We are looking forward to celebrating 13 years of (R)Evolution this October 17th & 18th, 2022!

This two day conference is designed for individuals from all sectors, including health care providers, police, probation, parole, and correctional officers, community educators, social service providers, service users, people at risk of or living with HIV or hepatitis C, policy and program developers, harm reduction practitioners, academics and researchers, and students from relevant disciplines. It will be held at Deer Creek Golf and Banquet Facility in Ajax, Ontario – address and directions listed below.

Tickets are $150, however there is a service fee of the additional 10.50$ for the total of $160.50. Please understand that we are trying to provide the option of online registration and therefore the final price was not decided by us – instead it is the service fee for using Eventbrite. Tickets are available at this link: eventbrite.ca/whatstheharm OR please make cheques (of $150) payable to Durham Harm Reduction Coalition – contact Beth Whalen, Treasurer, DHRC c/o John Howard Society of Durham Region at beth.whalen@jhsd.ca. The last day to register for the event is October 2nd, 2022. **REGISTRATION WILL BE AVAILABLE STARTING MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2022.**

Download and fill out the registration form here: Whats the Harm Registration Form 2022

Below, please find the booking link for the Hilton Garden Inn block of rooms link, and the booking code if you prefer to call in for your reservation:

Hilton Garden Inn (Block) Reservation Link

Booking code: DHRC22


Conference Learning Objectives:

  • Current trends in harm reduction
  • The benefits of harm reduction programs and services for both substance users and the community
  • Learn about harm reduction through Truth and Reconciliation lens
  • How your organization can support local harm reduction programming and services
  • Understand different experiences and perspectives of harm reduction programs and services

2022 Highlights of the Conference

  • Lived Experience Panel
  • Challenges and lessons learned from implementing Carepoint London Consumption and Treatment Service – Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC)
  • Panel discussion on the harms of anti-human trafficking policy and sex work criminalization with Molly Bannerman, Sandra Ka Hon Chu and Elene Lam
  • Networking Mocktail Hour

2022 Conference Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr. Gillian Kolla PhD, MPH, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria
  • Dr. Steven Hayle PhD, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Ontario Tech University
  • Dr. Sajida Afridi MBBS, FRCP(C), DABPM, DABAM, FASAM, MPH, MBA (Health Care Mgmt), Public Health Preventive Medicine, Addiction Medicine
  • Angela Duckworth Ba Masshi Migizi Kwe BSW, RSW, Indigenous Health Promoter
  • Yvette Perreault MA, Consultant, Former Director AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program
  • Stephanie Skopyk, Clinic Lead & Nurse Practitioner (NP-PHC, MN)



Speaker Bios:

Molly Bannerman

Molly Bannerman is the Provincial Director of the Women and HIV / AIDS Initiative, an initiative dedicated to community change work with women living with or facing systemic risk for HIV across Ontario.  Molly’s work has focussed on harm reduction, human rights, and gender justice and has included work in the areas of overdose prevention, prison abolition, and transformative justice. 


Sandra Ka Hon Chu

Sandra Ka Hon Chu is Co-Executive Director of the HIV Legal Network, where she works on HIV-related human rights issues concerning drug policy, prisons, sex work, women, and immigration. She has also helped guide the Legal Network’s litigation in key court cases in Canada and internationally, including lawsuits challenging the Canadian government’s failure to adopt prison-based needle and syringe programs and criminal laws governing sex work


Elene Lam

Elene Lam is an activist, community organizer, educator, and human rights defender.  She is the founder of Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) and has used diverse and innovative approaches to advocate social justice for migrant sex worker, e.g. leadership building and community mobilization. She has made transformative contributions to the migrant sex workers’ movement in Canada by being a unique and compelling player in sex worker rights, migrant justice, labour rights, and in gender justice circles. She holds a Master of Laws and Master of Social Work. She is the PhD candidate at McMaster University (School of Social Work) and studying the harm of anti-trafficking movement. 


