Status Quo is No Longer an Option

Towards a Coalition on Action Against Indigenous Specific Racism in Health Care

Watch the conference recordings:
YouTube – BC Friendship Centres

What do we want access to healthcare to look like in five years? How do we get there?
Join us on June 1, 2021, for a generative conversation on action towards creating a safe health care system for Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous thought leaders will draw from their experiences as both patients and providers in Canada’s health system to discuss:
  • Tangible steps towards eliminating Indigenous specific racism and discrimination from Canada’s health system.
  • Solutions that are empowering Indigenous people to share their truths and define the pathway to safe health care.
  • Why current strategies for addressing racism in health care aren’t working—status quo is no longer an option.

Presenting Partners


Nancy Laliberte
Population & Public Health,
University of British Columbia

Tânsi, I am Nancy Laliberte, I am Nêhiyaw/Métis from the Beaver River area of what is now known as Saskatchewan. I currently live on the traditional, ancestral territory of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and work in the unceded land of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/ Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. I am a daughter, sister, auntie and friend. Learn more.

Leslie Varley
Executive Director,

Leslie, a member of the Killer Whale clan of the Nisga’a Nation, is a committed social justice advocate working for Indigenous peoples. She is the Executive Director of British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, an umbrella agency supporting 25 Friendship Centres. Learn more.

Speakers— check back for updates!

Dr. Cheryl Ward
Executive Director,
Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA)

Dr. Cheryl Ward is Kwakwaka’wakw and a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation from northern Vancouver Island. She and her family have been living as guests on the territory of the Snuneymuxw people for the past twenty years. Deeply committed to social justice education, decolonizing anti-racism training, and the development of Indigenous cultural safety pedagogy, Cheryl has more than twenty-five years of experience working on initiatives focusing on Indigenous cultural safety (ICS) and anti-Indigenous racism. Learn more.

Dr. Barry Lavallee 
Chief Executive Officer,
Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc.

Dr. Barry Lavallee is a member of the Metis community of St. Laurent, Manitoba and a descendent of Duck Bay and Lake Manitoba First Nations. Education and Experience as a Practitioner. He received his medical degree in 1988 and completed his training in family medicine in 1990, all at the University of Manitoba. He is a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Certified in the College of Family Physicians (CCFP Canada), a Fellow of the College of Family Physicians (FCFP Canada), and earned a Master of Clinical Sciences Degree in 2004 at Western Ontario University. Learn more.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine
Anesthesiologist, Canadian Medical Association President-Elect (Fall 2021), Safespace Networks

Dr. Alika Lafontaine (MD, FRCPC) is a past-President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the first Indigenous physician listed by the Medical Post as one of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Doctors. For four years, he co-led the Indigenous Health Alliance project, one of the most ambitious Indigenous health transformation initiatives in Canadian history. Learn more.

Dr. Kamea Lafontaine
Chief Executive Officer, Intelli Network,
Safespace Networks

Kamea is the CEO of Intelli Network, a Calgary-based technology company. He is a software developer, technology executive, and public safety leader. He is a Director with Crime Stoppers, Director of Indigenous Affairs with the Canadian Blockchain Consortium, and Emergency Management working group lead for the Government Blockchain Association. Learn more.

Dr. Annette Browne
Professor, University of British Columbia
School of Nursing

Dr. Browne studies health and healthcare inequities, with a particular focus on health inequities affecting Indigenous peoples. She conducts research on strategies to enhance equity-oriented health care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, including interventions to address systemic racism and discrimination, and support the uptake of cultural safety and trauma- and violence-informed care. Her work is aimed at promoting health equity through improvements in nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and health policy.

Dr. Colleen Varcoe
Professor, University of British Columbia
School of Nursing

Dr. Colleen Varcoe, RN, PhD is a professor in the University of British Columbia School of Nursing. Her work aims to decrease inequity and violence including interpersonal and structural forms of violence such as racism and poverty. She has studied how to promote equity-oriented healthcare (cultural safety, harm reduction, and trauma- and violence-informed care) at the organizational level and worked with various Indigenous communities, organizations and issues, including in health care and criminal justice contexts.

Dr. Lisa Calder
Chief Executive Officer,
Canadian Medical Protective Association

Dr. Lisa Calder was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) in August 2020. Dr. Calder is an award winning emergency physician, researcher, and teacher, who completed her Medical Degree at the University of Western Ontario. She has a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Ottawa, where she also completed her Royal College Emergency Medicine residency and an Emergency Medicine research fellowship. Learn more.

Donna Wilson
Executive Vice President, People and Diagnostic & Treatment Services, PHSA

Donna Wilson is the Executive Vice President at the Provincial Health Services Authority in British Columbia. She holds executive accountability for Indigenous Health & Cultural Safety, corporate functions including Legal/Risk/Privacy and Communications.  In addition she is responsible for Diagnostic and Treatment Services which include the Provincial Laboratory Medicine Services, Lower Mainland diagnostic imaging and Lower Mainland in-hospital pharmacy services. Learn more.


8:00-9:00 a.m.
Opening and Introductions
Charlie George, Gerry Oleman, Leslie Varley, and Nancy Laliberte
9:00-9:30 a.m.
Status Quo is No Longer an Option– Introduction and Q&A
Presented by Dr. Colleen Varcoe and Dr. Annette Browne
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Apathy and Restrained Silence: Settler Formation in the killing fields
Presented by Dr. Barry Lavallee
10:30-11:00 a.m.
Panel Discussion and Q&A
With Dr. Barry Lavallee, facilitated by Nancy Laliberte
11:00-12:00 p.m.
Moving Anti-Indigenous Racism Inside Organizations: What We Have Learned!
Presented by Donna Wilson and Dr. Cheryl Ward
12:00-12:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion and Q&A
With Donna Wilson and Dr. Cheryl Ward, facilitated by Leslie Varley
12:30-1:00 p.m
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Safespace Networks: A reporting and learning platform to support safe health care
Presented by Dr. Alika Lafontaine, Dr. Kamea Lafontaine
How data can be used to increase patient safety and quality
Presented by Dr. Lisa Calder
2:00-2:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion and Q&A
With Dr. Alika Lafontaine, Dr. Kamea Lafontaine, and Dr. Lisa Calder, facilitated by Nancy Laliberte
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Forming a National Coalition on Anti-Indigenous Racism and Safe Reporting
With all available panel members, facilitated by Dr. Barry Lavallee
3:30-4:00 p.m.
Closing and Final Statements
Charlie George, Gerry Oleman, Leslie Varley, and Nancy Laliberte