Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are bacteria, viruses and parasites that can be passed from person to person through vaginal, oral or anal sex as well as through skin-to-skin contact or sharing sex toys. Some STIs can also be transmitted through non-sexual activities.

Annual Report 2016-2017

Whether it’s been campaigning for universal cost coverage of medical abortion, launching a cutting-edge resource for teaching sexuality education in schools, securing a major investment in global SRHR from the government Canada, offering thousands of people the health information they are looking for, or supporting sexual and reproductive rights defenders around the world to hold their governments accountable, we’ve been working tirelessly to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

Read our Annual Report to learn about the significant strides we made in 2016-2017 »

Having trouble reading the report? Click here to download in PDF

This #GivingTuesday will you support the right to choose?

Fighting for the right to choose what happens to our own bodies, for stigma-free fact based information, and for health systems that empower and support individuals! We answer daily calls on the Access Line, help women and trans folk access our Emergency Travel Fund, are prepping for Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week in Feb, planning with the United Nations Population Fund for the State of World Population report launch and UN Under-Secretary-General visit next week, and promoting Beyond the Basics – a resource that helps teachers teach sex-ed! We’ve been busy! Join us in advancing human rights and equity in sexual and reproductive health and rights today. Until the end of the year each new donor dollar will be matched by three more, meaning your $1 has the power of $4! Click the video above to learn more about the intersections of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sexual health and rights are human rights!

Click here to donate today!

Striving towards equal rights for all. Not just some.

Action Canada’s Meghan Doherty lends her voice to CBC Canada 2017 to talk about sexual and reproductive rights and striving towards equal rights for all. Not just some.

Get Your Copy of Beyond the Basics Today!

Beyond the Basics is a resource for educators that offers the tools to teach young people about sexuality and sexual health from a sex positive, human rights perspective. Covering topics that range from anatomy to consent and healthy relationships, Beyond the Basics approaches sexuality education across all gender identities and sexual orientations with activities that help move students from receiving information to making decisions based on critical thinking skills and empowerment. Recognizing the time pressures educators face, Beyond the Basics is written to easily move in and out of chapters, modules, and activities that suit the particular age, maturity, and trust in each classroom.

Click here to purchase today!

Press advisory: Action Canada launching new book and campaign that support human rights based sex-ed

Thursday, 28 September 2017 7PM-10PM
Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

The research is clear, young people want guidance on more than just “the birds and the bees” or how to put on a condom (Rick Weissbourd, Harvard) and many educators are nervous and hesitant to teach these topics because of what they perceive to be their own lack of knowledge, skills, confidence, and comfort (Jacqueline Cohen, Sandra Byers and Heather Sears, University of New Brunswick). That is why Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is thrilled to be launching a new resource for educators on sexuality and sexual health called Beyond the Basics as well as a comprehensive sexuality education campaign.

Beyond the Basics addresses the gaps in existing sex-ed by offering the tools to teach young people about sexuality and sexual health from a sex positive, human rights perspective. Covering topics that range from anatomy to consent and healthy relationships, Beyond the Basics approaches sexuality education across all gender identities and sexual orientations with activities that help move students from receiving information to making decisions based on critical thinking skills and empowerment.

A range of sexual health and education stakeholders will be “toasting” the launch with short speeches, including: Nadine Thornhill (Ed.D – Sexuality Educator), Karen B. K. Chan (Sexuality Educator), Kaleigh Trace (Author), Dr. Danielle Martin (Family Doctor and national media commentator), Beck Hood (Educator and Community Developer), and Sandeep Prasad (ED Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights).

Media Inquiries: Ani Colekessian [email protected]  +1 613 241-4474 x7

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

 

 

You’re invited! Sex-Ed Beyond the Basics Launch Party!

It’s back to school time, let’s talk about Sex…ED!

Come celebrate the launch of Beyond the Basics and join us in speaking up for quality sex-ed!

It’s been a labour of love, working with sexual health experts from across the country to develop Beyond the Basics, a sex-ed resource that addresses the gaps we keep hearing about! From consent to LGBTQ+ inclusive sex-ed, join the conversation to help bring comprehensive sex-ed into classrooms across Canada!