Dr. Gillian Kolla

Dr. Gillian Kolla is a public health researcher who holds a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria. She uses primarily community-based qualitative and ethnographic research to explore how to make health and social services more accessible to people who use drugs, and is currently conducting research on the implementation and scale-up of prescribed safer supply programs in Ontario and BC. She was also a member of the coordinating committee for the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society, which opened Ontario’s first overdose prevention site in a Toronto park in 2017 as part of a community-led response to the overdose crisis.


Dr. Steven Hayle

Dr. Hayle is a Criminologist at Ontario Tech University who studies international criminal justice and global drug policy. His research focusses on harm reduction and the ways in which it varies across countries. He has studied the historical development of needle exchange, supervised injection, and safer supply policies in Canada and the British Isles, and he is interested in the politics behind the growing decriminalization movement happening in parts of the world. He is currently a member and co-chair of the Durham Region Opioid Task Force.


Sonja Burke

Sonja Burke has worked in the not-for profit sector for 30 years and has been the Director of Harm Reduction Service at RHAC for 10 years. She served as the co-chair of the Harm Reduction Pillar for the London Drug and Alcohol Strategy and represents RHAC on other drug strategy related efforts in the region. In 2014 Sonja served as planning committee co-chair in the launch of the Community Naloxone program in London.  She was the implementation and operationalization lead of Ontario’s first government funded temporary overdose prevention site and the transition to the permanent Carepoint CTS program at RHAC. Sonja developed strong partnerships with Indigenous organizations in London and region and helped to develop a framework to support Indigenous people accessing harm reduction services and connection to Indigenous teachings, medicines, and referrals.  She was acknowledged for her work in harm reduction by local Indigenous communities in 2018 receiving an award for “Bravery” from the seven grandfather teachings. Sonja is currently working on a collaborative initiative to bring harm reduction services in hospitals through engagement of peer led support staff.


Dr. Sajida Afridi

Dr. Afridi is a Public Health Preventive Medicine and Addiction Medicine Specialist. After completing her residency at University of Ottawa, she has been involved in the provision of substance use treatment services in Alberta, covering the whole South Zone of Alberta including Indigenous reserve populations, as well as in the Edmonton inner-city marginalized populations. During the pandemic, she also worked in Durham Region, Ontario, for 2.5 years as Division Head of Addiction Medicine with Lakeridge Health Ontario, providing clinical services across all five Lakeridge Health Hospitals, Rapid Access Addiction clinics and Residential Withdrawal Management services. Dr. Afridi has been teaching and providing addiction medicine training to the residents and medical students at the University of Alberta and Queens’ University, Ontario. Dr. Afridi has been involved in outreach services for diverse communities. She has participated in many social and electronic media forums to advocate for low barrier equitable access to treatment services for substance use disorders.  Dr. Afridi speaks English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. Furthermore, she is a passionate advocate for harm reduction, Indigenous health, social equity, and compassionate, non-stigmatized care for people who use substances. She has been involved in the Durham Region Opioid Task Force working groups working to improve substance use services locally. She is also serving as a member of the Durham Ontario Health Team’s Inaugural Primary Care Advisory council. Dr. Afridi has extensive experience providing addiction medicine services across all settings (inpatient, ED, outpatient, detox, and Telehealth) and within two Canadian provinces’ health care systems. She is determined to look for evidence based innovative ways to enhance system efficiencies for quality improvement services for substance use and concurrent mental health disorders.


Dr. Jeffrey Craig

I graduated from University of Ottawa Medical School and completed my internal medicine and infectious diseases training at the University of Toronto.  I have a special interest in the management of HIV including PrEP/PEP, cancer screening in HIV patients, and viral hepatitis.  I am currently involved in both HIV and COVID-19related research at Lakeridge Health.


