Giving the Red Light the Green Light – Would Legalizing Prostitution Change Canada?

Featured Speakers Bios

James Blanchard, Director of the Centre for Global Public Health,  Faculty of Health Sciences, Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology and Global Public Health

Dr. James Blanchard (alumnus) is a Professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences and Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Health Sciences; Director of the Centre for Global Public Health; and Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology and Global Public Health. He is an epidemiologist and public health specialist focusing on global health. He received an MD from the University of Manitoba and an MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on how the characteristics of individuals, communities and large populations contribute to the local and global distribution of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Over the past fifteen years he has also provided leadership to the design and implementation of large public health programs related to HIV/AIDS and maternal, neonatal and child health in India, other Asian countries and Africa. He is actively engaged with policy makers and public health leaders to translate scientific knowledge and approaches to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public health programs, with an emphasis on improving the health of disadvantaged populations.

Shawna Ferris, Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies

Dr. Shawna Ferris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts. She researches and teaches in the areas of sex work/prostitution, critical race studies, decolonization, and violence against women, with an emphasis on representation and resistance. Her book, Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities: Resisting a Dangerous Order, is available this fall from University of Alberta Press. Currently, she is working with Mamawipawin Director Dr. Kiera Ladner (Political Studies and Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Governance) to develop three separate but related digital archives: the Sex Work Database, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Database, and the Post-apology Indian Residential School Database. In partnership with Sex Professionals of Canada Executive Director Amy Lebovitch, Shawna recently began a project examining sex worker activism in Canada.

Nahanni Fontaine, Special Advisor on Aboriginal Women’s Issues, Government of Manitoba

Nahanni Fontaine is currently employed as Special Advisor on Aboriginal Women’s Issues for the Aboriginal Issues Committee of Cabinet of Manitoba, with particular focus on Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls. 

Ms. Fontaine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg in Environmental Studies and International Development, and a Masters of Arts degree in Native Studies, Women’s Studies and Critical Theory from the University of Manitoba.
Ms. Fontaine is currently on leave from the University of Manitoba Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program.

Ms. Fontaine has served the Aboriginal community regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally on a number of boards and committees, including the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board, Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the United Nations Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ms. Fontaine has won many awards, scholarships and fellowships, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Scholarship, YMCA Women of Distinction Award and a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case.  

Ms. Fontaine is Status Ojibway from the Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation in southern Manitoba.