Statement by Ministers Hajdu, Holland, and Anandasangaree on the third anniversary of the death of Joyce Echaquan


Ottawa, Ontario (September 28, 2023) – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, issued the following statement today:

“Three years ago, Joyce Echaquan was hospitalized in Joliette, Quebec. After recording a Facebook Live video depicting racist treatment, she died without receiving the medical attention she needed. She left behind a husband and seven children. We were all shocked by the way she was treated.

Joyce Echaquan’s death revealed a reality faced by far too many Indigenous Peoples in Canada when trying to receive healthcare.  Joyce Echaquan’s tragic story highlighted the systemic racism of health systems in this country, and underscored the work that remains to be done to bring about meaningful change moving forward.

Cultural safety and recognition of Indigenous Knowledge are of paramount importance in the delivery of healthcare services. At every stage of service delivery, it is possible to provide culturally safe, high-quality, adapted care that is accessible to all Indigenous Peoples.

Joyce’s Principle was created in response to Joyce Echaquan’s death, and aims to ensure that all Indigenous Peoples have the right to equitable access, without discrimination, to all health and social services. To this end, the Government of Canada has announced a bilateral agreement with the provinces and territories for a new $2-billion Indigenous Health Equity Fund that will be distributed equitably across the country. We are also jointly developing Indigenous legislation to ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous Peoples within Canada’s health systems.

Health transformation is also a critical part of this journey: by empowering First Nations to haven control over their own health systems, we are leveraging Indigenous knowledge alongside Western medicine to create more inclusive and safe healthcare. Earlier this year, we took a significant step along that journey with a 10-year agreement to renew funding for the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia, which is a model of health services based on the right of self-determination. Work continues towards health transformation across the country.

Anti-Indigenous racism in health systems is a shared responsibility. The Government of Canada is taking action to increase safety and respect for Indigenous Peoples in the country’s health systems. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, and all those working in the health sector to support safer and more culturally inclusive health systems.”


For more information, media may contact:

Zeus Eden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services

Joshua Kirkey
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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