Office of the Chief Coroner

The Office of the Chief Coroner is responsible for the investigation of all sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in order to improve the health, safety and quality of life of the citizens of our province.  The Office is an independent agency operating under the direction of the Chief Coroner of Saskatchewan.

There are approximately 150 coroners in Saskatchewan that provide for independent and impartial investigations into, and public inquests respecting, the circumstances surrounding sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in order to:

  • Determine the identify of a deceased person and how, when , where and by what means that person died;
  • Uncover dangerous practices or conditions that may lead to death;
  • Educate the public respecting dangerous practices and conditions; and
  • Publicize and maintain records of the circumstances and causes of death.

1. The Coroner's Investigation

The coroner’s duty is to investigate all sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in Saskatchewan and to visit the scene of death.  The coroner’s investigation focuses on the following:

• Determining the identity of the deceased;
• Estimating the date/time of death;
• Determining where the death occurred;
• Determining the manner of death (natural, accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined); and
• Determining the medical cause of death.

During the investigation, the coroner has authority over the body, may seize evidence in relation to the investigation, may order a post-mortem examination of the body, and can provide information and support to grieving families.  The coroner is assisted by the police.  In situations where foul play is suspected or apparent, the police will direct a criminal investigation and they will be assisted by the coroner.

The coroner’s investigation is fact-finding and does not assign fault or blame.


2. Coroner Inquests

An inquest is a public hearing where witnesses are called and evidence heard before six jury members. The inquest is fact finding, not fault finding and is not a civil or criminal proceeding.

In Saskatchewan, an inquest must be held in all cases where a person dies while held in custody, for example, in a jail or correctional facility.  These inquests are mandatory.  The only time that an inquest would not be held in these cases is where the person died from natural causes (i.e., natural diseases and if the death is not preventable).

In other instances of sudden, unexpected or unnatural death, the Chief Coroner may decide to hold an inquest. These discretionary inquests may be held for one or more of the following reasons:

  • to determine the identity of the deceased and how, when, where and by what means he or she died;
  • to inform the public of the circumstances surrounding a death;
  • to make dangerous practices or conditions known and make recommendations to avoid preventable deaths; or
  • to educate the public about dangerous practices or conditions to avoid preventable deaths.

3. Information You Might Be Looking For


4. Becoming a Community Coroner

When the Office of the Chief Coroner recruits lay coroners around the province, typically an advertisement is placed in the local community newspaper and/or on asking for qualified applicants to apply to serve as coroners. Coroners independently conduct death investigations using medico-legal investigation principles and techniques to coordinate all aspects of the investigation in accordance with The Coroners Act, 1999.

Coroners are required to lead the death investigation by attending the scene of death and completing a thorough examination of the scene, the body, and the history of the deceased through the collection of relevant information and evidence. Critical thinking as well as strong communication, interpersonal and writing skills will be required when liaising with police, health professionals, transport service companies, next-of-kin and other parties when conducting an investigation and when creating the public documents outlining  the investigative findings and recommendations in a timely manner. Demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills will be an asset when dealing effectively with grieving families in a sensitive and supportive manner. 

The successful candidate is appointed as a coroner by the Minister of Justice. This position of coroner is not a full-time position and is not considered to be an employee of the government. Remuneration is on a fee for service basis as outlined under The Coroners Regulations, 2000.  

The lay coroner position would be of interest to individuals who currently live and/or work in the community and are interested in providing a community service to the area residents on an as needed and as requested basis. This involves conducting death investigations at any time of the day or night, as well as on weekends and statutory holidays. 

Experience and/or knowledge of medical and/or investigative matters would be a definite asset. The successful candidates must possess a valid driver’s license and are subject to a criminal record check.

Please note that the following positions are deemed a conflict of interest to the work as a coroner; and therefore, individuals holding such positions should not apply:

  • mayor, city counselor, Justice of the Peace or any other position in public office;
  • member of a police board; 
  • member of a regional health authority board; and
  • owner of a funeral home, a funeral director or any employment with a funeral home. 

Successful candidates will be required to attend a training session prior to commencing coroner services.