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December 13, 2012

2012 Honour Roll Recipient, David Feeney

David Feeney has given seven excellent years of service to RHAC. During that time, he exhibited integrity in his approach to the work, showed true leadership with the Board and demonstrated a genuine commitment to RHAC’s mission. He also demonstrated caring, concern and unwavering dedication.

In David’s words, “For many years I avoided becoming involved in the AIDS movement because I didn’t want
to reflect upon the terrible illness that had robbed me of friends. Eventually, I internalized the old adage “you are either part of the problem or part of the solution,” and joined the board with the goal of trying to make a difference.”

David Feeney definitely became part of the solution. He carried forward the history, the struggle and the courage and, in fact, made a difference.

Thank you, David.

December 3, 2012

The following message from RHAC Executive Director, Brian Lester, appeared in The London Free Press on Saturday, December 1, 2012 - World AIDS Day.

HIV/AIDS –Which Story to Tell?

December 1st is World AIDS Day and I have been debating which HIV/AIDS story to tell. Shall I share the good news UNAIDS report of a 50 percent reduction in infections across 25 countries? Should I note the promising phase one results of the first and only preventative HIV vaccine developed by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang and his team at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry? Should I mark this moment with the fact that with early access to treatment people living with HIV can anticipate a life span similar to their HIV negative brothers and sisters? 

Such developments in the fight against HIV/AIDS indicate strong signs that we are on a promising trajectory toward a cure. Each of these good news developments will help move the world toward the UNAIDS goal of zero new infections and zero deaths. But what about their goal of zero stigma!  In the context of “getting to zero stigma” the other HIV/AIDS story must be told. It’s a story that reveals stigma’s profound negative impact on those living with this virus. HIV stigma could be the single most powerful deterrent to reaching the 2015 UNAIDS goals.

A 2102 report funded by CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention entitled “HIV and AIDS in Canada: A National Survey Summary Report” indicated the following facts;

• 16% of Canadians “feel afraid” of people living with HIV
• 18% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable working in an office with someone living with the illness
• 23% expressed discomfort shopping at a small neighborhood grocery store owned by someone living with HIV/AIDS
• 35% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable if their child was attending a school where one of the students was known to be living with HIV
• 54% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with a close friend or family member dating someone with HIV

Such statistics are a clear indicator that after 30 plus years many people in Canada continue to hold irrational fears on the subject. These fears drive stigma and challenge HIV/AIDS work on many levels. Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”.  There should be no disgrace in living with HIV yet in 2012 stigma continues to deter people from accessing care, treatment, testing and support. Because of this fact the consequences of HIV stigma can be deadly.

This leads me to reflect on the recent passing of an individual who found his way to our services this past year.  “James” was a 39 year-old man, who over the past 10 years, could not seem to find his way through HIV stigma to seek out life saving treatment. He couldn’t make the call for help. He couldn’t acknowledge his status to others for fear of losing his family, friends and employment. He couldn’t disclose because of the paralyzing fear caused by HIV stigma! When he became sick he finally contacted us - but it was too late. His HIV/AIDS related illnesses had advanced to a stage where treatment was not viable. He passed away in a few short months.

The passing of James and others like him offers a stark reminder that even with such hope on the horizon, HIV/AIDS continues to be a serious illness with life altering and even life ending impacts. If only there was medication or a vaccine to treat or cure HIV/AIDS stigma? On World AIDS Day and every day Regional HIV/AIDS Connection continues to stand in solidarity with those living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS. The hopeful story of a cure is on the horizon but until then the story of HIV stigma needs to change.

November 29, 2012

RHAC has secured its own tree to be lit completely red throughout the month of December in Victoria Park, London. The tree will be accompanied by a sign that identifies it as the Remember, Honour, Celebrate tree sponsored by Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.

Please join us for its lighting this Friday evening, November 30. The official program for the evening run by the city starts at 6:15 p.m. with the lights coming on at 6:50 p.m. We will have a contingent of staff and volunteers there to watch the lights come on!

The tree is in the northwest "corner" of the park, closer to Williams Coffee House.

November 19, 2012

The Ontario AIDS Network Honour Roll Awards were created in 1996. They are conferred annually at a gala award ceremony. Over the past 12 years they have become Ontario's most respected awards for HIV/AIDS work within the province.

The evening of Saturday, November 17, a contingent of RHAC staff travelled to Toronto to support Rob Newman as he received the Persons with HIV/AIDS Leadership award.

Congratulations, Rob! We are proud of you.

November 12, 2012

AIDS Awareness Week runs from Monday, November 26-Saturday, December 1.

