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Western Canada Addiction Forum

Coming Together.

Building Connections.

Challenging our Differences.

May 31 to June 1
Kelowna, BC

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1310 Water St, Kelowna, BC

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2024 Distinguished Speakers

Chris Anhorn

Peer Support Worker, Alberta Health Services

Chris Anhorn has been working in the mental health and addiction field since 2018. He has worked as a Housing First Coordinator, a Client Care Assistant and currently works as a Peer Support Worker for Alberta Health Services. These roles have included, advocating for clients needs, supporting complex case management, system navigation and building therapeutic rapport. Chris has experienced trauma, addictions, homelessness and recovery. He now utilizes his experiences as a tool to help people find hope on their journey. By openly talking about his struggles and successes, Chris has found his passion to help build up trusting relationships and assist individuals to face their fear and talk freely about themselves.

Dr. Pouya Azar


Dr. Pouya Azar is the Head of the Complex Pain and Addiction Service (CPAS), a consult service under the Department of Psychiatry at Vancouver Coastal Health, which provides management of pain, mental health disorders, and substance use disorders across all clinical services at Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. He is also the Addiction Lead at Foundry Vancouver Granville, a consulting physician for adolescent addiction medicine at BC Children’s Hospital, a consulting physician for psychiatry and addiction medicine at British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, a consulting physician for the VGH Transitional Pain Clinic and a clinical instructor at the UBC Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Azar’s clinical and translational research focuses on the development of novel opioid agonist therapy initiation protocols.

Dr. George Budd

Pharm.D., FBCCSU, B.Sc. (Pharm)., R.PEBC., R.Ph.

Addiction Medicine Fellowship (British Columbia Centre on Substance Use), Doctor of Pharmacy (Idaho State University), Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Cairo University) George P. Budd, a practicing pharmacist since 1992 from Cairo University, further obtained his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2011 from Idaho State University. He has experience in many different practice settings within the profession such as hospital pharmacy residency, community pharmacy and as a pharmacist-manager in community settings. Former Senior Investigator for the College of Pharmacists of BC (CPBC), and formally a Professional Conduct Review Consultant/Policy Liaison with the BC College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP). Currently a Research Associate at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and a member of the Complex Pain and Addiction Services Team at Vancouver General Hospital. George is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM), a public member on the Professional Practice Standards at BCCNP, a Past-President of the Western Canada Addiction Society, and a former public representative to the Methadone Panel and the Prescription Review Program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.

Dr. Lisa Graves


Lisa Graves is a family physician and graduate of the University of Ottawa. She completed her residency in family medicine and enhanced skills training in maternal and child health at McGill University. She maintains an active practice including addictions with a special interest in women, substance use and pregnancy in Northern Ontario. She is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers including papers related to substance use and pregnancy/breastfeeding. Her clinical, teaching and research interests include medical education, maternal/child health and vulnerable populations. She is currently professor of Family and Community Medicine at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo Michigan.

Dr. Martha Ignaszewski


Dr. Ignaszewski is a Harvard and UCSF trained psychiatrist with board certification in Adult, Addiction, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Canada and the USA. She is the Senior Medical Director of Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders and the Clinical Lead of the Substance Use Response and Facilitation (SURF) Service at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital, and works as the Education Lead and Consulting Psychiatrist with the Complex Pain and Addiction Service (CPAS) at Vancouver General Hospital. She is also an early career researcher and a Research Scientist Co-Lead of the Substance Use Disorder Clinical Research Unit at the Hope to Health Research & Innovation Complex with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Dr. Ignaszewski is passionate about medical education and working with learners across the educational spectrum. Reducing the stigma of addiction and psychiatric conditions, and providing an understanding about the developmental perspective and impacts of social determinants of health on substance use disorders, and the intersection between addiction and concurrent disorders are areas of focus with learners and clinically. Dr. Ignaszewski possesses a background in clinical excellence and research and has held many leadership positions including past roles with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). She has received many awards in recognition of her work including the inaugural WCAF Early Career Leadership Award in Opioid Use Disorder and is thrilled to be joining the WCAF Planning Committee, and previously has been awarded the ASAM Ruth Fox Scholarship Award, the AACAP Educational Outreach Program Award for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residents and the Stuart J. Goldman Psychiatry Education Award, among others. Dr. Ignaszewski has been a speaker at national conferences including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, the California Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Meeting, and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and served on the Scientific Program Committee for the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference. She has authored 33 peer reviewed publications and abstracts in notable journals.​

