about us

agency overview

Turning Point (formally the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society) was established on May 9th, 1988 as a community-based response to Central Alberta’s HIV/AIDS crisis. In addition to health promotion, the charity has since expanded its reach, incorporating programming specific to harm reduction, night reach, rural outreach, overdose prevention, and a women’s program. Today, Turning Point Society delivers harm reduction and STBBI prevention supplies, services, and programming to a wide range of vulnerable individuals across Central Alberta.

our mission:

Building individual and community capacity, using evidence-informed practices

our vision:

Respect and dignity for all, in a safe and healthy community

land acknowledgement

Turning Point Society acknowledges that we are situated in Waskasoo SeePee (Red Deer) on Treaty 7, the traditional territory and meeting place of the Blackfoot, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples and that the Central Alberta region we serve rests on Treaty 6, ancestral Métis, Cree, and Saulteaux territory. We honour our relationships with the First Peoples of this land and are grateful for past, present, and future opportunities to collectively build healthier and safer communities. 

A welcoming space

Turning Point works to create a welcoming environment and the beginning of trusting relationships with potential service users by inviting people to drop by; offering space to relax and read the newspaper, enjoy a cup of coffee and receive messages and mail, to name a few. Some visitors to Turning Point access services, while others are aware of programs but do not identify as in need of support.

The Turning Point office has a non-judgmental, open, helpful atmosphere where community members know that our staff are open and flexible to provide extra support, such as filling out applications or problem-solving. Word of mouth is often the best advertising for Turning Point programs, especially for the Harm Reduction Programming. Turning Point assures privacy and confidentiality in all of our programs including people living with HIV who contact the Health Promotion Program for services.

Embracing complex needs and offering confidential, individualized information and/or supplies for safer substance use, safer sex, and reproductive health are where our programs coalesce to meet people where they are at with acceptance, compassion, respect, collaboration, and empowerment.

our community

For over 30 years, Turning Point has developed relationships with the following priority populations:

  • People using substances, including drug injection; Street involved individuals; Women at risk, with a focus on women of childbearing age; Indigenous peoples; the LGBTQ2+ community; Individuals living with, or at risk of sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBI); Ethnocultural communities; Individuals engaged in the sale, trade, or purchase of sex.

Turning Point continues to identify and support the complex needs of these populations, providing education, supplies, and services with compassion, confidentiality, respect, collaboration, and empowerment.

Our Timeline

  • 1988

    A Community Response

    May 9, 1988 – In the midst of the AIDS pandemic in Canada, community members in Central Alberta saw a need for health promotion and formed the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society (CAANS). This organization not only worked to provide greater awareness and support for those affected by AIDS but to dispel the harmful stigma preventing individuals from addressing their sexual health.

  • 1998

    Harm Reduction

    In addition to health promotion, CAANS implemented a Harm Reduction program in 1998 in response to the high rates of transmission of HIV through injection drug use.

    1998

  • 2010

    NightReach

    With an increasing street-involved population, our community saw a need for a mobile outreach team. In 2010, CAANS developed NightReach, offering homeless individuals and those using drugs critical supplies, referrals, and supports 365 evenings a year.

  • 2011

    Rural Outreach

    Our Rural Outreach program was born in 2010 in response to increased cases of drug-related harm in communities across Central Alberta. In addition to individual support, outreach workers sought to build relationships with local service providers to increase individual access to support services.

    2011

  • 2015

    Women’s Program

    Our Women’s Program took off in 2015, aimed at supporting pregnant women and 6 months post-pregnancy.  A year later, our Women’s Program was opened up to all women of childbearing ages.

  • 2016

    Change of name

    With health promotion no longer being the CAANS’ primary focus, the organization updated its name to Turning Point Society – commonly referred to as Turning Point.

    2016

  • 2018

    Overdose Prevention Site

    In response to Canada’s growing overdose crisis, the community called for the city of Red Deer to establish a facility for monitoring drug consumption and for responding to adverse events, such as an overdose. In 2018, Turning Point implemented its Overdose Prevention program as well as a temporary Overdose Prevention site in collaboration with the city.

  • 2020

    Giving Back

    The Giving Back program was established in 2020 as a small income opportunity for our clients. Accompanying two Turning Point staff, peer volunteers would walk Red Deer’s downtown to collect needles and other sharps debris and ensure their safe disposal in exchange for a small remuneration.

    2020