Sask. government introduces amendments to Coroners Act

Amendments to the provincial coroners service are being made to give the chief coroner more powers under the Coroners Act.

These changes comes from recommendations made by chief coroner Clive Weighill, and include allowing the chief coroner to be in charge of hiring and firing coroners instead of needing approval from the province.

The appointment or dismissal coming from the chief coroner allows the person to be more responsible for the coroner service, according to the province.

Weighill said since the addition of $1.6 million in the coroners service budget last year, six and a half positions have been added including two new admins, a forensic pathologist and a learning and development officer.

“We made a lot of progress since our report has been done, and the funding has certainly helped,” he stated at the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan believes granting those powers to the chief coroner makes sense.

“The chief coroner should be making recommendations rather than being made by politicians,” explained Morgan. “A coroner’s recommendations should not be questioned by a minister or a member of the floor at the legislature.”

The listed amendments also include allowing a personal representative – whether it be a spouse, parent, child or sibling – to request a chief coroner review of a coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest into the death of the deceased.

Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer said she’s relatively supportive of the recommendations current chief coroner Clive Weighill made.

“We also have to remember the recommendations that are made by the juries and the inquests that this coroner’s office oversees are actually implemented by the ministries – or else all the coroner’s work is forgotten.”

Another amendment made allows coroners’ investigation powers, which would include reopening investigations in limited cases where new evidence is unveiled.

More from 620 CKRM