Quebec’s Youngest Mayor Resigns Due to Burnout from Managing Forest Fires

Isabelle Lessard, 23-year-old mayor in Chapais, Quebec, annouced that she’s resigning on November 17 due to burnout from managing last summer’s intense wildfire season. 

Elected in 2021, she led the town through a severe forest fire crisis that forced two-thirds of residents to evacuate. 

Isabelle Lessard
Isabelle Lessard | The Canadian Press/PC/Ho-MaThilde Nadeau

Lessard has been on leave since mid-September, expressing concerns about post-traumatic stress syndrome and feeling unprepared for the workload upon her return. 

Despite leaving midway through her term, she doesn’t consider it the end of her political journey and emphasizes the need for a step back. 

As one of Quebec’s youngest mayors, Lessard admits her decision may be perceived as contradictory for those inspired by her in politics but encourages aspiring leaders to prioritize mental health. 

The Union des Municipalites du Quebec recognized her dedication and urged understanding of the challenges faced by municipal officials. 

The organization’s president, Martin Damphousse, emphasized the human aspect of such roles and the importance of self-care for those navigating complex crises.

Source: The Canadian Press

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