A community builder and social justice advocate, Allison Fisher has dedicated her career to creating a safe space where First Peoples can live and celebrate their cultures.
Allison has helped to create such a space as the executive director of the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, which serves more than 14,000 Indigenous people through its culturally-based health programs and services every year.
Allison joined the centre less than a year after it opened its doors in 1998, and is now leading the centre through a $16 million capital expansion. In Allison’s words, the renovated centre is “the heart, identity and expression of Aboriginal people in Ottawa.” It offers enhanced mental health and maternal wellness services, as well as social enterprise initiatives and a cultural gathering space for the neighbourhood and broader community
In addition to her work with the Wabano Centre, Allison is a founding and continuing member of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, and a former board member with the Community Foundation of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission.
Allison Fisher brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to build healthy and inclusive communities. For example, she worked with Ottawa Police Services to develop a protocol for more culturally respectful policing. She also partnered with schools, community agencies and government to develop practical, culturally-appropriate approaches to better support urban Indigenous children and families.
In recognition of her community leadership, Allison has received numerous awards which most recently include:
- Governor General’s Meritorius Service Medal, 2015
- Order of Ontario, 2014
- DreamKEEPERS Citation for Community Outstanding Leadership (Martin Luther King award), 2014
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2013
- Order of Ottawa, 2012
- St Joseph’s Women’s Center Quality of Life Award, 2012
- Leading Women, Building Communities Award, Ontario Women’s Directorate, 2010
- President’s Recognition Award, Quartier Vanier, 2010
- Marion Dewar Defender of the Public Good Award, 2008
- Debut Group of the Year – Women of Wabano, Ninth Annual Native American Music Awards, 2007
Allison was born and raised in the First Nation community of Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She has more than 30 years of experience in advocacy, management, research, and policy analysis—including 17 years in the federal public service. She holds a Masters of Education degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Western Ontario.