it is time to ensure the right to choose is truly available to all, regardless of income tax bracket or postal code.


New UN report on world’s population connects reproductive health to inequality

Source: Karl Nerenberg | Rabble

On December 6 we remember women who were victims of violence, because on that day, 28 years ago, a killer with a gun singled out and murdered 14 women who had the effrontery to study engineering, math and science. This year, on that same day, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) came out with a new report which reminds us that violence against women does not flow solely from the barrel of a gun.

The UNFPA’s State of World Population for 2017 paints a picture in which poverty and gender inequality are intertwined, each contributing to the other.

“Inequalities in sexual and reproductive health correlate with economic inequality,” the report states. The poorest women “have least access to services essential for exercising their rights to prevent pregnancy, stay healthy during pregnancy and deliver safely.”

Gender inequality and related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health rights do not explain the “totality of inequality in the world today,” the report admits, but then adds, “both are essential pieces that demand much more action.”

Many government officials and their corporate allies in the affluent West pay solemn lip service to the United Nations, with its sustainable development goals, and its demands on multinational businesses to show respect for — to cite one example — traditional occupants of arable land in developing countries.

Privately, however, they will tell you that the UN tends to go too far. It is too demanding of the private sector and the West, in general, they complain, and is simply not realistic and practical.

Those folks will not like the blunt statement with which the UNFPA opens its latest report.  It says that the “combined wealth of the world’s 2,473 billionaires… exceeds $7.7 trillion.” And in case that number is too abstract, the UNFPA provides this comparison. Fewer than 3,000 billionaires own and control resources that are “equivalent to the combined gross domestic product of a four-fifths of the world’s countries.”

The UNFPA report adds: “While some privileged households budget for billions, many hundreds of millions of families barely scrape by on less than $1.25 a day.”

The report’s main focus, however, is on women’s reproductive rights, throughout the worlds. For much of humanity, those rights are more honoured in the breach than the observance. As the UNFPA reports:

“A poor woman with little education in a rural area is likely to have few options for preventing pregnancies, staying healthy during pregnancy or delivering with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant. And, in seeking to exercise her reproductive rights, she may face social and institutional obstacles that her affluent, educated and urban counterpart may never encounter or may easily overcome.”

The report then ties gender to economic facts on the ground:

“Inequalities in sexual and reproductive health correlate with economic inequality. Within most developing countries today, access to critical sexual and reproductive health care is generally lowest among the poorest 20 per cent of households and highest among the richest 20 per cent.”

The report does recognize that “many developing countries have improved their capacity to provide modern contraception for women seeking to avoid or delay pregnancy and to reduce wealth-based inequality in satisfying this demand.”

It provides detailed tables showing the relationship of wealth and geography with the availability of contraception and other reproductive health services. And it does not focus exclusively on the developing world. In rich countries, too, access to sexual and reproductive health services is related to income. Women in the bottom 20 per cent economically have the least access to those services.

The biggest success stories in the UNFPA’s 2017 report are Lesotho in southern and Rwanda in central Africa.

“The two countries,” the UNFPA reports, “made the most progress over about a 10-year period in reducing inequality in meeting the demand for modern methods of contraception across wealth groups and in increasing coverage of modern methods of contraception.”

Today, about 70 per cent of women, of all social classes, in those countries have access to modern methods of contraception.

There is much more in this thorough report. It is worth examining in detail. In the end, though, the report’s insistence on putting gender and reproductive rights into the broader context of global inequality is what is more striking.

UN report highlights link between reproductive health, global inequality

Click here to watch interview with UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem on CTV News

Source: CTV News

Investing in sexual and reproductive health services is key to global development and prosperity.

That is the message the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund is bringing to Canada as she meets with International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Wednesday.

Dr. Natalia Kanem and Bibeau will discuss the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNPF) latest major report, titled Worlds Apart, which looks at inequality and the state of reproductive rights around the globe.

The report, released in October, warns that failing to protect the rights of the poorest women around the world “could undermine peace and world’s development goals.”

Millions of women lack the ability to access sexual health services and make their own decisions about how many children they will have and when they will have them. That prevents girls and women from getting a proper education and seeking jobs outside the home, which contributes to financial inequality in many countries, the report says.

“Even in countries that are better off, there is inequality,” Dr. Kanem told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.  “The gap between the rich and the poor is growing.”

Dr. Kanem said the Worlds Apart report is “pathbreaking” because it shows a direct link between women’s reproductive health and global development. She commended Canada for contributing to global humanitarian efforts that focus on the empowerment of girls and women, and said countries like Canada need to continue to invest in reproductive health rights, and especially in the education of young girls.

“Information can be life-saving for a young girl. Many girls get pregnant without having a clue.”

The UNPF report makes a number of recommendations “for a more equal world.” They include abolishing discriminatory laws that prevent girls and women from accessing sexual health services, bolstering childcare options so that women can enter the workforce, and eliminating girls’ obstacles to getting a secondary and higher education.

Globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn, while in Canada, women earn 87 per cent of what men earn, according to the report.

“Inequality remains a barrier to women and girls accessing comprehensive sexuality education, reproductive health services, and family planning and contraceptives” Bibeau said in a news release ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

“Partners like the UNFPA continue to play a vital role in removing barriers and addressing the gap while providing critical sexual and reproductive health services.”