Conor King

Law Enforcement Veteran

Inspector Conor King is a twenty-five-year veteran of law enforcement and is currently the officer-in-charge of the Victoria Police Department’s Investigative Services Division. He specializes in drug investigations, addiction issues and the intersection of Public Safety and Public Health. King has worked extensively in Major Crime policing and covert operations including criminal intelligence, surveillance and undercover operations. In 2013 King was one of the first officers to detect fentanyl in the illicit drug supply, in what became North America’s Overdose Crisis. Seeing the need for alternate solutions to stop overdose deaths he partnered his agency with experts in mental health and addiction medicine. King has been qualified as an expert witness in the Provincial and Supreme Court of British Columbia on the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, cannabis, MDMA, Psilocybin, methamphetamine, LSD and GHB. For 15 years King has been an educator in the police and medical community, teaching at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canadian Police College and for the Canada Border Services Agency and BC Coroner Service. He’s been a guest lecturer for the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Psychiatry, as well as the British Columbia College of Pharmacists. In 2023 the Governor General of Canada inducted King as a member of the Order of Merit of Police Forces for exceptional service and performance of duty for his contribution to the police profession and community wellness.

Dr. Nick Mathew


Dr. Mathew completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at Yale University and a forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He is board certified in addiction psychiatry, addiction medicine and forensic psychiatry. He is a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. All opinions expressed are his own and not affiliated to any organization.

Dr. Annabel Mead


Physician (Specialist in Addiction Medicine)

Practicing addiction medicine for over 20 years with expertise in women’s health, concurrent psychiatric disorders and pain management. She is a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC. Dr. Mead has worked in many community, inpatient and outpatient treatment settings in Vancouver. These include the Addiction Medicine Consult Service at St Paul’s Hospital and New Dawn Recovery House. She holds the positions of Senior Medical Director, Mental Health and Substance Use, BC Women’s Hospital; Medical Director for BC Correctional Health Services and is the medical lead for the BC Provincial Perinatal Substance Use program.

Jean-Paul Michael

Addiction Case Manager Emergency Room, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto

Jean-Paul Michael serves as an Addiction Case Manager in the Emergency Department at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, applying a harm reduction philosophy to his practice. Before dedicating himself to addiction medicine, Jean-Paul experienced two decades in the depths of his own addiction, primarily as an intravenous drug user. These experiences deeply inform both his professional role and advocacy efforts today. As a Policy Consultant, he advises various national organizations on healthcare reform and social welfare. He also co-hosts 'Captain Hooked: The Addiction Project,' a podcast aimed at dismantling the stigma associated with addiction. With a unique combination of professional expertise and personal history, Jean-Paul passionately advocates for reducing stigma and empowering individuals on their paths to recovery. He is also proud to serve on the Board of Directors for Fife House, actively contributing to the creation of more inclusive and supportive communities.

Dr. Julio S. G. Montaner


A Killam Professor, of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS’ Executive Director and Physician-in-Chief, and the Head of HIV/AIDS, at St. Paul's Hospital, Providence Health Care. Julio is widely recognized as one of the fathers of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which has proven to be exquisitely effective to prevent AIDS and premature death. For his work in this area, The Lancet named him the “King of HAART”. In 2006, he went on to pioneer the notion that HAART also stops HIV transmission. He coined the term “Treatment as Prevention” (TasP), to convey the triple benefit of HAART to stop; 1) progression to AIDS, 2) AIDS deaths, and 3) HIV transmission. In 2015, his TasP-inspired 90-90-90 by 2020 Target was formally endorsed by the UN in 2015, and subsequently his 95-95-95 by 2025 Target was endorsed by the UN in 2021 as the global strategy to “End AIDS as a Pandemic”. Currently, Julio has expanded his efforts to adapt TasP to optimize and accelerate the control of other impactful contagious diseases (including infectious diseases [i.e.: HCV], as well as socially contagious diseases [i.e.: type II Diabetes, COPD, opioid use]), with the ultimate goal to enhance Health Care Sustainability.

Chris Primeau

CEO of Impact Society

Christopher Primeau, CEO of Impact Society, is a distinguished leader in program development and organizational leadership, specializing in the charity and education sectors. With extensive domestic and international experience, Christopher excels in creating and implementing evidence-based youth programs. His work, significantly contributing to the field of resilience, mental health, and well-being education, has been published in renowned academic journals. Currently, Christopher is working with Dr David Nordstokke at the Werklund School of Education on a longitudinal study investigating the long-term increase in resilience among youth participating in the Impact Society's Heroes program. This pivotal research is anticipated to be published soon. And the results of the 4th data point are discussed in this presentation. As a renowned public speaker and thought leader, Christopher offers valuable insights drawn from his extensive research and expertise in youth development and long-term mental health. His profound understanding of addiction and long-term recovery outcomes uniquely positions him to address the challenges faced by our medical professionals and addiction support programs.