What? Where? When?

Launch Party: Sex-Ed Beyond the Basics
Thursday September 28th
7:00PM – 10:00PM
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

Click here to register for your free ticket!

What can you expect?

A night of toasts, interactive booths, audience Q&A, and small bites on us! (cash bar)

Who will be toasting the event?

Nadine Thornhill, Ed.D – Sexuality Educator
Karen B. K. Chan, Sexuality Educator
Kaleigh Trace, Author
Dr. Danielle Martin, Family Doctor and national media commentator
Sandeep Prasad, ED Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Can’t make the event?

Click here to receive notifications about Beyond the Basics!

What’s Beyond the Basics?

Beyond the Basics is a resource for educators that offers the tools to teach young people about sexuality and sexual health from a sex positive, human rights perspective. Covering topics that range from anatomy to consent and healthy relationships, Beyond the Basics approaches sexuality education across all gender identities and sexual orientations with activities that help move students from receiving information to making decisions based on critical thinking skills and empowerment. Recognizing the time pressures educators face, Beyond the Basics is written to easily move in and out of chapters, modules, and activities that suit the particular age, maturity, and trust in each classroom.

Interactive play honoured for exploring social side of sexuality

Source: Waterloo Chronicle | Bill Jackson

Jillian Osterman remembers her sex-ed class in high school, but one of the main things she remembers about it is being bored.

“There were things I wish I had more information about to have more confidence and security,” she said.

That’s one of the reasons the 25-year-old, post-secondary student became a volunteer actor with Waterloo Region’s SHORE Centre.

The centre, which provides sexual health options, resources and education, has been performing a play dubbed “Great Sexpectations” for the past decade, mostly under SHORE’s previous moniker, Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region.

The play, directed at high school-age students across the region, recently received an award of excellence by Action Canada, a charitable organization committed to improving sexual health.

“It was the first time being put forward for an award, and it won,” said SHORE’s executive director Lyndsey Butcher.

Great Sexpectations covers just about everything that could go wrong at a teenage house party, depicting a number of different scenarios around the issue of consent, safe sex, gender identity and other issues youth came up against.

“They developed a play where everything goes wrong and then they perform the play a second time and the members of the audiences can actually swap in with the actors and make healthier choices,” Butcher said. “So it’s a way of really engaging the audiences and them coming up with what they could do differently to avoid consequences.”

The play touches on different ways sexually transmitted infections can be contracted. Osterman plays the role of a teen virgin who thinks she may have contracted HPV (human papillomavirus) without ever having sexual intercourse.

Two other individuals are about to have sex without a condom with cialis online and Osterman has female friend who kisses her. Confusion around intentions ensues.

But sex is actually a pretty small part of the production. It’s the social scene around sex at a young age that’s explored in much more depth, according to Eva Jaronski, a counsellor with Monica Place that provides pre- and post-natal support to young parents.

Jaronski said the play, which is performed at Monica Place twice each year, has had a measurable effect on clients, opening their minds to alternative choices, resources and ultimately better decision-making.

“It shows youth what they could do in their own relationships by taking a look from the outside,” Butcher said. “It helps them think through things before experiencing things themselves.”

Volunteer actors update the script every year to make sure it’s current. Scenes addressing sexting and gender identity are more recent additions.

“We talk about how it’s better to talk to your partner first instead of all these other people who can spread rumours to others,” Osterman said. “I think sometimes you don’t understand boundaries in high school, or common sense. Creating these issues definitely has a place in learning that.”

The proof is in the pudding. Before and after every each performance, audiences are asked to fill out a questionnaire and the vast majority (about 80 per cent) comes away from the production having learned something, said Butcher, who added that the services provided by SHORE and other local social agencies are promoted as part of the package.

“The kids do get real about it and they do get serious and share their own experiences in very similar situations,” Butcher said. “I think it shows that it’s important for youth to be involved in the programming that they receive and how important it actually is to bring youth into programming across the community to help address issues they are facing. To have that rewarded was really great for us to experience.”

The [Bentley] award bestowed by Action Canada comes with a $3,500 prize which will help SHORE pay for one part-time coordinator and travel costs associated with what Butcher termed a “very lean program.”

