Sen. Josée Forest-Niesing, 56, dies following struggle with COVID-19

November 20, 2021
Sen. Josée Forest-Niesing, 56, dies following struggle with COVID-19


Sen. Josée Forest-Niesing, 56, has died, after being discharged from hospital this week following treatment for COVID-19.

Forest-Niesing, of Sudbury, Ont., was released from hospital on Nov. 14, after being admitted in October. Her office said Tuesday she had struggled for 15 years with an autoimmune disease affecting her lungs. 

The Ontario senator was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but her office said her condition made her more vulnerable to the virus.

George Furey, the Speaker of the Senate, confirmed the news in an email to senators and staff on Saturday.

“Senator Forest-Niesing contributed to her community as a member and chair of numerous boards of directors, and she will be remembered as an ardent and passionate defender of access to justice in both official languages,” Furey said.

Numerous other senators and politicians shared their condolences on Saturday.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré said in a statement that he had known Forest-Niesing personally and “saw firsthand her drive and dedication to her family and her community.”

“Josée was a tireless advocate along with her husband Robert to help the most vulnerable,” the statement said.

Forest-Niesing’s office released a statement earlier in the week promoting COVID-19 vaccines.

“Senator Forest-Niesing would like to remind all Canadians of the importance of vaccination and remains convinced her fight would have been much different if it had not been for this protection,” the statement said.

A lawyer by profession, Forest-Niesing was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018 and she sat with the Independent Senators Group.

Furey noted her participation as a community member and service on various boards, which included the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the Carrefour francophone de Sudbury and the University of Sudbury.

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