We have many events scheduled throughout the week. Visit our AIDS Awareness Week page on this site.

October 24, 2012

RHAC has a rich history of developing strong long term partnerships as we strive to effectively address HIV/AIDS/HCV in the communities we serve.  From a social determinants of health perspective the challenges associated with HIV/AIDS/HCV intersect in many ways often contributing to a decreased quality of life and diminished health outcomes for those we serve.  We at RHAC recognize that we can’t address these issues in isolation and that strategic partnership development is key to achieving success in our work.  The notion of collaboration and partnership is embedded in our guiding principles;

We believe “In actively pursuing partnerships and collaborative initiatives that enhance both access to resources and the quality of services and supports available to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS/HCV.”

Over the years we have developed partnerships which are built on a foundation of common purpose, shared values and desire to affect change in the lives of the individuals we serve.  Maintaining effective partnerships is not always easy, yet I would offer that at the core of any successful partnership is the element of trust. Trust between organizational leadership and trust among the staff working at the front line will solidify partnerships and inspire goodwill to work through issues.  Trust is earned over time through clarity in communication, actions of consistency and demonstrated integrity while maintaining a lens that ensures the shared people we serve are at the centre of our collaborative intent.   In 2012 we have a number of long term and new successful partnerships which serve to enhance RHACs capacity to provide meaningful programs to some of our community’s most marginalized.  Our many awesome partners are proudly listed on this website  at

To the many partners of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection I offer a sincere thank you. It is your interest in, and willingness to work with us that enhances our capacity to meet our mission.  Know that we appreciate your contributions and we are committed to doing all that we can to create triple a win outcome for the people we serve, RHAC and each of our highly valued partners.

Thanks for your continued support!

Brian Lester
Executive Director

September 18, 2012

Our 3rd annual Are You Doin' It? campaign is almost upon us!

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) in partnership with London Intercommunity Health Centre’s Options Clinic and the Middlesex-London Health Unit is holding Testing Awareness Week, September 24–28, 2012. The campaign is also in conjunction with Health Units from Perth, Huron, Elgin, Lambton and Oxford counties.

This public awareness campaign encourages people to learn about HIV and STI transmission, risk and testing.

Visit to find out where to get tested, important facts about getting tested, videos and much more!

Download the AYDI? poster to print and use at your convenience.

September 12, 2012

Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life London happened the evening of Saturday, September 15 at Wonderland/Springbank Gardens.

The weather was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time walking in the evening as the sun started to go down. See the photo above of walkers holding red paper lanterns - a very nice touch!

To date we have raised approximately $35,000!

Until the end of October you can still make a pledge online and help us reach our overall goal of $40,000 to support free programs and services offered by Camp Wendake, John Gordon Home and Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. To make a pledge visit


September 10, 2012

RHAC Board of Directors for 2012-13

Thursday, September 6 was RHAC's Annual General Meeting at which a new Board of Directors was acclaimed.

Meet the 2012-13 RHAC Board:

  • Tamara Landry, President
  • Mana Khami, Vice President
  • Stephen Barr
  • Eugene Dufour
  • Lynn Humfress-Trute
  • Nancy Griffiths
  • Adam Guzman
  • Tendayi Gwaradzimba
  • Laurie Patterson
  • Matthew Reid
  • Bryna Warshawsky

Welcome to you all!

    August 27, 2012

    Employment Opportunity

    Request for Proposal


    Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) is currently seeking an independent consultant to act as the Program Administrator for the Ontario Organizational Development Program (OODP).


    Initiated in 1995 as a government response to increasing requests from community-based HIV/AIDS organizations and programs, the Ontario Organizational Development Program (OODP) was created to provide long-term organizational development (OD) resources and a provincial program to achieve the following:

    • To strengthen the capacity of HIV/AIDS organizations and programs in Ontario to determine their direction with awareness.
    • To foster a culture within HIV/AIDS organizations and programs in Ontario to take responsibility for their own organizational development.
    • To facilitate a structure and provide resources which strengthen the capacity of local community-based HIV/AIDS organizations/programs to manage issues of organizational development.
    • To provide practical opportunities for key leaders of the HIV/AIDS community and/or the not-for-profit sector to share and enhance their skills and experience for the ongoing development and stability of the community-based HIV/AIDS organizations and programs in Ontario.

    The OODP is a sponsored Program of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) in London, Ontario.  The OODP funding is administered by RHAC and governed through funding agreements between RHAC and funders. As such, OODP and the PA is bound by these agreements.

