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Four recipients of the 2022 Awards of Excellence in Nursing announced from Indigenous Services Canada

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

News release

May 9, 2022 — Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Under pressure in rapidly evolving settings, nurses can be relied upon to adapt, evaluate and make critical decisions for the patients whose lives rest in their hands. With the unique healthcare challenges that present in often remote and isolated First Nations and Inuit communities, these skills can become a matter of life or death.

On the first day of National Nursing Week and on Indigenous Nurses Day, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced the outstanding and extraordinary recipients of the 2022 Awards of Excellence in Nursing:

  • Lee Ann Sock, a proud Migmag from Elsipogtog First Nation who played an integral part in ensuring the community’s safety and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hannah Gray, an Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) nurse in Sandy Lake First Nation with a love of the north and a dedication to creating an environment of integrity and learning in nursing stations.
  • Alexa Bisaillon, a passionate advocate for decolonized, trauma-informed healthcare and the right to self-determination as a cornerstone of Indigenous health, working in Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations.
  • Elizabeth Oguntuase, a lifelong learner providing healthcare to Inuit in Qikiqtarjuaq in a setting that fosters cultural fluency and cultural intelligence.

Recipients have demonstrated the highest degree of commitment to their nursing practices through exceptional initiative, compassion and efforts. Frontline nurses in First Nations and Inuit communities who receive the award are nominated by peers and selected based on their sound judgement, professionalism and culturally safe healthcare work.

Nursing in First Nations and Inuit communities encompasses far more than medical services and procedures. In communities rich with diverse culture and traditions, these nurses recognize the necessity in respecting and understanding the people they serve. In doing so, many of them create lifelong connections and form a deep bond with communities. These relationships are integral to reconciliation and building trust within the healthcare system.

To this year’s four recipients, and to all nurses who go above and beyond the call to care for those in need, we thank you for your steadfast support and endless contributions to keeping communities healthy.


“Congratulations and thank you to Lee Ann Sock, Hannah Gray, Alexa Bisaillon, and Elizabeth Oguntuase for your remarkable commitment to improve health in First Nations and Inuit communities across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic made your already difficult work so much harder. Health leaders like you, so many nurses and all frontline workers were heroic in their dedication to keeping people safe. Thank you for all you do to lead and inspire others in your field.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

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For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
[email protected]

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
[email protected]


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