The government of Saskatchewan is making changes to legislation on the Coroners Act.
The changes remove a mandatory requirement for the Chief Coroner to hold an inquest into all in-custody deaths.
Previously, inquests have all been mandatory unless the coroner believed the inmate had died of natural causes.
The amendment to legislation allows the coroner to decide whether in inquest is needed on any in-custody death.
The NDP says the old legislation made sure all inmate deaths were properly investigated.
“It allows for a level of transparency and a level of justice to be provided,” said Nicole Sarauer, NDP justice critic.
The government says the changes to legislation were put forward to prevent a duplication of investigations of in-custody deaths.
Justice Minister Gord Wyant initially told reporters that removing the mandatory inquest would only apply to natural deaths, but came back to clarify, saying the coroner’s discretion applies to any in-custody death.
“He will call an inquest where the cause of death is not obvious,” said Wyant.
When asked whether he would reconsider the changes to legislation Wyant said he will be consulting with justice ministry officials.