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CNA announces inaugural leader in new Indigenous Leaders Series

Ottawa, March 9, 2020 — In celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has put an increased focus on its leadership activities. Organized by CNA’s new Canadian Academy of Nursing, we are pleased today to launch our Indigenous Leaders Series for 2020. Joining us in Ottawa for the celebration is our inaugural visiting leader, Dr. Mike DeGagné, president and vice-chancellor of Nipissing University.

“First Nations, Inuit and Métis are diverse populations whose health has been negatively affected by all social determinants of health, as well as a complex history of colonialism, racism and residential schools,” said Claire Betker, president of CNA. “Ultimately, the goal of having the Indigenous Leaders Series is to help CNA have honest conversations to identify and confront colonial or other excluding sorts of structures in our governance, membership and employment practices. Through this series we intend to share lessons and wise practices, and think through tough questions — such as how CNA can respond to the historical roles of nurses in residential schools, hospitals and social systems.”

Michael Villeneuve, chief executive officer of CNA, said, “Dr. DeGagné is the ideal person to help us launch this important new series of conversations. Among many roles in his distinguished career, Dr. DeGagné was the founding executive director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, a national organization established to come to terms with the legacy of residential schools. He has the knowledge, experience and skills to help us at CNA.” Dr. DeGagné holds doctoral and master’s degrees in education, administration and law, is a member of the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario, and was given the Indspire Award for Public Service.

The Indigenous Leaders Series will last for the duration of 2020. Each season, CNA will invite a different Indigenous leader to work with our board of directors and staff to help us move forward in our journey related to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The next visiting leader will be announced later this spring.


About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association is a powerful, unified voice for the Canadian nursing profession. We represent regulated and retired nurses in all 13 provinces and territories. We advance the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

For more information, please contact:

Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-237-2159, ext. 114
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca