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Lynn Lavalee

Lynn Lavallée

Strategic Lead, Indigenous Resurgence, Faculty of Community Services and Professor, School of Social Work
EducationBA, MSc, PhD
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 543509
Areas of ExpertiseIndigenous resurgence; Research ethics, including Indigenous ethics; Indigenous health and well being; Indigenous research methodologies

Lynn Lavallee is Anishinaabe registered with the Metis Nation of Ontario. Lynn uses she/her pronouns. She explicitly positions herself in the academy, identifying her family and ancestry because of the cultural fraud that is emerging given opportunities being afforded to people who self-identify as Indigenous. Lynn's maternal ancestry includes the last names of Godon, McIvor, Swain, Lillie, Larocque, Labelle, Lafond and Courchesne from the Red River and Anishinaabe territories of Swan Lake, Maniwaki, Timmins and Sudbury. Her paternal relations include the last names Lavallee, Gauthier, Pepin, Richard, Taylor, McKaye and Champagne from the Metis and Anishinaabe territories of Temiscaming, Mattawa, Sudbury and Algoma.

Lynn completed a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Psychology, Master of Science in Community Health and Doctorate in Social Work. She started her career as an assistant professor at Toronto Metropolitan University in the School of Social Work in 2005. She has taken on governance and administrative leadership roles including chair of the Research Ethics Board, associate director and acting director of the School of Social Work, senator, and many other service activities all with the focus of advancing Indigenous peoples and knowledges in the academy.

Lynn served as University of Manitoba's first vice provost of Indigenous engagement in 2017. She resigned from this position after 16 months and returned to Toronto Metropolitan University. She currently holds the position of strategic lead, Indigenous resurgence in the Faculty of Community Services. Her research expertise lies in the area of Indigenous research ethics, Indigenous research methodology, and Indigenous health and well-being. Lynn achieved full professor status in 2019. 

Lynn Lavallée teaches both in the undergraduate and graduate program in the School of Social Work and has supervised and supervises several doctoral students in the Policy Studies doctoral program at Toronto Metropolitan University. She has also supervised many students (in social work and other programs at the university) through directed studies focusing on Indigenous content that is not typically taught even in the Indigenous courses at Toronto Metropolitan University. Lavallée typically teaches research methods (both Indigenous and mainstream), Indigenous health and well-being, Aboriginal approaches to social work and fourth-year social work practice. As a visiting scholar at the University of Manitoba, Lavallée designed and taught a course focusing on Indigenous sport, recreation and physical activity.

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • SK8103: Research for Social Change (Graduate)
  • SWP538: Social Research – Part 1 (Qualitative) – First Nations Technical Institute
  • SWP638: Social Research – Part 2 (Quantitative) – First Nations Technical Institute
  • SK8209: Regenerating Aboriginal Social Work Practices and Research (Graduate)
  • SWP918: Indigenous Health and Well-Being, university-wide undergraduate elective
  • SWP50: Advanced Practice Social Work Seminar, 4th year undergraduate
  • SWP51: Field Practicum – 4th year undergraduate
  • SW8401: Major Research Paper, School of Graduate Studies
  • SWP435: Aboriginal Approaches to Social Work, undergraduate

Course Coordination:

  • SWP435: Aboriginal Approaches to Social Work
  • SWP638: Social Research Part 2
  • SWP50 and 51 – (8 sections)

Lynn Lavallée’s research focuses on Indigenous health and well-being, addiction and mental health, methadone toxicity and opiate addiction, urban identity and the relationship to well-being, Indigenous research methodology and research ethics. Her early work explored the psychological antecedents to athletic injury and lead to responses to psychological stress and morbidity/mortality in Indigenous and low-income communities. This work predated what we now know as the social determinants of health.

She conducts both quantitative and qualitative research. She developed an Indigenous research method called Anishnaabe Symbol-Based Reflection and has employed this method in many projects (see publications), including research exploring the impacts of physical activity and recreation and living with diabetes.

The focus of Lavallée's research is always in response to what community deems as important and as a result, reciprocity and a strong social action are paramount to any of her activities.

Lavallée maintains an active research portfolio with funding received from the CIHR and SSHRC.

Externally Funded Research:

  • 2020-Present Kerr, G., (principal), Demers, G. (secondary), Culver, D., Donnelly, P., Joseph, J., Kidd, B., Lavallee, L., LaVoi, N., Pegoraro, A., Stirling, A. (co-applicants in alphabetical order). Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub/Centre de Recherche sur L’Equite des Genres en Sport. Sport Canada, $1,650,000
  • 2020-Present Stewart, S. (nominated principal), Ansloos, A., Bombay, A., Dewar, J., Goodwill, A., Lavallee, L., Linklater, R., Mashford-Pringle, A., McCormick, R., & Smylie, J. (co-applicants in alphabetical order) . Holistic Indigenous Mental Health and Wellness: Transforming Health Care Strengths and Solutions. Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research, $1,050,000
  • 2020-Present Cidro, J., (nominated principal), Copenance, S., Roulette, C., Craft, A., Hatala, A., Lavallee, L., Lavoie, J., McCallum, M.J., Sinclair, S., Smylie, J., Star, L. (co-applicants in alphabetical order). Kishaadigeh: Indigenous Self Determination through Research for our Future Generations – Manitoba. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research, $1,046,465
  • 2016 Lavallée, L. Foundational Training Program for Osh-ka-be-Wis and Future Traditional Healers, Ceremonialists, and Traditional Teachers, Anishnawbe Health Toronto, $110,000
  • 2015-2016 Benjamin, A., Crichlow, W., Clarke J., Rinaldo, W., Morgan, A., Barriffe, N., & Lavallée, L., Anti-Black Racism: Criminalization, Community, and Resistance. Social Science and Humanities Research Council. $25,000
  • 2013-2015 Lavallée, L. & Edward, I., Telling a Different Story: Developing a Youth-Driven Theoretical Model for Working with an Urban Community. Social Science and Humanities Research Council. $73,170
  • 2013-2016 Hillier, S., Lavallée, L. (supervisor) An evaluation of governmental policy relating to HIV/AIDS funding and service delivery within First Nations communities in Ontario, Canada. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Doctoral Student Award. $104,000
  • 2012-2013 Palmater, P., Lavallée, L.(collaborator) Indigenous Identity and Citizenship. Social Science and Humanities Research Council. $72,000 (withdrew after funding obtained)
  • 2012-2015 Lévesque, L., Lavallée, L. (Co Principal Applicants), Hare, K. Bruner, B., & Bruner M. Youth Driven Development in Aboriginal Communities. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. $1,012,095
  • 2013-2015 McGavock, J., Halas, J., Dean, H., Johnson, A., Lavallée, L., (co-applicant) McRae, H. Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program for Increasing Physical Activity in Aboriginal Youth. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Operating Grant, $697,891 (withdrew after funding obtained)
  • 2012-2013 Lavallée, L. & Harrison, J. (Co Principal Applicants), Evaluation of the Diabetes Prevention Program at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. Funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. $80,000
  • 2012-2103 Lavallée, L. Evaluation of the Partnership Between Active Circle and Seine River First Nation. Funded by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. $15,000
  • 2012-2013 Ray, S., Lavallée, L., (co-applicant) & Jensen, E. The Meaning of Homelessness and Migration among Homeless Aboriginal Veterans. Royal Canadian Legion. $5000
  • 2011-2012 Lavallée, L., & Howard, H. (co-principal applicants) (March 2011). Toronto Aboriginal Diabetes Research Project. Funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and administered through Anishnawbe Health Toronto - $265,000
  • 2011-2012 Lavallée, L. Research evaluation of the Medicine Wheel Make-Over programme. Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. Ottawa, ON - $25,000
  • 2009-2013 Lévesque, L., Lavallée, L., Jollimore, S.M., Cargo, M., Moore, D.S., McComber, A.M. (April 2009). Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Intervention Research (Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention), Implementation and Impact Evaluation of an Aboriginal Supplement to the Everybody Gets to Play Community Mobilization Tool Kit -$300,000
  • 2012 Lavallée, L. Evaluation of the Six Nations Running Programme for 10-13 year olds. Sport Matters/Trillium Foundation. Six Nations, ON - $6300
  • 2011 Lavallée, L. (March-June 2011). Assessment of the Active Circle program. Motivate Canada - $5175
  • 2010 Smylie, J., Lavallée, L., & Howard, H. (co-leads) (November, 2010). Planning and Governance for the Toronto Aboriginal Diabetes Research Project. Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network - $36,000
  • 2009 Lavallée, L., & Lévesque, L. Development of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis supplement of the Everybody gets to play© Toolkit Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. - $6700
  • 2009 Lavallée, L. Evaluation of Culture Camp: Ryerson University/First Nations Technical Institute partnership programme in social work. Ministry of Education Aboriginal Education and Training Strategy. - $4500
  • 2008 Lavallée, L. Health and social impact survey for the 2008 North American Indigenous Games Sport Canada / Cathexis Consulting. - $1500
  • 2005/06 Lavallée, L. Experiences of Aboriginal recreational programme participants: Reflections through an Indigenous framework. Wellesley Central Health Corporation Enabling Grant - $5000

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Lavallée, L. (2020). Resisting Exotic Puppetry: Experiences of Indigenous Women Leadership in the Academy. In S. Cote Meek & T. Moeke-Pickering. Critical Reflections & Politics on Advancing Women in the Academy. (pp. xxx-xxx). IGI Publishers.
  • Lavallée, L. (2020). Is Decolonization Possible in the Academy? In S. Cote Meek & T. Moeke-Pickering. Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education in Canada. (pp. xxx-xxx). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
  • Lavallée, L. & Leslie, L. (2016). The Ethics of University Indigenous Research Partnerships. In B. Cozza & P. Blessinger. University Partnerships for International Development. New York: International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association
  • P. Menzies & Lavallée, L. (Eds.). (2014). Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues. Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Lavallée, L. (2014). Anti-oppression research. In D. Coglan & M. Brydon-Miller (Eds.)., The Sage Encyclopedia of Action Research. (pp. 40-44). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Lavallée, L. (2014). Our relationship with tobacco. In P. Menzies & L. Lavallée (Eds.), Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues (pp. 261-271). Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Lavallée, L, & Fairney, K.A. (2014). In Search of Identity: Supporting Healing and Well-Being among Youth. In P. Menzies & L Lavallée (Eds.), Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues (pp. 117-130). Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Lavallée, L & Levesque, L. (2013). Medicine Wheel, Sport, Physical Activity and Health. In A. Giles & J. Forsyth. Red and White: Aboriginal People and Canadian Sport. Pp. 206-228. Vancouver: UBC Press

