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The Toronto PWA Foundation

The Toronto PWA Foundation

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25 years of heart
The PWA mission: We engage people living with HIV/AIDS in enhancing their health and well-being through practical and therapeutic support services and broader social change, and we inspire them to live into their dreams and discoveries.
 
In 1987, a support group of people living with HIV (PHA) formed the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (PWA). For 25 years PWA has provided critical services to more than 8,000 individual clients, delivered more than a quarter of a million meals, distributed more than $3.7 million to clients. The PWA Speakers Bureau volunteers have shared their personal stories with approximately 285,000 individuals in an effort to reduce stigma and transmission rates. Volunteers have provided more than 750,000 hours, and more than 50,000 individual donors have supported PWA. The numbers are large, the accomplishments are astounding and the individual stories, a sampling of which follow, are important as we move into yet another year with no end to the epidemic in sight. 

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A timeline 
HIV/AIDS and Toronto People With AIDS Foundation
 
1986
The Toronto People with AIDS Coalition is formed: “We Stand and Fight”
 
Toronto becomes the first Canadian city to develop an AIDS strategy, which includes funding for community organizations 
 
The Ontario AIDS Network is formed
 
The second Canadian AIDS Conference is held in Toronto
 
The Canadian AIDS Society holds its first AGM
 
Good Shepherd opens Barrett House, a five-bed AIDS hospice, in Toronto
 
It’s determined that people with HIV/AIDS are protected against discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code
 
The Ontario legislature amends the Ontario Human Rights Code to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation 
 
In Toronto, AIDS becomes the leading killer of men aged 35 to 44
 
1987
The first anti-HIV drug (AZT) is released
 
The PWA Coalition meets in a room at the not-yet-opened Casey House
 
PWA incorporates as a not-for-profit and becomes the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation
 
PWA’s first three directors are Jim St James, Rodney Polich and Ray Barnard
 
PWA’s first AGM is held in September
 
PWA distributes $13,524 in financial assistance to PHAs from October 1987 to March 1988
 
PWA pauses operations after the death of 16 (of 20) staff members in October
 
1988
Casey House Hospice, founded by June Callwood, opens
 
Several ethnocultural AIDS organizations are formed in Toronto
 
AIDS Action Now! (AAN!) forms in Toronto. AAN!’s first news conference attacks the federal government for lack of action on treatment access and drug trials 
 
Jake Epp, federal minister of health and welfare, is burned in effigy at an AAN! demonstration, held during a national AIDS conference in Toronto, to protest treatment issues and a lack of overall policy commitment on AIDS
 
The Canadian AIDS Society releases its report on safer sex guidelines
 
The first World AIDS Day is held Dec 1
 
PWA becomes a registered charity
 
PWA’s first benefits and assistance coordinator is hired and sees an average of 15 new clients a day
 
The Toronto premiere of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart raises funds for PWA
 
One of PWA’s founding members is Chuck Grochmal. Chuck’s Xtra column on living with AIDS runs from April 5, 1988 to Jan 24, 1990
 
1989
Activists take over the opening stage of the fifth International AIDS Conference, in Montreal, demanding that governments take more action and that the voices of people with AIDS be heard 
 
The Montreal Manifesto, an international bill of rights for PHAs, is published
 
The first national Aboriginal Conference on HIV/AIDS is held 
 
PWA receives core funding from the Ontario AIDS Bureau and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
 
The PWA drop-in centre begins providing info sessions, yoga, massage and haircuts
 
The PWA Speakers Bureau is founded
 
1990
After 2,282 Canadians have died of AIDS, the federal health minister, Perrin Beatty, announces the first National AIDS Strategy
 
The Canadian HIV Trials Network is established
 
AAN! organizes a major demonstration to protest the call to quarantine sexually active poz people by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Richard Schabas. Plans are blocked, and every community AIDS organization in Ontario calls for Schabas’s resignation
 
Charles K (Chuck) Grochmal dies of AIDS at Casey House.
 
