Government of Canada Announces New Community Consultations on the Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure

July 27, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Government of Canada is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring that our criminal justice system keeps communities safe, supports victims, and holds offenders to account, while respecting Charter rights.

As part of the pre-conference activities of the International AIDS Conference 2022, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, met with stakeholders and today announced upcoming consultations on the criminal justice response to HIV non-disclosure.

The consultations will launch in October 2022 and will seek input from stakeholders and the public on how to best modernize the criminal justice system’s response to non-disclosure of HIV status in light of scientific evidence related to the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.

Stakeholders, persons with lived experience and members of the public will be invited to share their thoughts on best approaches to reduce the stigma of people living with HIV and AIDS, ensure they are treated fairly and respectfully, and that everyone can rely on the criminal justice system to protect them.

HIV is a public health matter and non-disclosure of HIV status is a complex issue. Currently, persons living with HIV who do not disclose their status can be charged with different offences, including aggravated sexual assault which is the most serious sexual assault offence in the Criminal Code. This is because in certain circumstances, the non-disclosure of one’s HIV status can invalidate another person’s consent to engage in sexual activity. However, criminalization can lead to the stigmatization of people living with HIV and AIDS, which can often discourage individuals from being tested or seeking treatment. Furthermore, there has been considerable progress in terms of HIV treatment and scientific evidence on rates of transmissibility. For these reasons, holding consultations is key to creating a path forward that protects victims while reducing the stigma of those living with HIV and AIDS.

More information about the consultations will be made available in the coming weeks.

Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 205 - 1120 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3M9
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