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MAX is here for you...and we need you!

MAX Ottawa is currently in the Orange Phase of our reopening policy. We will take an informed and evidence-based approach in MAX Ottawa’s COVID-19 response as we reopen the workplace and maintain a safe and healthy space.

Following public health guidelines, we have implemented these measures to keep the MAX community safe:

  • personal protective equipment (PPE) dispensers at the entrance;
  • two-metre distance reference markers;
  • physical barriers at the reception and screening process;
  • curb-side pick up for harm reduction materials; and
  • maximum of nine employees, volunteers, or visitors on site at a time.

Currently, on-site visits are available by appointment only for the following services:

While our office is available by appointment only, you can still access a number of MAX’s programs and services remotely! Our programs and services are hosted via phone, ZOOM, or social media, including our Peer Support Program and Community MAXimizers.

Peer Support Program

MAX’s new mental health program can help address your needs, particularly in a time of physical distancing.

The Peer Support Program is part of both the organization’s ongoing commitment to maximizing health and wellness for guys into guys and its greater response to current physical distancing practices. 

 

Booking a peer support call:
Online: maxpeersupport.setmore.com
Phone: 613-701-6555
Email: peersupport@maxottawa.ca

Peer Support line hours of operation: 

Please check back here once the program has launched!

Learn More

Taking Care of Your Mind (mental health)

Taking Care of Your Mind

The current public health situation has impacted all areas of life. Our mental health is no exception. However, you’re feeling: It’s OK!  It is important to check in, be honest, and find appropriate ways to manage how you’re feeling. 

MAX Is Here For You! 

Programs and services being offered by MAX during COVID-19 closures:

Programs and services offered by other organisations: 

  • The LGBT2SQ+ Single Session Counselling Service at Centretown Health Centre is offering telephone appointments every Wednesday From 12:00pm-6:30pm. To book an appointment, email lgbt2sqwednesday@centretownchc.org or call 613-233-4443 ext. 2109. English and French. Free and Confidential.
  • The PrEP Clinic, based in Toronto,  connects you to a FREE online PrEP prescribing service, provides increased discretion, FREE shipping, and offers 7 day a week access to a pharmacist. In addition, they’re offering free online mental health support through their app.
  • Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health and COVID-19 has information, tips, and resources to help you cope during this time period
  • Health Initiative for Men (H.I.M) in Vancouver has some great tips under  “Staying Calm & Coping with Stress”  from their ‘Taking Care of Yourself” COVID-19 section. 
  • If you are experiencing mental health distress you can reach the Distress Centre at 613-238-3311 (English only) or the Crisis Line (English & French) at 613-722-6914 or toll-free 1-866-996-0991.
  • Trans Lifeline offers peer support to trans & non-binary individuals and is just one call or click away. 1-877-330-6366 (hotline open 10:00 AM-4:00 AM, but operators are also frequently available during off-hours, so please call whenever you need to)
  • Interligne offers 24/7 text and call support to LGBTQ2S+ people in English and French at 1-888-505-1010 (toll-free) or online via their anonymous chat service.
  • YouthLine offers confidential and non-judgemental peer support for LGBTQ2S+ people aged 16-29 through telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30 PM. Toll-Free: 1.800.268.9688 / In the Toronto Area: 416-962-9688. Text: 647-694-427
  • Goodhead.ca is a new web resource for guys into guys (G2G) — gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, or men who have sex with men. It is a place for G2G to learn and build curiosity about the mental health issues affecting their communities and to help them locate mental health services in Ontario.

Additional Resources 

Some articles MAX has found helpful at this time:

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to:

Feeling Connected

Feeling Connected

The most obvious issue with ‘social distancing’ is the lack of face to face interaction. Seeing favourite events and regular hangout spots closed can also take its toll on your health. People and organizations are adapting quickly and with the help of technology, there’s plenty of ways to stay connected. 

Programs and services offered by MAX

MAX is Listening! 

Your voice is as important as ever. We want to know what your health and wellness needs are.  This ensures that how we support you is meaningful. 

Share your ideas with us by completing a short survey or over the phone at 613-701-6555.

You can also email or message us your ideas through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. 

Your Community Needs You! 

Volunteers continue to play a crucial role in MAX's programs and services. Your empathy, skills, and experience can help other guys into guys in the area at this challenging time. Current opportunities include: 

  • Facebook Live Sessions and Virtual Hangouts: Do you have the skill to share with our communities? It may be dancing, arts and crafts, fitness, or a virtual hangout. If so, we would love to share our online platform with you. Contact josh@maxottawa.ca to discuss your idea.
    For more details: Volunteer Posting
    To apply, please contact matt@maxotttawa.ca
  • Policy Development Support Volunteer: Do you have experience in non-profit organisation policy development? Join us to sharpen your skills and experience in developing policies that prioritize GBT2Q guys' health.
    For more details: Volunteer Posting
    To apply, please contact roberto@maxotttawa.ca before June 19, 2020.
  • French Translator/Copyeditor: Do you have the ability to write and translate from English to French? Do you enjoy making our materials more accessible to people of diverse linguistic backgrounds from our communities? For more details: Volunteer Posting. To apply, please contact robert@maxotttawa.ca before June 19, 2020
  • Virtual Harm Reduction Support Volunteer: Would you like to be part of our harm reduction team? Do you like to be responsible for fulfilling online orders and mail packages? For more details: Volunteer Posting. To apply, please contact matt@maxotttawa.ca before June 19, 2020.