    OODP Services
    • Analysis and needs assessment related to organizational issues and development
    • On-site consultation to address the unique organizational development needs of the organization
    • Resource provision
    o Program Administrator*
    o OODP Consultants
    o Assessment of the agency identified organizational development challenges
    o Pre-consultation and agenda design
    o On-site consultation and follow-up
    o Ongoing resource connections and support
    • Providing referrals to other provincial programs and resources (e.g., Ontario Provincial Resource for ASO’s in Human Resources (OPRAH), Ontario AIDS Network Skills Building and PHA Leadership Programs (OAN), AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario (ABRPO), etc.)

    *The role of the Program Administrator is to assign OODP Consultants for the on-site consultations, not to provide on-site consultations.

    Examples of Planning Consultations:
    • Designing a process that results in the development of annual work plans for the Board
    • Providing information regarding the preparation/monitoring of the agency budget to the Executive Director (ED) and Board members
    • Designing a process that examines service delivery planning reflective of the changing face of the epidemic

    Examples of Governance Consultations:
    • Developing a process that will leave the Board members and the ED competent in their respective roles and responsibilities
    • Providing ED and Board Chair coaching
    • Facilitating discussions that will lead to a Board development and recruitment plan

    Examples of Group Process Consultations:
    • Facilitating discussions relating to transitional and change management
    • Facilitating discussions relating to boundaries
    • Facilitating complex and difficult discussions (e.g., staff conflict, communication lines with the Board and ED, etc.)


    The role of the OODP Program Administrator (PA) is to manage the day-to-day operations of the OODP Program and to prioritize the use of program resources to achieve the OODP Mission, strategic directions and program goals.  To accomplish this, the PA must ensure the effective operations of the program and that sufficient resources are available and have been aligned with strategic directions as needed.  The role of the PA essentially oversees the entire work of the

    The successful consultant will be responsible to:

    Program Management
    • Manage the program in accordance with the OODP Implementation Plan 2011-2016
    • Receive and assess the requirements of each consult request and match the appropriate consultant based on available experience, skills and budget ensuring equitable access to the OODP
    • Program administration and reporting including record keeping, financial management, filing, tracking and monitoring of all consult requests
    • General website maintenance and oversight regarding website content and tools
    • Prepare and submit funding proposals and required reports ensuring contractual agreements with federal and provincial funders are met (includes financial and activity reporting)Work closely with the RHAC Director of Finance and Administration (who prepares all financial statements) to plan and develop the annual program budget and review all required financial reports (including monthly financial statements)
    • Receive, review and process all consultant invoices, travel and other program-related expenses 
    • Monitor, track and report PA hours of work and submit on a monthly basis to the Director of Finance and Operations at RHAC
    • Stay attuned to the trends in HIV/AIDS and to patterns of OD among AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and in the HIV/AIDS community by noticing OD trends, commonalities, challenges and gaps
    • Respond to all requests for service within two (2) business days and make semi-annual calls to ASOs to check in on OD needs and trends

    Partnership Engagement and Program Promotion
    • Maintain communications with consultants, funders and external partners
    • Promote external partnerships by attending meetings such as COHR (Coordinated Ontario HIV Resources),  annual Ontario Community HIV/AIDS Reporting Tool (OCHART) KTE Day, and other meetings as invited or deemed relevant
    • Ensure effective communication with funders, consultants, ASOs and partners in community-based HIV work and beyond
    • Maintain current and open connections with AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario (ABRPO), OAN Skills/PHA Leadership and Ontario Provincial Resource for ASOs in Human Resources  (OPRAH ) and other relevant OD resources
    • Compile and send a twice yearly e-letter update on OODP to ASOs and partners

    Program Evaluation and Monitoring
    • Monitor and report on the indicators in the OODP Strategic Plan
    • Manage the program evaluation process consistent with the OODP’s guidelines, including evaluating the delivery of all on-site consults and workshops
    • Conduct a post consult survey using appropriate methods and tools and compile results

    Consultant Management
    • Recruit and manage the consultant base and ensure sufficient program resources
    • Ensure effective and responsive recruitment policies, practices and procedures are in place to maintain a consultant pool that continues to be relevant to community needs
    • Develop and maintain consultant service agreements and review and update annually
    • Work with Consultants to complete annual reviews consistent with OODP guidelines, and conduct regular check-ins with consultants
    • Document and address any performance issues related to OODP Consultants and determine suitability for further work assignments through the Program
    • Plan and support up to 4 meetings per year with consultants and funders to exchange information and identify issues

    The successful consultant will be required to identify a person to act as the Back-Up Program Administrator from amongst the OODP Consultant pool during any period of absence, including vacation. 


