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September 30, 2020

The CFNU mourns the death of Joyce Echaquan, calls for action

On behalf of Canada’s nurses, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) offers its sincere condolences to the family and community of Joyce Echaquan, and expresses outrage over the racist comments directed against her by health care staff.

“There is no room in our society for racism or discrimination of any kind, and I strongly condemn the racism Joyce Echaquan suffered from those who were supposed to be caring for her,” said Linda Silas, CFNU president. “This must not be treated as an isolated incident, however. Systemic racism toward Indigenous peoples must be rooted out of our health care system and throughout our society.”

Today marks one year since the release of the Viens Commission report, which included 142 calls to action to address systemic racism in Quebec against Indigenous peoples. Yesterday, First Nations leaders in Quebec and Labrador announced their own action plan to address systemic racism and discrimination, after seeing little movement on addressing this issue since the report’s release.

The recommendations from both the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report, and the 2019 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report, must also be adopted across our governments and institutions.

“Canada’s nurses stand shoulder to shoulder with the Indigenous peoples of this country in the battle against systemic racism. As a first step, we must all confront our implicit biases and recognize that systemic racism exists within our institutions, including our hospitals, and commit to fighting it,” concluded Silas.