A picture of Joyce Echaquan is seen during a vigil in front of the hospital where she died in Joliette, Que. on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. The family of an Indigenous woman subjected to degrading remarks before her death Monday at a hospital north of Montreal will announce details of legal proceedings stemming from the case.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Family of Indigenous woman subjected to slurs in Quebec hospital to announce lawsuit

Quebec’s coroner’s office is investigating Joyce Echaquan’s death as is the regional health authority

The family of an Indigenous woman subjected to insults as she lay dying in hospital says it will seek justice for her by launching legal proceedings.

Members of Joyce Echaquan’s family, community members and lawyer Jean-Francois Bertrand said in a news release they will announce their legal action Friday at the native friendship centre in Joliette, Que., northeast of Montreal.

Before her death, the 37-year-old Atikamekw mother filmed herself from her hospital bed Monday while she was in clear distress and pleading for help. Two female hospital staff can be seen entering the room and are heard insulting Echaquan, who had been admitted with stomach pain.

The video circulated widely on social media and prompted widespread indignation across the country.

On Thursday, the regional health authority for the Joliette region confirmed that a second health-care worker had been fired in connection with the treatment of Echaquan, a mother of seven.

Quebec’s coroner’s office is investigating Echaquan’s death as is the regional health authority.

Bertrand, a Quebec City-based lawyer, said in a statement the family wants justice for the “racist and degrading” treatment Echaquan suffered in hospital. He said the family is looking for a just and appropriate redress and to “ensure such discriminatory and repeated acts of inconceivable violence against Indigenous people finally cease.”

Paul-Emile Ottawa, chief of the Atikamekw council in Manawan, Que., called Friday for Premier Francois Legault to take immediate measures to make sure what happened to Echaquan doesn’t occur again. He said in a statement he wants a nation-to-nation meeting with the premier.

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, cancelled a Friday morning meeting he had scheduled with Legault.

The premier confirmed the cancellation on Twitter, calling Picard’s decision unfortunate.

“I am also available to meet with the chiefs of the Atikamekw Nation,” he tweeted. “The door to my office remains open.”

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Indigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Tom Shypitka, pictured with his campaign team. on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. Trevor Crawley photo
Shypitka wins second term; BC NDP cruise to majority

“Election Days,” rather than “Election Day,” may be the more accurate term… Continue reading

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

BC ELECTION
Voting day: Elk Valley braves the cold to vote for next MLA

Today is the last chance for voters to have their say

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read