Journal Articles:

  • Bruner, M.W., Hillier, S., Baillie, C.P.T., Lavallée, L.F. Bruner, G., Hare, K. Lovelace, R. & Lévesque, L. (2015). Positive youth development in Aboriginal physical activity and sport : A systematic review. Adolescent Research Review, (tbd) 1-13. doi 10.1007/s40894-015-0021-9 Retrieved from
  • Carter, C., Lapum, J.L., Lavallée, L.F., & Schindel Martin, L. (2014). Explicating positionality: A journey of dialogical and reflexive storytelling. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 13, 362-376.
  • Lavallée, L. (2011). An Indigenous Approach to Diabetes Management. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 35(4), 324-325.
  • Lavallée, L. and Poole, J. (2010). Beyond Recovery: Colonization, Health and Healing for Indigenous People in Canada. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 8(2), 271-281. doi:10.1007/s11469-009-9239-8
  • Katzmarzyk, P., Hanley, A., Lavallée, L., & Lévesque, L. (2010). Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Aboriginal Peoples Living in Canada. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Track 2 – Physical Activity Interventions. 7(suppl), S327-S340.
  • Lavallée, L. (2010). Blurring the Boundaries: Social Work’s Role in Indigenous Spirituality. Canadian Social Work Review, 27(1), 143-146.
  • Lavallée, L. (2009). Practical Application of an Indigenous Research Framework and Indigenous Research Methods: Sharing Circles and Anishnaabe Symbol-Based Reflection. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 8(1), 21-40. Retrieved from
  • Lavallée, L. (2008). Balancing the Medicine Wheel through Physical Activity. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 4(1) Retrieved from
  • Lavallée, L. (2008). Assessing the Impact of Sport Using an Indigenous Research Framework. Sport Information Research Centre. Aboriginal Sport and Fitness Supplement. Retrieve from
  • Lavallée, L. (2007). Physical Activity and Healing Through the Medicine Wheel. Pimatisiwin - Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 5(1), 127-153. Retrieved from   
  • Lavallée, L. & Flint, F. (1996). The relationship of stress, anxiety, mood state and social support to athletic injury.  Journal of Athletic Training, 31(4), 196-199.

Invited Forum Piece in Journals:

  • Lavallée, L.(2011). An Indigenous Approach to Diabetes Management. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 35(4), 324-325.
  • Lavallée, L.(2010). Blurring the Boundaries: Social Work’s Role in Indigenous Spirituality. Canadian Social Work Review, 27(1), 143-146.

Peer Reviewed Conference Presentations:

  • Lavallée, L. (May 2015). Chapter 9: Research with Inuit, Métis and First Nations – Balancing Academic and Community Values. Canadian Association of Research Ethics Board Conference. May 1, 2015. Vancouver: BC.
  • Lavallée, L. & Fairney, K. (November 2014). Methadone Overdose Death: Case study of a 52 year old Métis woman. Challenging Health Inequalities: Indigenous Health Conference. Toronto, ON.
  • Lavallée, L. (May 2014). Telling a Different Story: Developing a Youth-Driven Theoretical Model for Working with an Urban Community. Community-Campus Partnership for Health: From Rhetoric to Reality: Achieving Authentic, Equitable & Transformative Partnerships. Chicago, Il.
  • Lavallée, L. (September 2013). Urban Aboriginal Métis Health Disparities: A Profile of Toronto Canada Métis Peoples. International Conference: Urban Dynamics and Health – Concepts, Methods and Applications. Paris, France.
  • Lavallée, L. (July 2013). Anishnaabe Symbol-Based Reflection: The Advancement of an Indigenous Research Method. 2nd Annual International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conference, Winnipeg, MB.
  • Lavallée, L. (May 2012). The Crossroads of the Francophone Realities CASWE Accreditation Standard. Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canadian Association of Social Work Education, Waterloo, ON.
  • Lavallée, L. (April 2012). First Nations, Métis & Inuit Research Ethics: Application of the TriCouncil Policy Statement 2. Aboriginal Research Education Forum, Manitoba, ON.
  • Lavallée, L. & Ricciuti, M. (April 2012). Anishnaabe Symbol-Based Reflection: A Community-Based Research Tool. Community Campus Partnerships for Health Annual Conference. Houston Texas.
  • Lavallée, L. (August, 2011). Breaking Through Internalized Colonialism. World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, Cusco, Peru.
  • Lavallée, L. (April, 2011). Sport and Recreation: Challenges and Opportunities to Holistic Wellness. Indigenous Well-being Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.