Stay up to date on future opportunities by signing up for our Volunteer Newsletter. New volunteers can also complete an application online.

Social Health

  • Keeping it 100!, our monthly group for African, Caribbean and Black cis and trans guys into guys, will take place via ZOOM at its scheduled times. For questions, you can reach Robert, one of K1’s facilitators. 
  • Rotating theme-specific Facebook Live sessions or group hangouts are scheduled Mondays and Fridays at varying times
  • The List will continue to be updated every Wednesday
  • MAXPress Yourself!?, our art-based monthly group, & Now What?!, our monthly social group for guys into guys 40+, are presently on hold

Holistic Health Education 

  • Behind The Scene, our monthly GBT2Q health speaker series will be live streaming via Instagram and Facebook Live the second Thursday of the month from 7-8 PM.

Programs and services offered by other organizations

  • The List will continue to be updated every Wednesday with allied organizations' programs and services.

Additional Resources 

  • COVID-19 Community Care Ottawa is a Facebook group designed to facilitate communication. If you have the application, feel free to ask to join. 
  • Out and About Ottawa-Gatineau is a free all-encompassing Meetup group for people that identify as LGBTQ2S+ and their allies who like to go out, be entertained, and socialize. The group is focusing on virtual meetup groups at this time. 

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to:

Having Sex

Having Sex

Our sexual desires and needs don’t stop due to social distancing. However, how can we express our sexuality AND stay safe during a pandemic? You’re not the first to ask! Fortunately, there’s some answers from many great organizations. 

Programs and services offered by MAX

MAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa COVID-19 & Sexual HealthMAX Ottawa's COVID-19 Sexual Health Resources

Programs and services offered by other organisations

  • If you live in Ottawa, you can order safer sex materials (e.g. condoms, lube, dental dams and insertive condoms) for FREE delivered to your door via The Link (formerly SexItSmart)
  • Folks can now access APPOINTMENT BASED TESTING for Rapid HIV at Shoppers Drug Mart at Bank and Gladstone. The service has been updated based on current public health recommendations.  Clients will be assessed over the phone and seen as appropriate following these easy steps:
    1. Call the Pharmacy at 613-238-9041 ext 3,3
    2. Ask to speak with Ben or Lisa
    3. Ben or Lisa will ask screening questions, including COVID screening , and provide pre-test counselling over the phone
    4. If applicable, an appointment will be made and further instructions will be provided 

    For more, visit getatest.ca

  • The GayZone clinic is closed until further notice due to COVID-19.
  • The Sexual Health Centre on Clarence Street is currently not accepting walk-in appointments. Except for PEP, patients without an appointment will be turned away. Call the Sexual Health Centre nursing staff to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment, follow guidelines listed on the GayZone and Sexual Health Centre websites. 
  • The PrEP Clinic, based in Toronto,  connects you to a FREE online PrEP prescribing service, provides increased discretion, FREE shipping, and offers 7 day a week access to a pharmacist. In addition, they’re offering free online mental health supports through their app.

Additional Resources 

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to:

Taking Care of Your Body

Taking Care of Your Body 

From improved mood and decreased stress, to increased endurance and improving sleep, regular moderate exercise is good for overall holistic health. With gyms closed and many of us staying home, that can be hard. Here’s a few ways you can maintain, or start, a physical health routine that works for you. 

Programs and services offered by MAX

  • Working out with MAX via Facebook Live, every Tuesday morning at 11 AM beginning March 31st, 2020
  • Yoga with MAX via Facebook Live, every Wednesday night at 7 PM beginning April 1st, 2020

Programs and services offered by other organisations

Additional Resources 

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to:

Consuming Drugs and AlcoholConsumption of alcohol & drugs

Managing drug use can be difficult during this pandemic. Limited access to supplies and spaces make it even more important to plan appropriately. 

Programs and services offered by MAX

  • MAX’s in-person harm reduction programs and services are presently on hold. Services at GayZone will resume when it is safe for our staff and our communities to engage. 

Here are a few peer tips and resources to help you get through the next few months. 

