John Plater (1967 – 2012)

It is with great sadness that we advise you of the death of John Plater on Saturday, July 28, 2012. John was a valiant champion in our fight against HIV/AIDS, HEP C, Co- infection and Hemophilia. He was 45.

John was a lawyer by training and an activist by nature. He was open about his HIV positive status since the mid 1980s. For more than 25 years John provided dedicated and valiant leadership to improve the health of all of us. With his quiet determination and legal training, John opened many doors and was committed to improving the lives of all of us, particularly the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, HEP C, Co- infection and Hemophilia. He was a champion for all and opposed the criminalization of HIV.

Simultaneously, John served as a powerful advocate of people living with HIV, and with Hep-C. He became the youngest President of Hemophilia Ontario, in 1991, and served again in that position from 2001-2003 and 2004-2006. He served on the National Board of the Canadian Hemophilia Society for 14 years and chaired the Canadian Hemophilia Society’s HIV/HCV Task Force for many years. He was an honourary life member of Hemophilia Ontario.

John was the Co- Chair of the Federal Ministerial Council on HIV/AIDS from 2007-2011. He also served previously as the Co-Chair of the Ontario Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (OACHA) and as Chair of the Ontario Hepatitis C Task force. He also served for a brief time on the Board of the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO).

In 2006, in recognition of his exceptional service and advocacy he was presented the Ontario AIDS Network’s Social Justice in HIV/AIDS Award. His ability to challenge authority when it was ignorant and lacking in compassion was celebrated. In 2009 John assisted the OAN by providing legal coaching to the Hart House debating team at the University of Toronto, when the OAN organized a public debate on the criminalization of HIV status. John generously provided legal arguments in opposition to the criminalization of people with HIV.
John was never too busy to lend a hand, to provide a legal perspective or to offer encouragement. The Ontario AIDS Network joins the entire AIDS movement in mourning our loss and in celebrating his many achievements. We extend our sympathy and support to John’s wife Karen, his family and large circle of friends.

John’s funeral will take place at Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury on Thursday, August 2nd at 1:30 pm. Donations to the Canadian Hemophilia Society, the Beaver Valley Outreach would be appreciated. Further information on arrangements and donations may be found at

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