Reza Rafizadeh

BSc Pharm, ACPR, BCPP, PhDCan, RPh

A Clinical Pharmacy Specialist for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. He performs translational research and offers clinical pharmacy services, training, and consultation at Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, and BC Psychosis Program. He co-chairs the Annual BC Pacific Psychopharmacology Conference and is an organizing committee member at the monthly BC Psychosis Program Educational Rounds.Reza received his pharmacy degree at UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2012. In 2013, he finished his residency in clinical pharmacy practice with Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services and completed a Psychiatry Pharmacy Specialty Certification in 2016. He is currently a PhD candidate in the UBC Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of medicine. The use of clozapine in people with co-occurring substance use disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders is the topic of his thesis.

Dr. Paul Sobey

MD CCFP(AM), Chief Program Officer

My background is in Family Practice. I completed fellowship training in Addiction Medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University in 1999. Since this time, I have focused my practice on the treatment of patients with addictions. I have had the honour and opportunity to work extensively in educational, residential treatment, hospital and correctional facility settings, as well as medical-legal, occupational, hospital and administrative roles. I am a past President of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, the nationally representative organization for physicians and allied healthcare professionals providing healthcare services for people with addictions. Given I am a person in long term recovery, my practice has always had a recovery medicine focus, assisting people in finding pathways of recovery. In December 2022, two colleagues and I formed ROSC Solutions Group. After a competitive bid process, we were awarded several healthcare contracts by the Government of Alberta. The contract’s scope of work is focused on supporting Alberta’s Recovery Oriented System of Care in addressing addiction and mental health challenges.

Dr. Rob Tanguay


A psychiatrist who completed two fellowships, one in Addiction Medicine and Pain Medicine. He is a clinical assistant professor with the departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. Tanguay is the co-founder, developer, and Chief Medical Officer, at The Newly Institute, a rehabilitation and return to work program dedicated to providing medical and psychological intervention for people living with mental health disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, and chronic pain with evidence-based psychotherapy and trauma-focused therapy. He is the co-chair of the internationally recognized Alberta Pain Strategy and helps lead the Alberta Virtual Pain Program implementation. He is the founder of the Opioid Deprescribing Program with AHS, the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Community Clinic with AHS, and the Transitional Outpatient Pain Program for Spine (TOPPS) clinics with the University of Calgary and is renowned for his innovation in creating clinical programs for complex chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses. He was also the Provincial Medical Lead for Addiction Education for Alberta Health Services (AHS) where he helped develop award winning CME programs for physicians and health care practitioners. Dr. Tanguay has been recognized for his work and is the 2021 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recipient of the Early Career Leadership Award, was inducted into the University of Lethbridge Alumni Honour Society, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. Dr. Tanguay is member of the Calgary Police Commission, recently appointed for a 3-year term. He is the Co-Chair of the Western Canadian Addiction Forum and director of the Canadian Addiction Counsel. Dr. Tanguay has been heavily involved in health policy including helping to lead the Alberta Psychedelic Legislative Committee and the Alberta Safe Supply Legislative Committee. He is a member of the Alberta Recovery Expert Advisory Panel leading the implementation of the Recovery Orientated System of Care. He is a member of the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel for the Government of Alberta and was a member of the Supervised Consumption Review Committee. He also sits on the Policy Committee for the Canadian Society of Addiction medicine (CSAM). Academically, he is involved in research in trauma, addiction, chronic pain, opioids, cannabis, and psychedelics and is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education at the University of Calgary.

Amanda Staller

TLU Counsellor

Amanda Staller recently joined ROSC as a TLU counselor. Ms. Staller is Certified by the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification (CACCF) as an Addiction Counselor. She received her Addictions and Community Support Worker diploma from Vancouver Career College. Ms Staller is also a two -timed published author of Mothers Mothering and Sex Trade and Releasing Hope. Amanda has over a decade of experience working with men and women in addiction from the frontlines to facilitating groups and in community events through a trauma informed lens. Amanda Staller was the recipient of the Courage to Come Back Award 2020 in the addiction category. She is a passionate advocate that recovery is possible for anyone and should be the expected outcome.