Stephanie Skopyk

Stephanie Skopyk is the Clinic Lead of the CMHA Durham Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic. She holds a Masters in Nursing and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate. Throughout her career, she has worked in pediatric cardiology and critical care, long-term care, public health, corrections and remote Northern settings. She has been an advisory member of the Central East LHIN Primary Care Group and assisted Health Quality Ontario in the development of Quality Standards related to the care of those with Schizophrenia in Community Settings, advocating for the needs of vulnerable groups to be integrated to our Health Care System.  She has led multiple partners in the design and implementation of palliative care services for vulnerably-housed individuals.  And for the past 2 years, she has been the health care lead for the development of Mission United, an innovative health and social services hub for those experiencing homelessness in Oshawa.


Yvette Perreault

  • Team Lead for Good Grief Care Consultants, a diverse team that provide accessible,
    relevant traumatic grief supports to front line workers and their managers in the not-
    for-profit sector. ( www.goodgriefcare.ca )
  • Currently part time Traumatic Grief Specialist with the Enrichment Centre for Mental
    Health (was CMHA Hastings County)
  • Traumatic grief counsellor for front line Harm Reduction workers In the GTA through
    the Worker Wellness Initiative (Breakaway)- current.
  • MA Leadership and Training (Royal Roads University)
  • Traumatology Certification (Traumatology Institute of Canada)
  • Member International Association of Death Education and Counselling- Thanatology
    Association (ADEC)
  • Member International Association of Facilitators (IAF)
    Founder and Former Director AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario
    (1994- 2018)


Brian Lester

Brian Lester has worked in the not-for-profit sector for 35 years and has been the executive director of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) for over 15 years.  He currently participates in a number of community and provincial initiatives related to HIV including; The Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS (OACHA) which functions to advise the minister of health on HIV policy direction. Additionally, Brian has served as the co-chair of the London Middlesex Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy and represents RHAC on other drug strategy related efforts in the London region. He also serves a Co-chair of London’s HIV Leadership table of diverse stakeholders. This table was initiated in 2016 as a response the London’s HIV outbreak with people who use substances.  Brian has been extensively involved in advocacy for supervised consumption services in London including work on launching Ontario’s first government approved overdose prevention site in 2018 -leading to the permanent Carepoint CTS program currently operating at RHAC.


Linda Simmons

Linda has been a registered nurse for 38+ years. She is a graduate of Durham College and then obtained her nursing degree at Laurentian University. Linda has been in many nursing roles including surgical nursing, emergency care, hemodialysis, endoscopy, public health, educator, case manager, long term care and has been on the Hepatitis C team almost 5 years. Linda has been a life long resident of Oshawa, and feels she has found this role has been the most fulfilling, and making small differences in the lives of the clients she serves. Linda enjoys weekends at her trailer and spending time with her family and granddaughter.


Sgt. Scot Green

Scot Green is a police officer with 15 years experience spread over uniform patrol, the Oshawa Community Resource Team and the Drug Enforcement Unit. Scot has been the liaison officer for the Durham Drug and Mental Health Treatment court for nine years and is member of the Durham Region’s Opioid Task Force.


D.C. Nicholas Baldini

Nicholas Baldini is a police officer with 15 years experience.  Nick has spent portions of his career in uniform patrol in both Oshawa and Ajax/Pickering, the Oshawa Community Resource Team and the Drug Enforcement Unit. Nick is currently a member of both the Durham Drug and Mental Health Treatment Court and the Durham Region Opioid Task Force.


Tomas Mirabelli

I have worked almost a decade in the social service sector with three diplomas in human services. I am passionate about harm reduction work and have extensive experience working with marginalized and vulnerable populations. In my current role, I am personally responsible for the assessment and care of people facing a variety of challenges, including complex mental health, addictions, homelessness, and poverty. With exceptional crisis intervention and de-escalation skills, I am able to connect with clients who do not easily engage with case management services. My experience has taught me how to forge meaningful relationships with clients while respecting the ethical boundaries the field requires.



2700 Audley Road North
Ajax, ON L1Z 1T7

Driving directions:

Exit HWY 401 at Salem Road. Head north to Taunton Road. Turn right onto Taunton Road W to Audley Road N, turn left and head north. The destination will be on the left.