HIRING: Training Facilitator

Reporting to the Managed Alcohol Program Coordinator, the Training Facilitator is responsible for the delivery of the MAP Development Toolkit and Resources to community partners so they are able to implement their own Managed Alcohol Program. This position focuses heavily on collaboration with community partners and the Health Authority to reach people in Newfoundland and Labrador who would benefit from a MAP.

Hours of Work: Monday – Friday (9-5), some evenings and weekends as required, 35 hours per week
Salary: $55,000 / annum
Duration: Full-time, contract position for the duration of the current funding cycle, expiring end of March 2024. The potential for extension is dependent on renewed and/or new funding.

The person employed in this position must be eligible to work in Canada and upon being offered the position must submit a certificate of conduct (police records check) – please note the certificate of conduct does not have to be clear and any existing records will be discussed confidentially.

Closing Date:  June 12, 2023, 4:30 PM Newfoundland Time.
Please email a cover letter and resume to: hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca 
*Applications without a cover letter of some kind will not be considered

HIRING: Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Worker

The Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Worker (Feminist MEL Worker) s responsible for supporting teams to develop short, medium, and long term results based visions for their work and to work with them to develop the tools they need to monitor those visions. Working from a feminist, trauma informed, and harm reduction approach, these work will be collaborative, with overall guidance from the Feminist MEL Worker. This position reports directly to the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP)Coordinator, with significant support from the Executive Director and receiving mentorship and support from the MAP Care Plan Facilitator and MAP Training Worker.

Closing Date: 18 April 2023 – 4pm Newfoundland Time.

Please email a cover letter and resume to: hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca 

*Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Being the Harm Reduction Coordinator at the St. John’s Status of Women Council

Reflections from the outgoing leader of our Managed Alcohol Program team, Becky Fleming

It has been no small task to develop, launch, and lead the province’s first managed alcohol program (MAP), but Becky Fleming never flinched in leading her team in this vital harm reduction work. The next leader of this team will benefit from the amazing tools and systems that Becky has built for the program, but will also take over on the important work that has been done to bring the St. John’s Status of Women Council closer to ensuring that all of our programs are based on the harm reduction approach.

Becky will be making a move within the organization, joining our counselling team, but before she makes the shift we wanted to check in with her to find out what it means to be the Managed Alcohol Program Coordinator!

If you had to describe your job in just 3 words, what would they be? 
Inventive, empowering, diverse 

What is the hardest part of your job?
Struggling with different ideas of harm reduction and what that support looks like. With MAP, we have the privilege of thinking deeply about harm reduction, taking a radical approach, and expecting nothing less. However, we find in our work every day that people hold different definitions of this lens depending on their own values, biases, and experiences, and what they think people should be. Finding common ground is tough and constant- but it’s so rewarding when you find that place with people where you understand each other in support of people who use substances.

What is the part of your job that you like the most?
MAP’s participants are incredible people. Their drive, independence, and remarkable ability to take charge of their lives are what gets me to work every day. I love any chance I can get to chit-chat about their weekend, hear about their successes from Outreach staff, listen to them when things are tough, and just remember that they are why we are all here- the service is for them.

It’s also really cool to work in a place that shares my values and to work alongside such a supportive group of other coordinators, coworkers, and people on my team. It’s fascinating how this sort of environment fosters personal growth, reflexivity, and community care. The coolest thing about working with them is a rare opportunity unique to this program. With MAP, you are lucky to be able to listen to people, hear what they need, and to the best of your ability, give them just that. There are so many limitations in other community work with marginalized individuals, and so many systems that create barriers to making this happen. It’s special, and it’s effective.

What type of personality do you think the new Harm Reduction Coordinator should have? 
Honestly, someone with a lot of fire and energy who can stay positive and productive while facing systems failure on the daily. This is the reality for so many community leadership roles, but especially in MAP where harm reduction remains a misunderstood concept for so many. These parts of my own character served me so well in my time as Harm Reduction Coordinator, and I think were essential for progress and innovation.

This job balances a lot of competing priorities- most importantly, a lot of relationships and partnerships. It needs someone who can see issues from different sides, acknowledge these, and still bring people into the harm reduction fold. This work is critical and has the potential to do some real change-making in our province. It’s an undeniably worthwhile effort.

I can’t wait to see the passion the next coordinator will bring to their role.

What types of career development or learning opportunities were important for you in this position?
Most importantly, in this role, I’ve had the absolute honour to learn from so many people with lived expertise in our community and across Canada. I’ve learned so much about what people want from health and community services, and how they feel these often leave them out, or fail to meet their needs. I’ve also been privileged to hear from people who have felt non-judgmental services have impacted their lives in positive ways. Seeking this knowledge, and listening to people that hold it, never gets old for me.

Secondly, this role has a surprising amount of fund development, finance, and reporting work. this was all so new to me coming into the job, and the mentorship I’ve had from others in these areas has been invaluable. This is a fulsome program, with its own funders, its own group of incredible staff to supervise, its own partners, evaluation, and monitoring, and more. Consider yourself a “miniature ED,” but with a wonderful group of other coordinators and an actual ED to support you through! It might sound kinda boring, but the administrative and leadership skills I’ve had access to here will always be invaluable to me, wherever I end up in my career.

