Peer Worker Support and Compensation

Peer associate Antonio Marante presents poster of BC Stigma Index at CAHR conference.

Many of PAN’s member organizations support people with lived experience in volunteering, working, or holding leadership positions. Peers’ lived experiences are critical parts of building projects and programs. The GIPA/MIPA (Greater/Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV) principles; Nothing About Us, Without Us: (Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs) principles and HCV Manifesto are becoming more entrenched in community.

When engaging peers, there are a variety of different methods that are chosen to support and compensate workers with lived experience.  There is no single approach to support or compensation for peers and each organization must assess what is appropriate for them and their circumstances.  Several larger organizations in the sector have released their guidelines and best practices surrounding peer compensation.



PAN Policies and Procedures for Peer work – (PAN, 2018) Our policy and procedures support people with lived experiences in employment and volunteer organizations at PAN, which are rooted in the principles of Greater/Meaningful Involvement of People with AIDS (GIPA/MIPA) and Nothing About Us Without Us


Peer Compensation and Resources (PAN) – This blog post discusses the entrenchment of Nothing About Us, Without Us principles in the sector, and provides resources surrounding equitable compensation for and best practices in peer engagement.


PAN’s CBR Tip Sheet – Compensating Peer Researchers – In community-based research, compensating people with lived experience to participate actively in the research process is a common practice. This document was developed by PAN with a provincial working group made up of members of the CBR Quarterly Meetings. It outlines some important considerations to take into account when developing compensation plans and policies for community-based research.

PAN’s Checklist for for CBR teams- what needs to be in place to support peer researchers (2019)

For more information on Peer Researchers specifically, please visit PAN’s Peer Researchers page.


Peer Group Start Up Guide
This resource developed by peers and for peers answers important questions and things to think about when setting up a support group, including what peer support does (and doesn’t) do, facilitation, confidentiality, group guidelines and more. If you are setting up a support group, check this guide for tips. Trans Care BC, November 2019.

Peer Toolkit: Support toolkit for people living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C (Interior Health) – This toolkit provides practical guidance and tools to assist community based organizations or groups to deliver social and emotional peer support services to people living with HIV and/or hepatitis (Hep C).


Peer Payment Standards (BCCDC) – This BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) Peer Payment Standards guide helps outline payment amounts and methods to use when engaging peers across the province. Although intended for use internally by the BCCDC, these standards are also available for consideration by other community-based and public sector health care organizations to inform equitable peer payment. People who have lived experience with drug use, either past or present, are often consulted as experts and use their lived experience to inform effective health service programming and delivery to reduce health inequities and achieve social justice.


Peer Payment Standards for Short-Term Engagements (BCCDC) – This document, originally produced for internal use at the BCCDC, provides detailed approaches and payment rates for various kinds of peer work, as well as resources and templates for use in navigating peer compensation.


A guide for paying peer research assistants: Challenges and Opportunities (BCCDC/UBC) – This resource from the BCCDC and UBC discusses options and approaches to ensuring equitable pay for peer research assistants. It provides an overview of some common approaches, as well as discussing some common barriers to equitable pay with suggestions on how to overcome them in your own work.


Developing Peer Engagement Best Practices for BC Health Authorities For Effective Harm Reduction (PEEP, BCCDC and Toward the Heart) – This resource, developed through the work of the Peer Engagement and Evaluation project (PEEP), discusses benefits of peer engagement and considerations for agencies looking to begin doing peer engagement within work around harm reduction. It also provides a list of best practices for BC Health Authorities that are working with peer engagement.


Peer Engagement Principles and Best Practices: A guide for BC Health Authorities and other providers (BCCDC, UBC, PHSA, Peter Wall Institute, Toward the Heart and BC HRSS ) – This document, developed by PEEP, provides an in-depth look at best practices surrounding peer engagement in work around harm reduction. It focuses on supporting organizations through the entire process of peer engagement, from preparing to engage to the completion of a project.


Are You Peer Advisor-Ready? (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This tool, developed by Vancouver Coastal Health, is intended to help organizations assess their readiness in starting a peer advisory approach. It contains a flowchart, as well as tips for working with peer advisors.


How do you compensate peers or people with lived experience?  (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This blog post by Vancouver Coastal Health provides tips and external resources to guide thinking around equitably compensating peers.


Peer Framework for Health-Focused Peer Positions in the Downtown Eastside (Vancouver Coastal Health) – This framework, developed by Vancouver Coastal Health, provides detailed descriptions of various levels and forms of peer work with associated compensation levels.


Trauma Informed Practice Guide People with lived experience may have past or ongoing trauma experiences that impact their sense of safety, affecting participation in community work. Awareness of the links between trauma and substance use, stigma and other challenges is important in working with people with lived experiences who may be called upon to use difficult experiences to shape change. Having an understanding of Trauma Informed Practice can help communities support people with lived experiences, especially those who use drugs, to get involved.


HIV CBR Ethics: Ethical Issues Related to Compensation (Guta, et al at – This factsheet presents some orientation around the ethics of peer compensation, including why, how much, when, and whom we compensate. It also discusses considerations around compensating individuals that may be considered “vulnerable”, including people who use drugs, people who are street involved, and sex workers.


Peer Research in Action I  Models of Practice (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) – This research study by the Wellesley Institutes examines three different “models of practice of peer research” and their application in CBR in Toronto. The study discusses the strengths and limitations of each of these models, as well as providing recommendations to organizations that may be considering a peer research approach in their work.


Peer Research in Action II  Management Support and Supervision (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) – This study takes a look at approaches to the Human resources aspects and labour relationship. It covers topics that include recruitment, hiring processed, remuneration considerations, training and support.


Peer Research in Action III – Ethical Issues (Wellesley Institute, York University, and University of Toronto) –  This report provides an overview of the research findings covering ethical challenges in adopting a peer researcher approach.