The Victoria Forum 2024
The Victoria Forum 2024 - Building Trust for a Shared Future

Hearing the Call:

Responses to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission


Hearing the Call:

Responses to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission

Date: Sep 9, 2021

Canada’s dark past of residential schools and the ongoing impact on survivors, friends, family and loved ones can only begin to be resolved by all members of society coming together and creating a joint vision of reconciliation. This webinar will focus on the role of higher education in bridging this divide in our society. It will discuss the responses from higher education institutions to the Calls to Action and include a panel of university leaders to discuss the following questions:

• How have our academic institution responded to the Calls to Action from the TRC?

• What has been achieved to date?

• What are our action plans going forward and what barriers need to be overcome in order to make more progress?


Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson

Senate of Canada

Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson is a Métis from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta. Her 30-year career has been dedicated to serving her community in Alberta, across Canada and around the world—as the director of a Boys and Girls Club in St. Paul in 1990, through 23 years of service at Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA), and Conference Director and Lead Facilitator of the Nelson Mandela Dialogues in Canada, an international gathering of freedom fighters that took place on Enoch Cree Nation in 2017.

Patti’s research for her PhD in Human Ecology (University of Alberta) focused on how Indigenous families and communities experience their own resilience in response to multiple forms of trauma. Her lifelong work has become an extended conversation about healing from historic trauma.

Patti’s perspectives on this conversation are rooted in her transformative experiences of the Cree ceremony. The Elders’ teachings of kindness, respect, humility, and honesty have informed her life as well as her research into best practices for Indigenous offender healing, domestic violence, and historic trauma-informed service delivery. Her most recent research bridges neuroscience and Indigenous knowledge of child development, as well as finding common ground between Western and Indigenous water science.

As a recognized catalyst for change, Dr. LaBoucane-Benson was appointed to Alberta Ministerial Panel for Child Intervention (2017-18) that resulted in Bill 18: Child Protection and Accountability Act. The primary focus of the panel was reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care in Alberta.

Patti brought her PhD research to life through a work of creative non-fiction, an award-winning graphic novel—The Outside Circle (House of Anansi, 2015)—that tells the story of an inner-city Aboriginal family who transcend poverty, gang affiliation, and hopelessness. Her teaching materials are used in classrooms across Canada and in training sessions for professionals.

Dr. LaBoucane-Benson continues to share her knowledge of healing from historic trauma with educators, healthcare professionals, lawyers and policy makers, as well as Indigenous communities. She believes that healing and reconciliation dialogue is the way forward in Canada, with focus on surfacing the common ground between Western and Indigenous people. The best, most useful policy and legislation will reflect this shared space that unites us as a society.


Dr. Kevin Hall

President and Vice-chancellor, University of Victoria

Kevin Hall is the eighth president and vice-chancellor in the University of Victoria’s 57-year history. President Hall is an innovative academic leader known for his strong commitment to sustainability, innovation, community engagement, and an unwavering belief in truth, respect and reconciliation, equitable access to education, and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Throughout his career as a senior administrator working for three world-class institutions, Hall has served at many levels and functions at a university—from faculty member, research centre director and department chair, vice-president and senior deputy vice-chancellor of global engagement and partnerships at the University of Newcastle (UON) in New South Wales, Australia, and now as president and vice-chancellor at the University of Victoria.

Professor Christopher Manfredi

Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic, McGill

Christopher Manfredi has served as Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at McGill University since July 1, 2015 and was reappointed for a second five-year term in October 2019. As the University’s chief academic officer and chief budget officer, he supports the university’s mission by providing academic leadership and sound administrative management.

Prior to becoming Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Professor Manfredi was the Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Arts, a position he held for two terms between 2006 and 2015. He joined McGill’s Department of Political Science in 1988, and served as Chair of the Department from 2000 to 2006, with one year for a sabbatical.

Professor Manfredi earned his PhD from the Claremont Graduate University in 1987. He also holds an MA from Claremont, and an MA and BA from the University of Calgary. His research interests include judicial politics, constitutional design, constitutional theory, law and politics, and legal mobilization. He has published extensively in academic and professional journals, has authored or edited seven books, and is a highly regarded political and legal commentator.

Professor Manfredi has made Indigenous success a cornerstone of his mandate as Provost. In 2016, he launched the Provost’s Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education. The Task Force identified 52 Calls to Action in the areas of student recruitment and retention, physical representation and symbolic recognition, academic programs and curriculum, research and faculty recruitment, and human resources.

Dr. Vianne Timmons

President and Vice-chancellor, Memorial University

Dr. Vianne Timmons became the 13th president and vice-chancellor of Memorial in April 2020, coming from the University of Regina where she had served as president since 2008.

Dr. Timmons grew up in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador and moved to Nova Scotia during high school. She holds a BA (Mt. Allison), B.Ed. (Acadia), M.Ed. (Gonzaga) and PhD (Calgary).

She comes from Mi’kmaw ancestry and her great-great-great grandmother was born in Conne River.

Her many awards include being named Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women on four occasions; an Indspire Award for Education in 2019; and a Partner in Education from Nunavut Arctic College in recognition of her support for northern education programs. In 2017 she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her lifetime contributions to inclusive education, family literacy, Indigenous post-secondary education and women’s leadership.

Dr. Timmons played a key role in getting funding restored to First Nations University in Saskatchewan and was honoured with a Star Blanket by the students.

An active volunteer, Dr. Timmons currently serves on various boards and committees, including as co-chair, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, and member of the Planning Phase Advisory Committee, Office of the Auditor General of Canada’s Education in Northwest Territories Performance Audit.

She has done extensive research on the Indigenous students experience at both the post-secondary and K-12 levels (in particular Mi’kmaw communities).

Professor Bill Flanagan

President and Vice-chancellor, University of Alberta

Born and raised in Alberta, Bill joins the University of Alberta from Queen’s University, where he served as the dean of law for 14 years from 2005 to 2019. He holds a BA (English and Philosophy) from Carleton University, a JD from the University of Toronto, a DEA in International Economic Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and an LLM from Columbia University. His scholarly work spans property law, corporate law and international trade law.

Under his leadership, the university is embarking on a major program of academic and administrative restructuring guided by the University of Alberta of Tomorrow proposal, his five-year vision for the university.

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