    1. Post-secondary education with a focus on OD and/or non-profit Administration or equivalent experience in a relevant field.
    2. Minimum 2 years’ experience as an Executive Director or Senior Manager in an ASO or HIV/AIDS focused organization or equivalent experience in a related field.
    3. Demonstrated ability to foster and maintain open communication and respectful relationships with HIV/AIDS sector organization staff, boards and communities.
    4. Experienced in financial management, accountability and budget preparation and HR administration.
    5. Experienced in managing projects and contracts with consultants or other external experts/professionals. 
    6. Demonstrated commitment to inclusive policies, principles and practices including Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression and Greater Involvement of People with AIDS (GIPA) and the Meaningful Involvement of People with AIDS (MIPA).
    7. Thorough knowledge and understanding of the HIV/AIDS sector, government programs and current legislation that may affect organizations.
    8. Demonstrated ability to work under pressure, to anticipate potential problems/conflicts, and take appropriate actions to resolve issues/situations and meet deadlines.
    9. Excellent interpersonal, presentation, communication and negotiation skills.
    10. Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with consultants on contract and with community partners and funders.
    11. Proficiency in use of computers and various computer software applications.
    12. Experience in partnership development, report writing, project planning and evaluation and administration of program budgets.
    13. Proficiency in French is considered an asset.


    The PA will report directly to the RHAC Executive Director.  Reporting requirements will be outlined in the contract and established between the successful PA and the ED.  The PA is responsible to ensure that all program operations are successfully carried out and that all funding requirements are met.  Regular teleconference sessions will be held with the funders to discuss current issues and monitor progress.

    The PA is also accountable to funders and the related funding agreements for OODP.


    The PA Position is structured as part-time with flexibility to schedule the work based on the following requirements:
    1. The PA must work a minimum of fourteen (14) hours per week
    2. The PA must work eighty-four (84) hours per month, except where carry-over of hours is permitted in writing by the RHAC Executive Director
    3. Scheduled hours should fall within standard business operating hours (8:00am-6:00pm, Monday thru Friday)
    4. The schedule must be discussed between the RHAC Executive Director and the PA and must be approved in advance
    5. Regular and consistent service is maintained for the Program
    6. Regular office hours or availability is provided so ASO’s know when they can contact the OODP for service and to ensure the PA is accessible
    7. The PA (or Back-Up PA) is available as required to the RHAC Executive Director (or designate) and/or to the Funder(s)
    8. The PA (or Back-Up PA) will respond to inquiries within two (2) business days


    The consultant will be required to sign and comply with a confidentiality agreement that will form a part of their contract. 

    It is expressly understood that the information relating to the Client’s organization, operation and activities must remain in strict confidence both during the term of the agreement with the Consultant and after the contract has concluded.


    The Consultant will provide the following at his/her own expense:
    1. Business telephone number with voicemail
    2. Long distance charges and/or long distance package
    3. Business internet and dedicated e-mail address
    4. General office and administration, including rent and utilities


    The total cost of the proposal must not exceed $65,000.00 per annum (exclusive of applicable taxes).


    RFP Posted/Advertised August 22, 2012
    RFP Closing Date September 7, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. (EST)
    Screening Completed September 14, 2012
    Invitations for Interviews September 19-21, 2012
    Interviews (in Toronto) September 21, 2012
    October 9, 2012

    References and Final Decision Week of October 15, 2012
    Contract Awarded Week of October 15, 2012
    Contract Start Date November 5, 2012


    All proposals must include the following:
    1. Cover letter specifically outlining the consultant’s name, address, contact information and related experience, education and training qualifying you to support the OODP.
    2. Current resume or curriculum vitae.
    3. A narrative submission of how you will approach the project and your ability to support the services and programs provided by the OODP as outlined above.
    4. Fee schedule and rates which must include itemized fees under the contract.
    5. Proposed schedule for service.
    6. Proposed “home base” location (must be in Ontario).
    7. 3 references.

    To express interest in this exciting opportunity, please submit your proposal by no later than 4:00p.m. (EST) on September 7, 2012 to: 

    Mr. Brian Lester, RHAC Executive Director
    c/o OODP Program Administrator RFP
    186 King Street, Suite #30
    London, ON  N6A 1C7
    Fax: 519-434-1843

    As part of our commitment to the Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) and the Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS (MIPA), submissions from HIV-positive Consultants are welcomed and encouraged.

    We thank all interested parties for their submissions with respect to this RFP.  Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

    The Regional HIV/AIDS Connection and the OODP reserve the right to amend this RFP at any time and reserves its right to withdraw the RFP at any time, with notification to those who have provided submission by the deadline.