 

Wrap It Up!

Our Associate Organization Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon (SHCS) has launched a new project: Wrap It Up!

Local creative agency Territorial designed four branded condoms have been using Saskatchewan place names:

  • Toronto is big, but this is Biggar
  • Saskatoon, wanna spoon?
  • Regina the city the rhymes with fun
  • Climax please come again

This project is part of an ongoing condom distribution initiative in partnership with OUTSaskatoon and is funded through the Saskatchewan HIV Strategy and the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute. Wrap It Up! will distribute 100,000 condoms as well as 10,000 packets of lubricant at over 30 locations within the Saskatoon Health Region.

Click here to visit the Wrap It Up! Website

Letter to Minister Philpott: Showing True Federal Leadership on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Canada

September 12, 2016 

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A2  

Dear Honourable Minister,

On behalf of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, I want to indicate how pleased we have been to see a number of tangible indications that the Government of Canada takes seriously the importance of sexual and reproductive health. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is a national sexual and reproductive health and rights charitable organization engaged in domestic and global policy work, as well as in domestic health promotion, including through a network of 23 frontline service-providing associate organizations located across the country offering a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services as well as community education on these issues. Your statements on abortion access and recognition of the need to improve the accessibility and availability of this essential service within Canada have certainly been welcome by our community who see directly the impact of these substantial accessibility barriers. We also recognize commitments made towards a revised, integrated approach to Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs) through stakeholder engagement as an important development.

While these initial steps are welcome, they do not rise to the level of leadership needed on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada after consistent neglect of – and even hostility towards – these issues by federal, provincial and territorial governments. In fact, UN bodies have begun showing strong concerns with the lack of action to improve Canada’s domestic record on these issues. During this year’s review of Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee that monitors Canada’s compliance with the Covenant questioned the government on severe discrepancies in the quality and delivery of comprehensive sexuality education in Canada as well as in access to services, particularly abortion. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has followed suit and has indicated that it will be questioning Canada at its upcoming review in the Fall on these exact issues as they relate to Canada’s international human rights obligations towards women and girls. Federal leadership is urgently needed on these issues in order to address domestic shortcomings that are being recognized on an international level and tarnishing Canada’s former reputation as a leader on sexual health and gender equality.

A serious commitment to an integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda certainly requires significant changes in federal leadership, funding and infrastructure, and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and its network of Associate Organizations would be pleased to support the government in actualizing these significant and urgently necessary reforms. Leadership of this type would require, first and foremost, a plan of action for sexual and reproductive health that will both review access barriers with a view to their removal, as well as facilitate sound, multi-tiered, integrated and informed responses to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada. These are urgent priorities and it is our belief that an integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights would not only result in a more effective approach to health care and significantly reduce burden on the health care system but would also be imperative in meeting your mandated aims while ensuring that the government actualize its existing goals of upstream prevention along with its larger goals of embodying a feminist government.

We are requesting a meeting with you to further discuss how a comprehensive and integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health, embodied through a plan of action articulated below, would help you meet your mandated aims.

We look forward to working with you to implement these and other reforms in Canada and welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Sandeep Prasad
Executive Director
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Also on behalf of the following Associate Organizations of Action Canada for Sexual Heath and Rights:

  • Alberta Society for the Promotion of Sexual Health
  • Calgary Sexual Health Centre
  • Cape Breton Centre for Sexual Health
  • Compass Centre for Sexual Wellness
  • Norwest Community Health Centres
  • Options for Sexual Health
  • Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health
  • Planned Parenthood Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health Centre
  • Planned Parenthood Ottawa
  • Planned Parenthood Regina
  • Planned Parenthood Toronto
  • SHORE Centre
  • Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon
  • Sexual Health Nova Scotia
  • Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba

 

CC: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and la Francophonie

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women

 

 

Essential elements for a Plan of Action on sexual and reproductive health and rights at the federal level

Why now?

