FMEQ’s Position on the Death of Joyce Echaquan

3 October 2020

The FMEQ wishes to offer its condolences to Joyce Echaquan’s family and to express its solidarity with the Attikamek community of Manawan. This tragedy was caused by the systemic racism present in Quebec and particularly in our health system. No one should die of racism.

Unfortunately, Joyce Echaquan’s case is not an isolated case. Systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in Quebec is present and documented, among others in the Commission d’enquête sur les relations entre les Autochtones et certains services publics au Québec. Racism is not only a barrier to access to health care, but a direct threat to it Indigenous peoples’ wellbeing and health in Quebec. The infant and young child mortality rate, the maternal mortality and morbidity rate, the prevalence of infectious diseases and the prevalence of chronic diseases are all higher among Indigenous populations in Quebec. These significant disparities are caused by the social determinants of health, remains of colonialism and the social, economic and cultural marginalization that results from it.
The FMEQ also wishes to condemn the racist behavior and comments made against Joyce Echaquan. These comments are completely unacceptable. The FMEQ invites its members to be active future physicians in the fight against racism by learning about the history of Indigenous peoples of Canada and Quebec, by identifying their own unconscious biases and by condemning the racist comments and actions they will witness in their medical journey. We invite you to take part in this fight against racism by:
– Reading the The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and being part of that reconciliation in your future practice;
Continually informing yourself about the reality of communities other than your own and about the omnipresence of racism in our society. Here is a series of capsules on the subject:;
– Signing this open letter denouncing systemic racism in the healthcare system:…/17WRt…/edit…;
– Staying accountable and actively seeking resources to learn from in order to develop a more humble and sensitive practice.

“Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share”. Excerpt from The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.