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Director of health board overseeing hospital where Joyce Echaquan died has been replaced

A woman holds up a sign that reads 'Justice for Joyce,' on September 29, 2020. The head of the regional health board that oversees the hospital where Joyce Echaquan died has been replaced. Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020,. Barry Donnelly/Global News

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Wednesday the appointment of a new interim president and CEO of the CISSS Lanaudière, the regional health board which oversees the hospital where Joyce Echaquan died.

The 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven filmed her dying moments as she was subjected to racist taunts by hospital staff.

Read more: Atikamekw leaders taken aback by Quebec’s refusal to adopt measures aimed at improving Indigenous health care

The incident drew outrage across Quebec and led to allegations of discrimination at the Joliette hospital, as well as calls for change in how Indigenous Peoples are treated when accessing health-care services.

Several investigations were launched following Echaquan’s death, including a public inquest.

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Caroline Barbir will be taking over from the current president and CEO Daniel Castonguay, effective Dec. 3.

Barbir has extensive experience in health  health management, most recently as head of Sainte-Justine children’s hospital in Montreal — a position she will retain in addition to her functions as interim head of the CISSS Lanaudière.

Read more: ‘Justice for Joyce’: Family of Indigenous woman who died in Quebec hospital announces lawsuit

Dubé said he believes Barbir can restore trust with Indigenous people.

“I am convinced that with her in-depth knowledge of the issues facing our network, her proven leadership as well as her interpersonal skills, she will be able to restore confidence with Indigenous communities and that she will be able to carry through the major files pertaining to this establishment, together with its team and partners,” Dubé said in a news release.

Castonguay has been reassigned and will assist the Ministry of Health in preparing for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaign across Quebec.

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.

— With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

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