Leila Gillis

Candidate for Board Director


Leila Gillis

Deputy Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Director, Primary Care Services
Indigenous Services Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

Watch candidate’s campaign video

Statement of philosophy

My roots in Newfoundland and Labrador have been the foundation of a national nursing career of action and advocacy impacting rural and remote health care. My work with Indigenous populations at the local, provincial, regional, and national levels has influenced healthcare delivery over nearly three decades. My public service has been committed to nursing practice and the full ownership and control of health services by and for First Nations and Inuit.

I believe in the power of diplomacy and the synergies that are achieved through working across jurisdictions as I have throughout my career and as Indigenous Services Canada’s representative on the FPT Principle Nursing Advisors Task Force, I contributed to the Vision for Nursing in Canada paper and have continued to collaborate on its implementation.

As a federal nurse leader, I have championed strategic initiatives ranging from comprehensive strategies addressing communities in crisis, to the development of a national Nursing Health Human Resources Framework for the Department of Indigenous Services Canada.

My knowledge of the unique needs for nursing services in indigenous communities will add value to the strategic direction of CNA to address racism, discrimination and implementation of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Platform message

I have built strong positive relationships with many key national and international nursing partners, including the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Nurses Foundation, Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators, World Health Association and the International Council of Nurses.

In my federal leadership role I work within a multi-jurisdictional nursing practice environment and am committed to advancing the ease of mobility of the Canadian nursing workforce across the country. I also believe that Canada and its jurisdictions need to come together to advance more streamlined access and career pathways for Internationally Educated Nurses, while paying close attention to ethical recruitment practices as outlined in the WHO Code. It is, however, imperative that this work occur simultaneously with continuing international support for the advancement of the nursing profession around the world and further planning for longer-term home-grown solutions.

I am an enthusiastic agent of change and would bring this to the CNA Board. I have collaborated and contributed to system innovations, most recently as the only nurse jury panel member on a collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency on their Deep Space Healthcare Challenge. This Challenge promotes the development of autonomous diagnostic and therapeutic supports for rural and remote health services that may also benefit Astronaut health while on deep space missions.

My career evolution over the last 30 years has built the system expertise and leadership competencies necessary to add a valuable federal nurse leadership perspective to the CNA Board of Directors.

Biographical information

My nursing roots began as an RN Diploma graduate (1990), I continued on my education journey to graduate from both St Francis Xavier University (BScN) and Dalhousie University (MN).

I am a career public servant, currently serving as Indigenous Services Canada’s Deputy Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Director of Primary Care Services. In my Deputy CNO role, I perform key leadership function for nursing in the Department including union – management negotiations, occupational health and safety and recruitment and retention for a national nursing workforce of over 850 nurses. I am responsible additionally to advocate nationally for thousands of First Nation and Inuit employed nurses through policy and funding requests all in collaboration with partners such as the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.

I regularly work across health jurisdictions collaborating with provincial, national and international nursing organizations and I have significant experience at all these levels having participated in numerous task forces and professional collaborations. In May, 2021, I was invited to join the Canadian delegation at the 74th World Health Assembly, where I delivered a statement on behalf of Canada on health in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; and the health workforce.