By Ed Bennett & Monique Fong

We are aware that harm to Aboriginal individuals, families and communities resulting from substance use is immense – reaching across and through generations. There are many ways harm from drug use is experienced, including the break-down of relationships, violence, loss of financial security, illness and disease and death. Moreover, there is a significant and rapid rise of Hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) through injection drug use in Canadian Aboriginal communities. Most view this as a health crisis, while some even view it as an epidemic.

Our communities need the capacity to respond to these issues in meaningful, culturally relevant and community-specific ways. Most Aboriginal Peoples can agree that it is practical to work towards reducing the harms associated with substance use for individuals, families and communities. Accordingly, CAAN has developed the Assessing Community Readiness in Aboriginal Communities National Train-The-Trainer Session to assess the stages of readiness in agencies/communities for undertaking valuable harm reduction initiatives and policies within their own capacities.

CAAN utilizes the following resources to carry out the CAAN’s Assessing Community Readiness and Implementing Culturally Appropriate Interventions within Aboriginal Communities project: 1) Train the Trainers Facilitator Guide; 2) Harm Reduction Implementation Guide; and 3) the Community Readiness Model’ developed by the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research,

The aim of this training is to build capacity among the on and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations and communities; to conduct community readiness assessments and community readiness assessment training related to assessing the stages of readiness for implementing culturally-appropriate harm reduction interventions. This project highlights the need to support Hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood Borne Infections (STIBBIs) prevention efforts.

CAAN is continuing the work of organizing national train-the-trainer sessions throughout the year. Monique Fong, CAAN’s Community Readiness Coordinator, and Ed Bennett, Community Readiness Project Supervisor, will be providing the training with the hope that front-line Aboriginal organizations, provincial/territorial agencies, and/or First Nation communities will participate in this Train-the-Trainer session. Our goal for the participants is to garner capacity and acquire resources to assess community readiness so that implementing culturally relevant interventions in support of Hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS and STI prevention may be put in place.

For more information on the Assessing Community Readiness Training sessions please contact Monique Fong at or Ed Bennett at

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