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Head of regional health authority where Indigenous woman died removed from post

Last Updated Dec 3, 2020 at 12:24 pm EST

People take part in a protest called ‘Justice for Joyce’ in Montreal, Saturday, October 3, 2020, where they demanded Justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to all systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — Two months after the death of Joyce Echaquan in a Quebec hospital, the head of the regional health authority that runs the hospital has been removed from his post.

The departure of Daniel Castonguay was announced Wednesday evening in a news release issued by the provincial health minister. 

The decision was approved after the provincial cabinet saw a report by Lise Verreault, who was appointed in mid-November to study allegations of racism against Indigenous people at the hospital in Joliette, Que., northeast of Montreal.

The hospital and its management came under scrutiny in late September after Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed two staff members at the Joliette hospital insulting her as she lay dying, and other Indigenous people came forward with stories of abusive treatment.

Wednesday’s press release says Verreault interviewed 18 people as part of her mandate to establish whether the bond of trust had been broken between the health authority’s management and the Indigenous communities it serves.

Castonguay has been reassigned to aid in the preparation of Quebec COVID-19 vaccination campaign and will be replaced on an interim basis by Caroline Barbir, who is also head of a Montreal’s Ste-Justine children’s hospital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press