Within the Minister of Health’s mandate letter, and echoed in the Speech to the Throne, are explicit commitments relating to improving partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, indicating a desire to move towards a more comprehensive and integrated approach to health. Similarly, Minister Philpott has been mandated to work with and support provincial and territorial governments to support them in making prescription drugs more affordable, including through bulk purchasing agreements for prescription medications. Listed among the Minister’s top mandated priorities is the development of a new, multi-year Health Accord, which would necessarily require a much more collaborative approach to federal leadership than we have seen in previous years. To us, these steps indicate a move towards a more comprehensive and integrated approach to health care and this approach must be extended to sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to fully meet these mandated priorities and create “real, positive change.” This comprehensive and integrated approach to health, which requires that multiple levels and parts of governments work more collaboratively, is crucial to fully realizing sexual and reproductive health in Canada in a meaningful way and addressing serious disparities that are now being noticed at an international level.

While current efforts towards a revised, integrated approach to STBBIs are an important first step, these efforts will ultimately prove inadequate if they do not form part of a larger, more comprehensive and integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health. In the context of federal leadership in sexual and reproductive health, the following actions are critical in actualizing an approach that fits within the federal role for health and is comprehensive, integrated and ultimately effective in meeting mandated priorities and securing better health outcomes for Canadians. Federal leadership of this type would require, first and foremost, a plan of action for sexual and reproductive health that will review access barriers with a view to their removal, as well as facilitate sound, multi-tiered, integrated and informed responses to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada.

Central to this plan of action are:

  • Shifting towards an integrated, feminist approach;
  • Regular review and revision of barriers to access to services;
  • Proactive federal leadership in working with provincial and territorial bodies of government;
  • Monitoring and accumulating statistics and indicators relating to sexual and reproductive health;
  • Infrastructural changes to permit a more integrated and collaborative approach;
  • The full realization of the Canada Health Act; and
  • Sound funding for multi-tiered initiatives.

 

  1. Shifting towards an integrated, feminist approach

We are pleased to hear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak of the importance of adopting feminist policies throughout the federal government. This and other explicit commitments made by Ministers Bibeau and Hajdu indicate that the federal government is increasingly moving towards a feminist approach to governance. In the context of health, a feminist approach to governance means taking seriously the role of sexual and reproductive health as a crucial component to overall health and ensuring that individuals have the education, resources and conditions necessary to practice positive approaches to sexuality and sexual relationships, free of discrimination, coercion and violence. A comprehensive and integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health is absolutely essential if Health Canada wishes to embody a feminist government. Tangibly, this would entail positioning issues of bodily autonomy, agency, empowerment, human rights and gender equality at the centre of all health related decision making, including expanding choices for women and marginalized groups and promoting and safeguarding their right to health.

A truly integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health would directly meet these mandated priorities and simultaneously contribute to the upstream prevention of STBBIs, including HIV and hepatitis C. Similarly, a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health would take seriously social determinants of health and the way that these social determinants simultaneously influence access to health care and are shaped by identity characteristics and systemic factors. Adopting such an approach to sexual and reproductive health would also help realize human rights obligations, including the right to health, which requires that services and information be accessible, acceptable, available and of quality. This approach would undoubtedly have positive social and economic benefits, both in terms of positively influencing individual and family well-being and in reducing long-term burdens on the health care system through informed and effective responses to ever-growing health concerns.

  1. Regular Review and Revision of Barriers to Access to Services

Federal leadership relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights would require a concerted response to identifying and alleviating legislative, regulatory and policy barriers that hinder access to integral medications, services and procedures. Such a regular review is integral to a human rights-based approach to these issues. While many such laws, regulations and policies forming barriers to access exist at provincial and territorial levels, a number do lie within federal jurisdiction.

For example, we know that access barriers with respect to abortion do not only relate to provincial and territorial restrictions, but that revisiting the Health Canada-imposed restrictions relating to Mifegymiso – the gold standard for medical abortion – needs to be an essential action taken in light of the growing number of stakeholders concerned that such restrictions will result in low uptake of this essential medicine and thereby further hinder access to abortion. Federal leadership towards alleviating barriers to this essential medicine would include removing the regulatory requirements for physician-only dispensing and extending the gestational limit of the medication to up to 70 days as is supported by evidence. Similarly, removing access barriers for Mifegymiso would require making a registry of prescribers publically accessible and removing the requirement for extensive training in order to prescribe this medication – a requirement that is currently in place only for controlled substances such as methadone.