AAN! sets up the Treatment Information Exchange (TIE) to increase access to information about cutting-edge treatments
 
1991
TIE becomes the Community AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), an independent charitable organization
 
The Red Ribbon, which will develop into an international symbol of AIDS awareness, makes its debut at the 45th Tony Awards 
 
The Ontario AIDS Bureau is established within the Ontario government
 
Black CAP, initiated in the late 1980s, is incorporated
 
The Prisoners’ HIV/AIDS Support and Action Network is formed as a grassroots response to the emerging AIDS crisis in the Canadian prison system
 
1992
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is established
 
Ontario’s Ministry of Health establishes anonymous HIV-testing sites
 
PWA supports and administers funds for Voices of Positive Women (until 1994)
 
The PWA Food Bank is established
 
PWA establishes the Treatment Resources Program
 
1993
PWA and ACT move to offices at 399 Church St
 
PWA supports and administers funds for Positive Straight Men
 
The AIDS Memorial opens in Cawthra Park
 
The Krever Commission is established to investigate HIV in the Canadian blood supply
 
PWA receives the first grant to a Canadian HIV/AIDS organization from the MAC AIDS Fund
 
The Good Samaritan Dinner is held for volunteers (most of whom are PHAs) and becomes PWA’s Annual Holiday Dinner
 
1994
The Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV (GIPA) Principle is formalized at the Paris AIDS Summit, with 42 countries signing on to “stimulate the creation of supportive political, legal and social environments” for PHAs
 
After years of pressure from AAN! the Ontario government announces that a catastrophic drug program will be implemented in 1995
 
On World AIDS Day, three AIDS groups serving Toronto’s Southeast Asian communities join forces to form a new coalition agency: Asian Community AIDS Services
 
PWA receives an award for its participation in the education of U of T medical students
 
PWA supports and administers funds for Positive Youth Outreach (now an ACT community program)
 
1995
A new family of antiretroviral drugs, protease inhibitors, is approved in the US
 
1996
The success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is the big news at the 11th International AIDS Conference in Vancouver 
 
HAART becomes standard treatment
 
Ontario begins viral load testing
 
The AIDS programs of various UN agencies combine to form UNAIDS
 
PHAs establish the Canadian Treatment Action Council
 
Sutherland Chan partners with PWA to provide the first student massage clinic for PHAs

1997
The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network is established
 
1998
PHAs become eligible for ODSP (the Ontario Disability Support Program) as a result of efforts by PWA and other groups 
 
Canadian Blood Services assumes full responsibility for Canada’s blood supply system, supplanting the Canadian Red Cross
 
The Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation is formed
 
PWA starts the first needle exchange specifically for PHAs
 
PWA partners with the College of Naturopathic Medicine to offer a naturopathic clinic (now offered at the Sherbourne Health Centre)
 
1999
The Ontario HIV Treatment Network launches, with Anne Phillips and Murray Jose as co-chairs
 
The first Friends for Life Bike Rally raises $44,498
 
ACT and PWA develop the Employment Action Program, which helps PHAs update their skills and provides help with resumés and job placement
 
 
HIV treatment is effective in reducing mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy
 
The Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment, with representation from the legal, health, settlement and HIV/AIDS sectors, forms to improve treatment and service access for marginalized people with HIV/AIDS
 
PWA adopts a provocative position in support of medicinal marijuana
 
2000
More than 40 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, half of them women; nearly 25 million have died
 
2001
The Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV (GIPA) Principle is endorsed by 189 United Nations member countries as part of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
 
2002
HIV becomes the leading cause of death worldwide for people aged 15 to 59
 
PWA launches the Food for Life meal-delivery program 
 
PWA launches the Pie in the Sky fundraiser
 
2003
InSite, North America’s first supervised injection site, opens for drug users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
 
PWA partners with the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment to develop the HIV Medication Access Project for marginalized people, which becomes a formal PWA program within a year
 