What is the next big thing for the Managed Alcohol Program here at the SJSWC?
Expansion!! We have laid all of the important groundwork in the pilot phase for how MAP can function well. Now it’s up to not only our own organization, but those serving different regions and populations all over NL, to decide what we do collectively with this knowledge. How do we make MAP an accepted and readily available resource across our province? Who can we support to pick up this work alongside us and run with it? How can we make this happen sustainably under precarious funding across the sector? This will be the exciting new work of the incoming coordinator.

I can’t wait to see MAP grow and solidify, even from a backseat.

The mission of the SJSWC is to work to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women and non-binary people in the St. John’s area. Can you tell me about a time when you felt that mission in your work? 
Every. Single. Day. This organization lives through these values. Sometimes they feel tough, leaving us some room for good ol’ transformative feminist conflict, bringing growth and strength to our collective. Sometimes, the beautiful culture we’ve set up for each other makes this mission feel easy.

I feel these values the most when we show up together for women and nonbinary people and do the absolute best we can. We organize, we lift up, and we empower. 

Is there anything else that you would like to share?
To anyone that is interested in the position, even if it feels like a leap, I want to convey that anyone can get involved in this work if they prioritize the dignity of all people and their right to self-determination. It’s not astrophysics, it’s a passionate exercise in empathy. If these values feel good to you, I encourage you to jump in. You will be so lucky to be this close to transformational work.

It was a very hard decision to step away, but I’m so proud of everything our team and participants have built and worked for. Congratulations to the next harm reductionist that has the good fortune of steering MAP with the SJSWC.

The St. John’s Status of Women Council wants to thank Becky for her leadership, her consistent smile in the hallways, her critical thinking, and her readiness to challenge, to laugh, and to listen. Her commitment to harm reduction make us all better community workers and people everyday.

Province’s first and only Managed Alcohol Program closing due to unconfirmed funding

ST. JOHN’S, March 1, 2023 – The St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) is winding down its Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) after 2 successful years of operations. The program was supported by the federal government through the pilot period, with the intention to hand it over to the provincial government to fund long-term. Unfortunately, without confirmed operational funding from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, MAP has one month before the federal contract runs out. 

At this critical stage, MAP is working to support program participants  to manage harms without the long-term stability of this essential program. 

MAP IS CENTRAL TO HEALTH AND COMMUNITY HARM REDUCTION

The SJSWC’s MAP, a program which was recently awarded the Council of the Federation of Premier’s award for Innovation in Mental Health and Addictions Care, is  the only non-abstinence based treatment option for people who drink in the province.  MAP staff have been working to expand MAP services beyond the community served by the SJSWC, encouraging and training other agencies and regions to implement their own program towards provincial expansion. Unfortunately, without funding, this expansion is not possible.  

The pilot period has been a time of growth, seeing the completion of local and national research, ongoing participation evaluation, learning from people with lived and living experience of substance use, the development of a peer support program, and more. 

The value of  managed alcohol programs is illustrated by being noted as a key strategy in the Newfoundland and Labrador Alcohol Action Plan.  Unfortunately, without operational funding for managed alcohol programs, it remains unlikely that the province will reach its predetermined health and harm reduction goals as outlined in the plan. 

This program, by design, is a partnership between healthcare and community. However, the precarity of community funding structures is incompatible with uninterrupted delivery of treatment services such as MAP. Healthcare providers can continue to prescribe safe alcohol to those most impacted by its harms, but as of March 31st there will be no one in this province to provide it. 

ADVERSE IMPACTS OF PROGRAM CLOSURE

To be responsible with and accountable to participants, the program has begun wrapping up services with people who rely on the program for their daily prescribed supply of alcohol, one to one support with staff, and social supports that come along with participation in the program. 

The end of the program means that the stability and progress that these individuals have worked towards during their time in the program will be disrupted. For such individuals who previously consumed non-beverage alcohol products, regularly stole their supply, or traded for alcohol in unsafe situations, this will mean a lack of safe choices for them to avoid withdrawal. The focus of an alcohol program that is managed is to offer safe alcohol consistently to increase stability- even a one-day service interruption can have serious physical and mental consequences to participant’s wellbeing. 

The Coordinator of the Managed Alcohol Program, Becky Fleming, notes the key risks as the program closes: “Allowing this program to lapse or end is doing a great disservice to those most marginalized in our communities. Creating conditions of inconsistency in harm reduction supports disrupts the continuum of essential services, exacerbates serious health risks, and increases unnecessary vulnerability for people that rely on these services.” 

With MAP facing closure, the experience and knowledge needed to continue this work in the province would be lost. The program continues to await the results of a funding proposal that has been submitted to the province. 

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NOTES TO EDITORS

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:

Lisa Faye
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
lisa@sjwomenscentre.ca
709 753 0220

Becky Fleming
Harm Reduction Coordinator
St. John’s Status of Women Council
becky@sjwomenscentre.ca
709 753 0220

Managed Alcohol Program releases their two- part jurisdictional review on other MAP’s in Canada

MAP’s Harm Reduction Researcher, Mary Walsh, has produced 2 documents that have proven invaluable to the program’s development. MAP hopes that this information could be helpful to others who are interested in harm reduction in general, or implementing managed alcohol as part of their own service offerings. 

The first report focuses on “scattered-site” (ie. outreach-based) model MAPs across the country, as well as learnings from local community members with lived expertise of substance use and harm reduction. The second report hones in on residential-based MAPs, examining the supportive housing model of safe alcohol dispensing. 

Contact:

Mary Walsh, Harm Reduction Researcher with MAP

mary@sjwomenscentre.ca