Ontario Senator Josée Forest-Niesing dies at 56 after battle with COVID-19

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OTTAWA — Ontario Senator Josée Forest-Niesing has died following a battle with COVID-19. She was 56.

Forest-Niesing's office said earlier this week that the Sudbury, Ont. senator returned home last Saturday after being admitted to hospital with the virus.

The statement noted she was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but was considered vulnerable due to an autoimmune condition that had affected her lungs for the last 15 years and reduced the vaccine's effectiveness.

Senate Speaker George J. Furey confirmed her death in a statement on Saturday, in which he described Forest-Niesing as "an ardent and passionate defender of access to justice in both official languages."

A lawyer by trade, Forest-Niesing is described on the Senate's website as a proud Franco-Ontarian who had recently discovered her Métis heritage.

She had represented Ontario in the Senate since October 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2021

The Canadian Press

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