  • Try not to share your equipment : We know that queer guys consume substances socially. But if possible, try not sharing your substance consumption equipment with others to reduce the chance of transmitting COVID-19 and other STBBI’s.  
  • Try to prepare as best you can : Stock up on your substance of choice and on harm reduction materials including Naloxone. It is possible that in the coming weeks harm reduction programs will reduce their hours and/or close. Ask them if you can stock up ahead of time. Try to stock up on the substance of your choice in case your distributor becomes ill and can no longer distribute to avoid unplanned withdrawals. We are very much aware that stockpiling is a privilege, and most folks do not have the funds necessary to stockpile. In this case prepare a safety plan. See next point.
  • Develop a Safety Plan: If you plan to stock up on substances (including alcohol) to avoid withdrawal, develop a safety plan with a trusted friend, relative, or partner to make sure that you don’t binge on your substances. Do you need to portion out your substances? Leave them with a partner? Record the amount you use per hour or day? Binging could lead to a fatal overdose or it may leave you feeling dopesick tomorrow. Remind yourself why you stocked up, and if you don't follow your plan step by step don't be too hard on yourself. Managing your consumption while going through a pandemic can be difficult. If stocking up isn't possible consider making a plan in case your provider gets sick or no longer distributes and make a plan for unwanted withdrawals. Do you have another provider? Can you get food, and drinks that could help you go through withdrawal? Do you have family and friends that could support you? In the case of an emergency, do you know what emergency services are available
  • Let someone know you're consuming and carry Naloxone: If possible don't consume alone. Let someone know that you will be consuming and make a plan for them to check-in with you during your consumption. Carry Naloxone, and consider keeping an increased amount of kits with you. 
  1.  

Programs and services offered by other organisations

Additional Resources 

As always, for up to date information on the Coronavirus, head to:

Staying Safe at HomeStaying Safe at Home

It’s important we acknowledge that not all guys into guys feel safe in their home. This is especially important during a health crisis where people are encouraged to stay inside. With increased rates of domestic abuse being reported, it’s important to know what resources can be accessed.

Programs and services offered by MAX

MAX does not have any specific resources for people experiencing domestic violence. 

Our Support Coordinator David has prepared some important things to keep in mind:

  • Rates of physical partner violence victimization are higher among GBTQ2S guys.
  • GBTQ2S guys whose families and friends are unsupportive of their sexuality have fewer sources of support, thereby increasing isolation and makingit more difficult to end abusive relationships.
  • Domestic violence shelters are typically not available to GBTQ2S victims because few shelters admit them.
  • GBTQ2S guys are less likely to report Intimate partner violence.
  • Intimate partner violence can take form in a multitude of ways including physical violence, threats, sexual violence and can also include psychological as well as emotional violence, including the following:
    • Mocking the partner’s identity or sexual orientation.
    • Demanding the person meet gender or beauty social norms.
    • Purposefully misgendering the person or referring to the person as “it.”
    • Deadnaming a partner. Deadnaming is calling a transgender person by the name they were assigned at birth and not the name they use.
    • Preventing the partner from taking their hormones or denying access to appropriate medical treatment.
    • Mocking the partner’s body or saying that the person is not a real man or woman.

Programs and services offered by other organisations

Additional Resources 

  • Northwest Network - US based organisation specializing in community and non-carceral responses to LGBTQ+ intimate partner violence. Their "Events" tab contains pre-recorded webinars to help service providers and individual community members identify and respond to patterns or coercion or violence. https://www.nwnetwork.org/
  • Forge-Forward - US based organisation that focuses on anti-violence efforts and ageism in the trans community. Resources include guides for trans survivors, trans folks running support groups, and for service providers. https://forge-forward.org/anti-violence/for-survivors/guides-for-survivors/

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to:

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Ontario 211 connects people to non-emergency social services in their community. Dial 211, a three digit phone number. They can assist locating programs and services in your community, including LGBTQ+ services. 

Financial Health

The current pandemic has changed many of our working environments, employment statuses, living situations, and of course, our incomes. Below are some resources that may be helpful:

Programs and services offered by other organisations:

Support for individuals includes:

  • Service Canada’s website has comprehensive information for how to apply for employment insurance (EI) benefits. Some helpful tips:
    • You should apply for EI benefits as soon as your employment ends
    • Prior to the COVID 19 crisis, there was a seven day waiting period and a required record of employment. 
    • The Canadian government’s coronavirus actions have waived the waiting period and it’s now letting you supply the employment record later. 
  • OSAP, Ontario Student Assistance Program, is temporarily deferring OSAP payments from March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020. Find out more information by visiting their site

Community Financial Resources

  • A volunteer CPA has made themselves available to the public for financial assistance. Please email PandemicFinanceQs@gmail.com for any general questions you may have related to:
    • COVID emergency benefits (CERB, gst/ccb boosts, RRIF withdrawals)
    • Changes to filing deadlines and payment deadlines (personal and corporate tax, gst/hst returns)
    • Support for employers (Emergency Wage Subsidy and Temp Wage Subsidy
  • Recently, a Carleton professor Jennifer Robson created a plain-language guide to help folks understand how they can apply government aid. The linked Ottawa Citizen article also  includes a downloadable form
  •  
  • Covid-19 Relief Fund for Ottawa and Area Workers, organized by local queer organizers Luna Allison and Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, this fundraiser with the  goal is to provide each person who requests support with a grant of $100 to help with basic living costs. Learn more or Donate.

Housing Information

As always, for up to date information about the current Coronavirus situation, head to: