Canadian Medical Association

Fireside Chats on Indigenous Health


Change starts with open conversation. This spring, CMA President Dr. Alika Lafontaine is leading a series of intimate discussions with Indigenous patients, providers and leaders on how we can move forward, together, on reconciliation.

Session details: 

The sessions will be hosted by Tanya Talaga, author and journalist with The Globe and Mail. 

  • Mon., June 12, 7 pm to 8 pm ET (registration will close at 12 pm ET on June 12)
    The meaning and importance of an apology to Indigenous Peoples
    Speakers: Dr. Alika Lafontaine, Cassidy Caron and Natan Obed

This series is part of the CMA’s commitment to taking tangible action on reconciliation in health care and working in allyship with First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples on Indigenous-led health reform.

Speaker bios:

photo of Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga is an award-winning Anishinaabe journalist and author of the acclaimed books Seven Fallen Feathers and All Our Relations. She is currently a columnist at The Globe and Mail, following more than 20 years at The Toronto Star, work that’s earned her five nominations for the Michener Award in public service journalism, a 2017-18 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and three honorary doctorates. She also heads Makwa Creative Inc., a production company focused on amplifying Indigenous voices through documentary films, TV and podcasts. Tanya is of Indigenous and Polish descent — her mother’s family is from Fort William First Nation, her great-grandmother was a residential school survivor, and her great-grandfather an Ojibwe trapper and labourer.

photo of Dr. Alika Lafontaine

Dr. Alika Lafontaine

CMA President Dr. Alika Lafontaine has been a health care leader for more than two decades and is a member of the CMA's Guiding Circle. He is a past president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, a board member with HealthCareCAN and from 2013 to 2017 he co-led the Indigenous Health Alliance, which advocated for $68 million in federal funding on behalf of more than 150 First Nations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. In 2020, Dr. Lafontaine launched Safespace Networks, a platform for patients and providers to report racism in the health system and contribute to change. Maclean’s named him the country’s top health innovator in their 2023 Power List, and he was the first Indigenous physician listed in Medical Post’s 50 Most Powerful Doctors. Dr. Lafontaine has Métis, Oji-Cree and Pacific Islander ancestry. He continues to practice anesthesiology in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Cassidy Caron

Cassidy Caron

Cassidy Caron is the first woman elected as the President of the Métis National Council. With roots in the historic Métis communities of Batoche and St. Louis, Sask., she grew up closely connected to her traditions, heritage and culture. From 2016 to 2020, she was elected to the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), serving as the organization’s youth chair and minister responsible for youth. Ms. Caron has also consulted on both provincially and nationally administered programs supporting Indigenous Peoples. Her work incorporates innovative approaches to community development and nation-building, which promote effective collaboration and deeper understanding between Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians.  

Natan Obed

Natan Obed

Natan Obed is the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, serving as the national spokesperson representing Canada’s more than 70,000 Inuit. He was first elected in 2015 and was acclaimed to his third consecutive term in 2021. As president, he implements the direction set out by Inuit leadership from the four regions of Inuit Nunangat — the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. He also serves as vice-president of Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada. Mr. Obed grew up in Nain, the northernmost community in Labrador’s Nunatsiavut region. He graduated from Tufts University in 2001.   

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