2004
The proposal to amalgamate PWA and ACT fails to receive the required support from PWA members
 
Amalgamation discussions help to identify PWA and ACT partnership opportunities and to clarify PWA’s work as a separate agency

2005
PWA participates in the AIDS Bureau’s regional planning process, which leads to a strategic plan for Toronto HIV services 
 
PWA becomes a trustee and host of the Toronto HIV/AIDS Network, with Murray Jose as co-chair
 
2006
The 15th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006) is held in Toronto
 
AIDS deaths fall, but health complications emerge
 
Ontario introduces point-of-care rapid HIV tests
 
PWA leads the creation and coordination of the PHA Lounge at AIDS 2006
 
PWA begins a long relationship as the beneficiary of the Home + Style studio tour and furniture sale

2007
Concerns about the criminalization of HIV and a lack of rationale for charges grow
 
PWA provides early leadership as part of the new Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure
 
PWA holds first Tighty Whitey Car Wash 

2008
The 10th Friends for Life Bike Rally raises $1,214,627; the 10-year total passes $5 million; more than 300 cyclists participate, supported by 100 crew members
 
PWA moves to a larger space at 200 Gerrard St E to meet service needs and create “a welcoming space”
 
2009
The groundbreaking Poz Prevention resource materials, developed in partnership with the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance, are recognized internationally
 
2010
PWA presents a poster at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna highlighting Poz Prevention
 
PWA launches the Love Ball bowling fundraiser
 
The Collaboration for HIV Medical Education research study, whose goal is to educate medical students, receives funding, with PWA as a co-principle investigator and community partner
 
2011
The Friends for Life Bike Rally raises $1.26 million; overall total is $9.1 million 
 
PWA reveals a new strategic plan: Engaging, Building Capacity, Empowering Dreams
 
2012
The City of Toronto threatens service cuts to its budget, including AIDS programs; council saves services by two votes
 
PWA now supports the following programs as trustee: the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment, the Toronto HIV/AIDS Network, the Circle of Care, Latinos Positivos 
 

Comments

Pot calling the kettle black
Ho hum just a defection to continue to attack PWA. Rumour has it, there will Xtra QWF story soon, so you can save all your hatred when that article appears online and no I was not interviewed.
alright then....
when this celebration is over maybe xtra will do an expose on the pwa foundation's governance structure, transparency, exclusion,life destroying breeches of confidentiality, professional standards, among other issues, including good stuff. but pwa does spend much on advertising in xtra so i guess i'm pissing in the wind, huh.
Pot calling the kettle black
Michel F Pare is really the pot calling the kettle black. He attacks anti-QuAIA posters on Xtra.ca for their unrelenting criticism of QuAIA. Yet, Michel F Pare is constantly posting comments on Xtra.ca against Pride Toronto and in favour of his Queer West Festival. It appears that Michel F. Pare does this because he resents the fact that Pride Toronto gets large amounts of public support, media coverage, tourists and government and corporate funding, while his lilliputian Queer West Festival does not. If Michel F. Pare thinks criticising QuAIA is a dead issue, then he should finally realize that his lilliputian Queer West Festival is a non-existent one.
Paid lobbists
I see the paid lobbyists from Israel consulate are not willing to give on QuAIA. Kevin the issue is dead dead dead, the topic has be exhausted, looked from every angle by various commenters here and the Pride dispute panel and resolved. Trouble is its like talking to Jehovah Witness, you can't convince them of anything, their right we're wrong. Kevin and his cabal of lobbyists will continue to attack every story Xtra publish online, best to ignore them, maybe they will finally give up and go away.
Being QuAIA's ally was more important
You forgot a key event in the timeline: Thursday June 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm - PWA Foundation co-sponsors a QuAIA event that was held at the the same time as the annual AIDS vigil See: http://queersagainstapartheid.org/2011/06/15/learning-tactics-and-strategies-with-act-up/ The 2011 annual AIDS vigil was held at exactly the same time: Thursday June 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm. See: http://www.facebook.com/events/123366487745703/ I guess being QuAIA's ally was more important.
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