November 13, 2019

Updates To Enhance The Saskatchewan Coroners Service

Legislation is being introduced to enhance the Saskatchewan Coroners Service.

The amendments to The Coroners Act, 1999 will allow inquest coroners to make recommendations at the conclusion of an inquest and allow the chief coroner to appoint coroners.

The changes were recommended in the 2018 review of the Office of the Chief Coroner, now named the Saskatchewan Coroners Service.

“We take the recommendations that were made in the review very seriously,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “These legislative amendments and other policy changes are a strong step forward and will help ensure the Saskatchewan Coroners Service is operating as effectively as possible.”

“I’m proud of the work the Saskatchewan Coroners Service has undertaken to better serve residents across our province,” Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said, who led the review before prior to being appointed chief coroner.  “At the same time, I acknowledge there is more work to do to boost public confidence in the service.”

The amendments also make additional enhancements to the authority of the Saskatchewan Coroners Service, including:

  • Granting the minister authority to appoint a deputy chief coroner, who will act as the chief coroner in the chief’s absence;
  • Granting the chief coroner authority to appoint regional supervising coroners;
  • Expressly authorizing coroners to investigate the deaths of Saskatchewan residents who die in other jurisdictions, or whose bodies have been moved from Saskatchewan;
  • Updating coroners’ investigation powers, including the power to reopen investigations in limited cases where new evidence arises; and
  • Allowing the spouse, parent, child, sibling or personal representative of a deceased to request a review by the chief coroner of a coroner’s decision to not hold an inquest into the death of the deceased.

The provincial budget tabled in March included an additional $1.6 million to address recommendations made in the recent external review of the Saskatchewan Coroners Service.