On February 26, 2021 the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced that members in Alberta voted Dr. Alika Lafontaine as a nominee for CMA president in 2022–23.
Pending confirmation of his nomination by CMA General Council this August, Dr. Lafontaine will serve as president-elect until August 2022, when he will become CMA president.
This will make him the first Indigenous nominee for CMA president in its history; Dr. Lafontaine will also be the first nominee for CMA president of Pacific Islander descent.
This election cycle saw the inclusion of two Indigenous candidates for the first time, the second being Dr. James Makokis.
The CMA said in a press release, “Having witnessed the impacts of the pandemic on the lives of physicians, Dr. Lafontaine promoted the issues of healthy working conditions, the physician social contract and the creation of a culturally safe health system.”
“Among the actions he emphasized was achieving national licensure, an important step in preparing Canadian physicians for future health care crises.”
Dr. Lafontaine was born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory (Southern Saskatchewan) and has Anishinaabe, Cree, Metis and Pacific Islander ancestry.
“Mobility, employability and collaboration should exist in a post-pandemic world, along with the decreased stress, burnout and improved wellness that will result,” said Dr. Lafontaine.
“It’s also time to eliminate racism, sexism, ableism, classism and all other ‘-isms’ that permeate health system culture.”
From 2013 to 2017, Dr. Lafontaine co-led the Indigenous Health Alliance, a health transformation project involving 150 First Nations and several national health organizations. In 2018, the federal government allocated $68 million to Indigenous communities involved in the project.
Dr. Lafontaine holds leadership positions with many organizations, including Alberta Health Services, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. In 2021, he was also listed on the Medical Post’s “Doctors with Sway,” a list of the top 30 most influential physicians in Canada based on peer feedback.
Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Read more from AlbertaNativeNews.com