As noted in the Minister’s statements regarding the decision to provide abortion services on-island in Prince Edward Island, the federal government is committed to examining ways to equalize access to abortion for Canadian women. Taking seriously the barriers to access to services that exist in Canada is an integral step to achieving this and it would require taking stock of legislative, regulatory and service barriers, and taking corrective action to remedy them. For those barriers that are within federal jurisdiction, reviewing and removing them would be a necessary component of a sexual and reproductive health plan of action. For those within provincial and territorial jurisdiction, necessary components of a sexual and reproductive health plan of action at the federal level would include surveillance of the impact of these barriers on health outcomes in Canada and regular dialogue with provincial and territorial ministries on these issues. Effectively responding to access barriers would also require actively seeking out important commodities relating to sexual health – for example, contraceptive implants and new HIV prevention technologies – and bringing them to Canadian markets and proactively approving their use, in addition to regularly reviewing processes by which products and medications are approved for use and brought to the Canadian market, with a view to streamlining these processes. Such regular law and policy reviews are necessary in the interest of greater access to sexual and reproductive health services, products and medicines.

  1. Proactive Federal Leadership in Working with Provincial and Territorial Bodies of Government

While the Government of Canada cannot dictate the agendas or funding of provincial health ministries, it has significant power in promoting best practices and working constructively with provinces and territories to meet such standards. Federal leadership of this type would entail significant and improved dialogue between federal and provincial and territorial bodies of government to articulate and enforce minimum best standards. Improved dialogue between federal and provincial governments is also imperative to effectively alleviate access barriers, particularly as various restrictions that impact access to services and health outcomes can fall under federal and provincial and territorial governments, not simply the latter.

A key area where leadership is needed is in standardizing and monitoring sexuality education. The federal government has already shown its commitment towards the language of comprehensive sexuality education, including voicing its support at both the High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS and in introducing and advancing the first ever United Nations Human Rights Council resolution articulating the importance of comprehensive sexuality education, without caveat or qualifier. Despite these steps forward taken internationally, comprehensive sexuality education at home remains marked by vast discrepancies and a lack of national guidelines outlining best practices and standards. To fully actualize these commitments to comprehensive sexuality education, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada must demonstrate leadership by revising the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education through a consultative and participatory approach that involves young people. The current approach to sexual health education is inadequate in meeting the needs and realities of young people and nationally, there must be a shift towards a model of comprehensive sexuality education in line with international best practices and human rights standards.  Comprehensive sexuality education, coupled with public education campaigns, is central to ensuring that individuals have the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and behavioural choices that work for them in their sexual and reproductive lives, and has been linked to better sexual health outcomes including lowered pregnancy and STBBI rates and increased contraceptive use and sexual health testing. Done properly, it is also a key intervention in creating environments of gender equality and healthy and consensual approaches to sexual relationships and therefore reduces rates of sexual and intimate partner violence.

  1. Monitoring and Accumulating Statistics and Indicators Relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health

The monitoring and accumulation of statistics and indicators relating to sexual and reproductive health is absolutely vital in informing sound policy and programming decisions and expenditures. This surveillance requires the creation and monitoring of new sexual health indicators that reflect an integrated and comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights. A key component of this data accumulation includes periodically reviewing statistics and indicators to ensure adaptability to the ever-changing environment and that strategies are created to respond to issues revealed by such data. For instance, data indicating major access issues to abortion must be met with federal leadership in working with provinces and territories to take corrective action.

Existing data collection for sexual and reproductive health is currently limited to compiling data such as STBBI and pregnancy rates but data of this type rarely provides an accurate picture of sexual and reproductive health and how it is influenced by social determinants of health. Previous work done by the Public Health Agency of Canada that saw the creation and pilot-testing of new Canadian sexual health indicators https://your-pharmacies.com was not federally supported in a significant way by previous governments. As such, the current federal government must revisit this project and support its continued progress. These indicators would similarly need to be responsive to the ever-changing environment of sexual and reproductive health, and therefore be evaluated and updated on a continual basis.