Dr. Wiplove Lamba


Wiplove Lamba is a US board certified Addiction Medicine Physician and Psychiatrist. He has worked in several organizations to help build, develop and maintain inpatient and outpatient concurrent disorders care. He can provide the following psychotherapies to patients including motivational interviewing, dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive processing therapy, Community reinforcement approach (and family training), pain reprocessing therapy and emotional awareness and expression therapy. His primary career goal for the past decade has been trying to make addiction medicine a general medical skills, and he has done that through the leading the development and delivery or ECHO AMPI as well as leading over 100 workshops at the local, provincial and national level. Now, his biggest concern is the divide between addiction medicine and psychiatry as is reflected by the divergence in clinical care and treatment guidelines. He hopes to help bridge that gap through dialogue with colleagues and involvement with organizations like the Canadian Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

Dr. Rob Fox


Dr. Fox is a family physician and addiction medicine specialist in a rural indigenous community. He understands the challenges of integrating addictions into primary care. He enjoys learning about other’s solutions and sharing his own. He completed his MD at the University of Alberta and Family Medicine residency at Queen’s University. After thirteen years in practice, he took a sabbatical year to complete the St. Paul’s Hospital Addiction Medicine Fellowship. He is passionate about integrating addictions care into his Family Practice. He also provided addictions consultations for Fraser Health’s Riverstone outpatient addictions clinic for three years. He is now the consulting primary care and addictions specialist at A’yelexw Centre for Hope and Healing, an adult treatment centre on Seabird Island First Nation and at Traverse, a youth treatment in Chilliwack. He has also hosted the BCCSU “Addiction Medicine Podcast” and served on the working committee to develop British Columbia’s High Risk Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder Guidelines.

Dr. Sara K. Binder


Sara Binder is the medical lead and consulting psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Adult Service, Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. She treats adult outpatients who struggle with mood, anxiety, ADHD and substance use disorders. As part of her practice she teaches and supervises psychiatry residents and multidisciplinary students training in mental health. She treats many health care professionals within her practice. Dr. Binder works within a collaborative model of mental health care. She developed and runs an ADHD medication group and an 8 week CBT based ADHD Skills group. Dr Binder served on the board of CADDRA for 7 years and is now on the Advisory Board. She is passionate about caring for patients – both the clinical aspects and in educating healthcare professionals in managing adults with mental health disorders.

Dr. Bill MacEwan


Dr. MacEwan graduated from UBC in medicine and completed his specialty training in psychiatry at UBC in 1987. Academically Dr. MacEwan is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His research interests have been in the study of novel antipsychotics in the treatment of Schizophrenia; he has also been looking at clinical correlates of Schizophrenia, Early Psychosis and Addiction. Currently, Dr. MacEwan is a member of St. Paul’s Hospital Dept of Psychiatry. He is the medical lead for the Downtown Community Court psychiatric teams. Dr. MacEwan is the former Head of Psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital and is the clinical lead in the Hotel Study, a cohort study of the health, addiction and mental health of 500 residents of the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. Bill has worked in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver for the last 25 years.

Susan Tatoosh

Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre; Member of the BC Adapted Therapeutic Community Expert Committee; and 2023 Living Learning Experience - Adapted Therapeutic Community Facilitator Training participant

Susan is of Shuswap Ancestry and is a member of the Hupacaseth First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Territory. She has been actively involved in community volunteer work for the past 45 years both in the Aboriginal and non Aboriginal communities. Her volunteer work has been at the community, municipal, provincial, and national level, serving on boards, communities, task forces, panels and at “round table” discussions. She has worked with the federal government in the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) and the Public Service Commission. She was a founding partner in the Northern Native Development Corporation, which worked on the Coquihalla Pipeline, owner/operator of the K’ensu Development Corporation. She developed the Aboriginal Personnel Services and created an inventory of qualified Indigenous people to work with civic, provincial, federal, and public companies. As well she has represented numerous Aboriginal and non Aboriginal civic organizations including Urban Native Indian Education Society, Urban Native Youth Association, Aboriginal Community Careers Employment Services Society (ACCESS), the United Way of the Lower Mainland and the YWCA, among many others. Susan was recognized for her voluntary contributions to the community for over 30 years by receiving the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. She received the Order of Citizen’s Award from the City of Vancouver and the Order of B.C. Award.

