02/22/2016 17:33 EST | Updated 02/22/2017 00:12 EST

Couillard set to replace cabinet minister Pierre Moreau as he battles illness

QUEBEC — Premier Philippe Couillard is tweaking his cabinet with Pierre Moreau having to take more time off to battle illness.

Moreau was named education minister at the end of January but did not attend the swearing-in ceremony because of illness.

He returned to work less than a week ago.

His office issued a statement today saying his symptoms, clinical tests and medical imaging point to a neoplasia — a new, uncontrolled growth of cells that suggests a tumour.

The nature of the growth is unclear.

The statement says biopsies are underway and Moreau's doctor has told him to substantially reduce his professional activities in the coming months in order to undergo treatment.

Couillard is to announce Moreau's temporary replacement later today.

Moreau has held several high-profile portfolios in the Couillard government, including municipal affairs and public security.

His office says he intends to begin treatment right away so he can resume his work.

The Canadian Press