- Josée Forest-Niesing, a lawyer and Ontario senator, died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
- The statement showed she was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but was considered vulnerable due to an autoimmune condition that had affected her lungs in the last 15 years.
- George J. Furey, the spokesperson of the Senate, confirmed her death on Saturday
Josée Forest-Niesing, a lawyer and Ontario senator, died after being hospitalized with COVID-19. She was 56.
Forest-Niesing’s office staff said earlier in the week that the, Senator returned home last Saturday after being admitted to hospital with the virus.
The statement showed she was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but was considered vulnerable due to an autoimmune condition that had affected her lungs in the last 15 years.
“She, therefore, took the two doses of the Covid vaccine as soon as possible, being advised, however, that the effectiveness of the vaccine will be reduced due to her medical condition and that she would have to take extra safety,” the statement released on Tuesday.
Despite her precautions, she fell victim to the virus, her office staff said.
In the statement, Forest-Niesing thanked the medical doctor who had cared for her and urged Canadians to get vaccinated.
“Senator Forest-Niesing wants to remind all Canadians of the importance of vaccination and remains convinced her fight would have been much difficult if it had not been for this protection,” the statement released on November 16.
George J. Furey, the spokesperson of the Senate, confirmed her death on Saturday, in which he described Forest-Niesing as “a passionate defender of access to justice in official languages.”
“In addition to practising law for over 20 years at a law firm giving services in French, she has contributed to her community as a member of numerous boards of directors, including the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the Carrefour francophone de Sudbury, and the University of Sudbury,” the biography read.
She also belonged to several associations that promoted access to French-language legal services across Canada.
She had represented Ontario in the Senate since October 2018. Several politicians, senate colleagues, and legal community members went online Saturday to express their sadness at her death.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was thinking of her loved ones as they mourn.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Senator Forest-Nursing, a dedicated public servant and a champion for minority language communities,” he said in a written statement.
“Witty, graceful, a passionate champion of Franco-Ontario and human rights and social justice, she brought intellectual rigour and compassion to every debate,” wrote Alberta Senator Paula Simons on Twitter.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also expressed condolences to Forest-Niesing’s family on Twitter, describing her death as “a great loss for the Franco-Ontarian community and Canada.”
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