Rex Haigh

Retired Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS; Member, International Network of Living-Learning Experiences (INLLE); and Director, Growing Better Lives

Professor Rex Haigh is a retired psychiatrist in medical psychotherapy from the British National Health Service. He is a graduate of Cambridge and Oxford who has trained and qualified in family medicine, psychiatry, psychotherapy, group analysis and therapeutic communities. He was a Clinical Advisor to the English Personality Disorder Development Programme (2002-11) and part of the NICE guideline development group (2007-9) for Borderline Personality Disorder. At the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he was the founder of the ‘Community of Communities’ quality network (2002) and the ‘Enabling Environments’ award (2009). He holds an appointment as Honorary Professor of Therapeutic Environments at Nottingham University’s School of Education and is involved with several not-for-profit mental health organisations, in the UK and abroad. He is co-founder of the ‘Relational Practice Movement’, which launched its manifesto in 2023. His clinical interests are in modified therapeutic communities, ecotherapy, and the co production of new services with people with lived experience of mental health diagnoses. Professor Rex Haigh along with Dr. Steve Pearce co-wrote The Theory and Practice of Democratic Therapeutic Community Treatment, a manual that sets out the underlying theories and describes them.

Anando Chatterji

Therapeutic Community Specialist & Psychotherapist; Co-founder, HNI; and Member of International Network of Living-Learning Experiences (INLLE)

Anando Chatterji, group and therapeutic community psychotherapist, has 24 years of experience in mental health in residential and community settings, particularly therapeutic communities. He is Co-founder and ex- CEO of Hank Nunn Institute (HNI), India and is currently a social architect at HNI. Anando sits on the Supervisor and Steering Committee, Therapeutic Environments Practitioner Training, UK, and International Network of Democratic Therapeutic Communities. He uses his extensive clinical experience to support and set up new initiatives in India and abroad to provide psychological services to the community. He works with mental health teams to develop therapeutic environments and processes empowering both service providers and receivers to co-create multi- dimensional recovery programmes. Anando believes personal change is inextricably intertwined with social change and that an individual's distress is a mirror of the larger social world they are a part of, and their healing is the healing of communities.

Braeden Codd

Peer Mentor, B.C’s Childrens Hospital

Braeden Codd is a dedicated Peer Support Worker at BC Children's Hospital, serving on the Substance Use Response and Facilitation team under Coast Mental Health. With a background in community peer support at VCH and outreach downtown Vancouver with Coast Mental Health's Better Together program, Braeden is deeply committed to meeting individuals where they are and empowering them to achieve their goals. Having navigated his own lifelong journey with mental health challenges and addiction recovery, Braeden brings a unique perspective to his work. His personal experiences, including time spent in the hospital as a teenager for mental health and substance use, have shaped his approach and allow him to effectively support youth facing similar journeys. Braeden now views his past experiences as assets that enable him to connect with and advocate for those in need.

Alexia Fast

Peer Support Worker, B.C’s Childrens Hospital

Alexia Fast is a peer support worker on the Substance Use Response and Facilitation Team at BC Children’s Hospital under Coast Mental Health. She completed her peer support training certificate at Coast Mental Health Resource Center in 2024. Alexia has lived experience with bipolar disorder and has received care on the psych ward and in her community through outpatient services. Alexia is also a prolific actor in film and television, having acted in over 50 productions to date in leading and supporting lead roles. Alexia is often recognized for her supporting roles opposite Tom Cruise in the film “Jack Reacher” and opposite Ryan Reynolds in the film “The Captive”. Alexia advocates to reduce stigma related to mental health on social media and in various public interviews. Alexia is a brand ambassador for Stigma Free Society, which was founded by Andrea Paquette, who also has lived experience with bipolar disorder.

Our Planning Committee

Dr. Rob Tanguay

Conference Co-Chair
Calgary, Alberta

Dr. Annabel Mead

Conference Co-Chair
Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. George Budd

PharmD, FBCCSU, B.Sc.(Pharm), RPEBC, R.Ph
Vancouver, British Columbia

Robert De Clark

Victoria, British Columbia

Joan Hollihan

Calgary, Alberta

Dr. Morris Markentin

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


conference days




hours of education

Reconciliation Comes First

The Western Canada Addiction Forum would like to acknowledge the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples. The Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples have taken care of their homelands for thousands of years.


WCAF is respectful of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples, their knowledge, language, and history, as well as their ongoing relationship to the land and natural world.

In 2023, WCAF has made a donation to The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society to support them in achieving their mission to provide for the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of all peoples through the development of community-based services.

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