Saskatchewan Coroners Service
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service 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 service is an independent agency operating under the direction of the Chief Coroner of Saskatchewan.
There are approximately 80 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 identity 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 is mandatory when a death happens to a person held in custody, for example, in a jail or correctional facility. There is an exception if the person in custody died from natural causes and the death is not preventable. Examples of natural causes are deaths from disease or old age.
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. Jury Findings and Recommendations
The jury at a coroner's inquest must determine who died, as well as how, when, where, and by what means the person died. The outcome of a Coroner's Inquest are the Jury Findings. In addition, the jury may make recommendations to appropriate agencies to prevent similar deaths in the future. Inquest Schedules by calendar year, Jury Findings and Recommendations listed alphabetically by the last name of the deceased, and Responses to Recommendations resulting from inquests are available online.
4. Information You Might Be Looking For
5. Becoming a Community Coroner
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service (SCS) actively recruits community coroners around the province twice a year, in the spring and fall. Once it is determined which locations require community coroners, advertisements are placed on the following:
- Other Job Opportunities
- SaskJobs.ca - Real Careers. Real Life.
- Opportunities - HealthCareersInSask.ca
- local community newspapers (only for select locations)
The SCS seeks mature, discrete, compassionate and community-minded individuals to work as coroners with the responsibility to answer who, how, when, where and by what means the deceased died and to look at aspects of prevention. Coroners in Saskatchewan are appointed by the Chief Coroner, and they serve the citizens of the local community and surrounding areas where the coroner resides.
In accepting the role of a coroner, the individual must be able to commit to handling most of the death investigations that occur within their community (i.e., serving a radius of 80 to 100 kms). Coroners work strictly on an as needed/requested basis, and they are paid by fee-for-service, according to the fees outlined under The Coroner Regulations, 2000. Since coroners are paid on a fee-for-service basis and are not Government of Saskatchewan employees, they do not receive employment benefits, such as health and dental benefits, sick leave, pension, etc. This appointment involves conducting death investigations at any time of the day or night, as well as on weekends and statutory holidays.
Duties and Responsibilities
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 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 (note: some scenes/bodies may be of graphic nature).
- Liaising with police, health professionals, transport service companies, funeral homes, next-of-kin and other parties.
- Working with available transport services, the coroner will arrange transportation of the body.
- Collect, review and analyze all relevant medical/social history of the deceased.
- Through the coroner’s ability to assess and analyze the information collected from the scene, body, and medical/social history of the decedent, the coroner must determine the nature and extent of further investigation, including the need for a post-mortem examination (e.g., autopsy, external examination and toxicology) and make the necessary arrangements with professionals to conduct these investigations.
- Providing information and guidance to families and create an environment that recognizes, supports, and respects the diversity of cultures and religious beliefs and practices.
- Creating various documents outlining the coroner’s investigative findings and recommendations within the required timelines. This includes entering information into an electronic case management system.
As a successful candidate, you must:
- be proficient in using a computer and computer applications;
- be a Saskatchewan resident;
- have a valid driver’s licence and reliable vehicle;
- be subject to a criminal record check; and
- attend a five-day training course held by the SCS, before commencing coroner duties.
Experience and/or knowledge of medical and/or investigative matters is an asset.
Please note that the following positions are deemed a conflict of interest to the work as a coroner; therefore, individuals holding such positions should not apply: mayor, city councillor, 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, funeral director or employee of a funeral home.
Qualified applicants should forward a resume and cover letter to email@example.com. Only applicants selected for further assessment will be contacted.