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Quebec hospital worker fired after Indigenous woman’s death should be reinstated: arbitrator

August 23, 2023
The Canadian Press

An arbitration tribunal has ordered the reinstatement of an orderly who was fired after an Indigenous woman filmed Quebec hospital staff insulting her as she died.

Arbitrator Serge Brault says that while Myriam Leblanc made inappropriate comments toward Joyce Echaquan, she was not responsible for the bulk of the poor treatment the woman received prior to her death.

Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven, filmed herself on Facebook Live as a nurse and an orderly were heard making derogatory comments toward her at a hospital northeast of Montreal on Sept. 28, 2020.

Brault wrote in an Aug. 16 decision that Leblanc deserved a serious sanction for the things she said to Echaquan that day, which included telling her she had made bad choices in life.


However, he noted that Leblanc’s transgressions were far lesser than those of the nurse in the room, adding that the orderly lacked formal training and that it was possible to interpret her comments as poorly executed attempts to reassure or motivate the patient.

Brault ordered that the health board reinstate her to her job and give her back pay, minus a six-month unpaid suspension as penalty for her actions the day Echaquan died.

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