People With Lived and Living Experience

Introduction & Ackowledgement

People with lived and living experience of substance use, as well as their families and friends are experts in the field of substance use health.

TDAS’ People with Lived and Living Experience Advisory Committee is a vital part of the strategy. The committee is made up of community members from across the district who share their wisdom, knowledge, and insights. They provide information and feedback on the local situation and needs, and help guide the implementation of the strategy. They ensure that the voices and needs of persons with lived experience are heard.

We are mindful of those with lived or living experience of substance use, addiction and homelessness, their individual and collective experiences, and those who have lost their lives as a result. We recognize the expertise of those with lived or living experience, whose insights are invaluable in our efforts to improve the quality and impact of services and resources related to substance use and addiction and reduce the harms that result from it.

Stories from PWLE

Terms of Reference

The role of the People with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) Advisory Committee, as part of the Timiskaming Drug and Alcohol Strategy (TDAS), is to guide the strategic direction to ensure the drug strategy and resulting interventions are informed by the knowledge and perspectives of local people with lived expertise.

  • Inform ongoing actions, projects and initiatives from a PWLLE perspective, Advocate on behalf of the PWLLE community
  • Apply an anti-stigma and cultural influence to all work
  • Provide a forum for PWLLE voices
  • Actively engage in peer connection
  • Identify opportunities to partner with other PWLLE groups
  • provide research and best practices from the PWLLE point of view

This committee will consist of 5 individuals which will include at least one youth (25 or under).

Membership eligibility includes:

  • An individual who has used or currently uses substances
  • Friends and family of individuals who have used or currently use substances

Current members will maintain their position on this committee until:

  • They choose to forfeit their position
  • Funding is not secured for additional terms
  • They are unable to meet the roles and responsibilities and meaningfully contribute and represent the comittee

The Committee with be led by a Chair (member of TDAS Steering Committee) with administrative support from the TDAS Coordinator.

On occasion, or as-needed, ad hoc members will be recruited in addition to the core members. This is dependent on an identified need and budget allowance.

When a position needs to be filled, the Recruitment Poster can be used to describe the committee and the position. How to get the word out to candidates:

  • Word of mouth (cttee members, agency staff)
  • TDAS and partner websites and social media
  • Display poster in key locations
  • Community Employment Services

The Coordinator will receive and respond to applicants, and the committee will review the applicants together and decide who will proceed to an interview. The Coordinator will schedule the interviews. Using the Interview Procedure, the Chair, Coordinator and one cttee member will interview the chosen candidates. The interviewers will make a decision and inform the committee. The successful candidate will be notified by the Coordinator.

Respect: recognize value and dignity of all members

Honesty: communicate openly and with no judgment

Curiosity: remain flexible and learn as we go

Inclusion: actively value and embrace differences

The membership of the advisory group will commit to:

  • Prepare for, attend and participate all scheduled meetings, and related tasks (PWLLE, pillars, working groups)
  • If unable to attend a meeting, members are expected to review meeting minutes and stay engaged in the topic manner through Teams Chat if possible.
  • Notify other members of the Committee, as soon as practical, if any matter arises which may impact your ability to represent the cttee i.e health, conflict of interest.
  • Attend relevant training and professional development opportunities and share lessons learned.
  • Monitor, Record and submit work hours

All meetings will be led by the Chair. If the Chair is not available, the Coordinator or a committee member will assume this role. Meeting agendas, minutes and supporting documents will be prepared by the TDAS Coordinator and shared in the TEAMS folder and via email one week before the meeting.

Meetings will be held monthly via Microsoft Teams or in person. If required, other meetings will be arranged outside of these times at a time convenient to committee members. Feedback on the meetings can be submitted directly to the Chair.

For a decision to pass, it must receive the majority of votes. Decisions will not be passed without all 5 member, Coordinator and Chair votes. When feasible, items that require a decision will be shared in advance of a meeting. Members who are not able to attend a meeting where a decision will be made can send their vote in advance or will have 5 business days following a meeting to submit their vote. In the instance that a decision is needed sooner than this, members may be requested to submit their vote sooner within reason.

Members who are not being supported by an organization for their participation in the Advisory Committee are eligible for an honorarium. The honorarium current rate is $25 per hour and is determined by the TDAS Steering Committee and reviewed on an annual basis. The number of work hours will not exceed 5 hours per month without prior approval from the Coordinator. Each member is allotted 7 hours per one year term for training and professional development and must share their learnings with the Committee. Members are responsible to track their hours using the appropriate log sheet and submit via email to the Coordinator at the end of each month. Timiskaming Health Unit will process payment and mail cheques to members. Additional expenses related to the members’ work can be reimbursed upon approval from the Coordinator.

Terms of Reference will be reviewed every two years.