Chapter 3: Ethical considerations for peer health navigation programs


In this chapter, we identify the ethical considerations that may arise in peer health navigation programs.

Chapter 3: Ethical considerations for peer health navigation programs (PDF)

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Programming resources and tools

The following resources can be used to help address the ethical considerations that may arise in peer health navigation programs. Where a resource addresses a specific recommendation from the chapter, the recommendation number is provided.

For additional resources related to ethical considerations, see the peer training resources for Chapter 7: Program management – training for peer health navigators.


Peer navigator code of ethics

Peer Navigation Services, Positive Living Society of British Columbia

This is a 10-statement code of ethics for peer health navigators at the Positive Living Society of British Columbia.

Ethical guidelines in professional relationships

Peer Navigation Services, Positive Living Society of British Columbia

This set of guidelines defines ethical boundaries for the relationship between peer health navigator and client.

PWA volunteer code of conduct

Toronto People with AIDS Foundation

This code of conduct covers confidentiality, non-discrimination/equity, conflict of interest, alcohol/drug use, punctuality, and non-compliance.

Peer mentor policy and procedure handbook

Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna & District Branch

This handbook is part of a toolkit to support community-based organizations delivering peer-based emotional and social support to people living with HIV and/or hepatitis C. It provides sample policies, procedures and forms to address organizational standards and expectations related to peer roles and responsibilities, privacy and confidentiality, and ethics, among other topics.

Certified HIV, HCV or harm reduction peer worker code of ethics

New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute

This is an example of a code of ethics for peer workers certified by the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health.

Ethical decision-making process

Difficult decisions: A tool for care workers

Developed by a working group of HIV- and health-related organizations, this tool presents a four-step process for ethical decision making by those working with children and families of key populations including people living with HIV, people who use drugs, sex workers, trans people and gay men and other men who have sex with men. (supports recommendation 1)


Boundaries in helping relationships (page 76) from Building blocks to peer program success: A toolkit for developing HIV peer programs – Chapter 6: Supervising peers

Peer Education and Training Sites/Resource and Evaluation Center (PETS/REC) Initiative

This list of potential interactions between peers and clients can be used to help identify and define which activities are within and outside a peer’s boundaries as a service provider. (supports recommendation 2)


Peer mentor consent

Peer-to-Peer Program, Population & Public Health Services - Regina, Saskatchewan Health Authority

This is a confidentiality consent form for peers in the Peer-to-Peer Program. (supports recommendation 3c)


Policy and practice toolkit for Ontario ASOs on clients’ HIV disclosure decisions and process

Ontario Organizational Development Program

This toolkit provides sample text as well as implementation considerations for organizations developing policy and procedures to inform their support of people with HIV and their HIV disclosure. (supports recommendation 4a)

Cultural safety, power imbalances and conflict resolution

8. Conflict resolution (pages 22-25) and Peer support worker complaint form (pages 32-33) from Circle of Care: Peer support component operations manual

Toronto People With AIDS Foundation | The Teresa Group | Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support Action Network | Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention | AIDS Committee of Toronto

This manual provides operational guidance for the Circle of Care peer support programs. It includes conflict resolution procedures for addressing conflict between peer support workers and other agency staff and a peer support worker complaint reporting form. Please note that the manual is a working draft; further information about forthcoming revisions can be obtained from the authors. (supports recommendation 14)