  1. Infrastructural Changes to Permit a More Integrated and Collaborative Approach

The government would need to reflect this integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health through changes in infrastructure that permit a more integrated and collaborative approach to sexual and reproductive health. Meeting existing best practices requires that the federal government move away from single-issue health programming towards a structure that more comprehensively acknowledges the complexity and integrated nature of health issues and by necessity, the responses to these health issues. These infrastructural changes would require the creation of avenues to allow different areas of government to work collaboratively, such as, for example, realigning the mandate of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch within the Public Health Agency of Canada to enable collaboration with other sections of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada as well as other federal departments and PT governments. It would be crucial to ensure appropriate integration of the new branch in the work of other units and branches to avoid the silo-ing of these issues. This infrastructural realignment would ensure that proactive and effective approaches to sexual and reproductive health can be pursued, and is necessary in order to implement a comprehensive plan of action relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

  1. The Full Realization of the Canada Health Act

An integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health would also require – and conversely, enable – the full realization of the Canada Health Act and its principles of universality, comprehensiveness and accessibility. In order to meet the Minister’s mandated priority of a new, multi-year Health Accord, this includes ensuring that provinces and territories guarantee access to all medically necessary services, including abortion and other sexual and reproductive health services, and meet the principle of universality including barrier-free access to health care across the country. As noted most recently in Minister Philpott’s discussion of abortion services, vast discrepancies still exist in access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services and the Minister has expressed commitment to equalizing this unequal terrain of access.

A truly integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health would therefore require that services, including abortion, be comprehensive, accessible and free of barriers. Barrier-free, comprehensive and accessible care would ultimately require federal leadership in holding provinces accountable for meeting the Canada Health Act’s accessibility and universality criteria through the provision of accessible services in a sufficient number of locations to ensure individuals do not have to accumulate extensive travel and accommodation fees to access care. Federal leadership may include withholding cash contributions when provincial and territorial governments fail to ensure the availability and accessibility of these key services, as well as ensuring cost coverage of sexual and reproductive health medicines and commodities to ensure the elimination of cost barriers. Similarly, the federal government must ensure that Mifegymiso is widely accessible and rolled-out with the appropriate regulations to ensure that it is able to alleviate the existing lack of availability of services in many rural and remote areas.

  1. Sound Funding for Multi-Tiered Initiatives

Key to actualizing all of these components of federal leadership is sound funding for multi-tiered initiatives, which will be informed by the revised indicators and data accumulated through updated surveillance methods. Multi-tiered initiatives could include establishing a national protocol for those individuals who must travel to the United States for later-term abortion services and the negotiation and implementation of appropriate monitoring and evidence and rights-based education and campaigns that comprehensively address sexual and reproductive health and rights in school and among key individuals within the public. Sound investments are required to create more equitable access to reproductive health care and complex funding solutions must therefore be negotiated as part of the new Health Accord. This would permit the most efficient use of existing resources, including sound provincial transfers for provinces and territories to ensure the availability of medically necessary medications and procedures relating to sexual and reproductive health, thereby meeting commitments under the Accord and the Canada Health Act.

CEDAW: 2016 Submission for Canada’s Review

This report is submitted by a coalition of organizations working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for Canada’s review during the 65th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, taking place October 25th 2016. The report examines violations of articles 10 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women with respect to comprehensive sexuality education, access to a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health information and services (including safe abortion services), the denial of sexual and reproductive health care on moral or religious grounds, the health and safety of sex workers and the criminalization of the non-disclosure of HIV. The List of Issues prepared by the Committee in March 2016 requests that Canada provide information on a number of issues outlined in this report. Specifically, the Committee requested that Canada provide information on:

  • the provision of age-appropriate sexual and reproductive education in all schools,
  • access to a comprehensive and integrated package of quality sexual and reproductive health information and services across all provinces and territories, consistent with international human rights standards,
  • measures taken to ensure that the exercise of conscientious objection by health professionals does not impede effective access for women to reproductive health-care services, including access to legal abortion and postabortion services,
  • number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions and the type of sanctions imposed for trafficking and exploitation of prostitution, and
  • measures planned to ensure full and unhindered access to health care for women affected by sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

Click here to read the report