Born on July 25th 1964 in Kitchener Ontario, Lisa La Flamme gained her early education at St. Mary’s high school in that city. After completing high school, she spent eighteen months in France, before enrolling at The University of Ottawa.
On graduation, in the summer of 1988 she began what was to be a high-profile career in broadcasting when she was hired into the Kitchener CKCO-TV CKKW-AM & CFCA-FM newsroom as a summer ‘fill-in’, helping with script preparation for TV newscasts and preparing and announcing radio newscasts to cover off vacationing staff.
As the summer ended, News Director Ron Johnstone had been so impressed with Lis’s work that he offered her a regular part-time job as a reporter for both the TV and radio stations. This led to a full-time appointment to the News department in 1991, and then in October 1994 she was appointed as Monday-Friday news co-anchor for CKCO-TV’s 6 pm and 11:30 pm newscasts.
Lisa’s on-air work came to the attention of the Network, and in 1997 she was invited to join CTV, where she first worked as a reporter and anchor for the CTV Newsnet Channel. She also did consumer reports for CTV News, before becoming the prime news anchor for CTV Newsnet in 1998. She occupied this role for two years, and then in 2000 became Parliamentary correspondent for CTV News.
In 2001 Lisa took on another important role, this time as co-anchor of CTV’s Canada AM daily morning show. Then, after two years of early rising, in 2003 Lisa became National Affairs Correspondent for CTV National News, and over the next seven years she was most of the time on the road travelling to some of the world’s most dangerous locations to cover everything from wars to elections to natural disasters. She was in Rome to report on the death of Pope John Paul II; reported from Sri Lanka on the devastation from the Tsunami that hit South Asia; was in New Orleans to cover the impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans; and journeyed to Haiti several times to cover the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and political turmoil gripping the country.
Such was the strength of her performance and on-air presence in this role that it was no surprise when in 2010 she was appointed as the successor to Lloyd Robertson as full-time anchor of CTV National News, and then in 2011 as Chief Anchor and Senior Editor for CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme.
Not one to stay stuck behind a desk, in her new role Lisa continued to bring Canadians an up-close look at the biggest stories unfolding across Canada and around the world. In May 2018, LaFlamme travelled to Windsor to lead CTV News’ live special of the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In 2017, she reported from the devastated flood regions of Texas and Florida, and travelled to northern France to lead CTV News’ special coverage of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Led by LaFlamme, CTV News delivered live coverage of the inauguration of Donald Trump from Washington D.C. in January 2017; reported on the death of Fidel Castro from Havana in November 2016; and broadcast live from Paris in November 2015 in the aftermath of the coordinated terrorist attacks across the city.
In addition to multiple awards for broadcasting and journalism over her career, Lisa LaFlamme has received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater University of Ottawa, and honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. and from the University of Windsor. She is the recipient of the Order of Ontario and was awarded the Distinguished Canadian Award from the University of Ottawa. On June 27, 2019, LaFlamme was named an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.), one of Canada’s highest honours.
A passionate advocate of democracy in journalism, LaFlamme volunteers for Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and has traveled with the organization to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013 to mentor and train young journalists in Goma, in the heart of the conflict zone. LaFlamme also championed a program with CTV News to identify eligible and deserving staff journalists to participate in JHR missions around the world, and serves as honorary co-chair of the annual JHR Night for Rights event.
LaFlamme is also an ambassador of PLAN International, traveling to remote areas to promote child rights and to end poverty around the world, and volunteers with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, which works to advance education and educational opportunities for Afghan women and their families.