by Ed Bennett

For the last two months the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network in partnership with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the Attendance for Hepatitis C Care Project at the BC Centre of Disease Control, along with the National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Campaign Steering Committee have been busy planning and preparing to launch the 3rd annual National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Campaign Month. The events for the month-long campaign will be held in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Regina and Vancouver.

It is estimated that approximately 252,000 Canadians were living with Hepatitis C (HCV) or about 1% of the population, and as many as 44% are unaware of their Hepatitis C status. Within those statistics, Aboriginal people are disproportionately affected by the Hepatitis C virus and bear a higher burden of almost five times that of other ethnicities. A pilot survey of Aboriginal people in Regina, Saskatchewan, conducted from 2011-2012 found that 42% of participants had evidence of exposure to HCV.

“A number of factors place Aboriginal people at greater risk that are different from other Canadians and therefore Hepatitis C prevention, education and health promotion should be different as well. We encourage Aboriginal people to get tested and go on treatment, said Ken Clement, CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network”.

It is in this spirit that the 3rd annual Hepatitis C national campaign will host events across the country to ensure the rights of Aboriginal People (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) have access to and benefit from Hepatitis C prevention, education and awareness, as well as related care, treatment and support to maintain a quality of life in a culturally appropriate manner.

Here is the most up to date information as of May 10th, 2016 for the Hepatitis C Events happening across the country:

Hosted by CAAN and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

  • Location: Aboriginal Room, House of Commons, Parliament Building, Ottawa
  • Date:  May 12th, 2016
  • Time: 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Theme: Women, Children, Families and Hepatitis C
  • Event Activities:
  • Speakers
  • Food and refreshments
  • Dancers and singers

Hosted by: CAAN, 2 Spirits, Oahas, PASAN, EGALE

  • Location:  The 519 Church Street Community Centre
  • Date:  May 18th, 2016
  • Time:  12:00 pm – Lunch 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm event
  • Theme:  Getting To Zero – Encouraging People to Go On Treatment
  • Event Activities:
  • 4 Member Panel (One panelist to speak about encouraging people to go on treatment; One panelist to speak about competing treatment and cured; One panellist to speak about currently being on treatment; and one panellist to speak about Prisoners and Hepatitis C
  • Sharing Circle (Participants to share stories, experiences, provide feedback and/or ask questions based on panel presentations
  • Hepatitis C Information Booths
  • Event Facebook page
  • Food, prizes

Hosted by Healing Our Nations

  • Location to be confirmed:  (Friendship Centre or the Community Y)
  • May 19th, 2016
  • Time:  9:00 am Pancake Breakfast
  • Theme to be confirmed
  • Event Activities:
  • Panel presentation involving a nurse, RCMP, lived experience and Main Line Needle Exchange
  • Hepatitis Society presentation
  • Doctor to talk about treatment
  • Pie In The Face event
  • SWAG prizes

Hosted by All Nations Hope Network

  • Location:  2735 5th Ave, Regina, SK
  • Date:  May 19th, 2016
  • Time:  9.00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
  • Theme:  National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Day – what do we really know?
  • Event Activities: Feed people breakfast, during meal facilitator will hand out a Hepatitis C quiz, upon completion we will have a question/answer period, for those who offer to answer prizes will be will be rewarded.   This will create an open discussion; while providing factual information.  The facilitator will be from the community and have personal experience regarding Hepatitis C.  This will take place in a safe environment.  Resources will be on display throughout the day.  Information will be shared regarding Hep C to dispel myths, share what is Hepatitis C, transmission, rates, how to live healthy with HCV and treatment.

Hosted by CAAN and Chee Mamuk, BC Centre for Disease Control

  • Location:  Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Chief Simon Baker Room, 1607 East Hastings
  • Date:  May 25th, 2016
  • Time:  11:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Theme:  Women, Children and Families:  Going On Treatment
  • Event Activities
  • Traditional opening and prayer
  • Local dancers
  • Speakers:  People with lived experiences
  • Vancouver Native Health nurses to provide sero-marker tests and tests to determine fibrosis status and Hepatitis C testing

For more information on these events visit: or

CAAN is currently under construction. Please check back soon for updates.