REGINA — A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties.
Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill says the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists.
The recommendation is one of 44 listed in a review released today into provincial coroners.
Weighill suggests Saskatchewan keep its coroner’s model, instead of changing to one using medical examiners such as in Alberta and Ontario.
He also recommends that staff get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, that community coroners receive more than the current one day of training and that a child death review committee be created.
Justice Minister Don Morgan says in a statement that the government will consider the report and the recommendations.
The province tasked Weighill with the review in November. While he was not to examine specific cases, he cited in his report two recent tragedies that called for a mass casualty plan.
“It is not a question of ‘if’ it will happen,” wrote Weighill.
In December, a plane crashed near the remote northern community of Fond du Lac, seriously injuring nine people. One man later died in hospital.
And in April, a truck and a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided at an intersection near Tisdale. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.
Weighill said the roles of coroners and first responders at such scenes need to be defined.
“Further, the plan needs to address issues of mass body transfer, temporary morgue infrastructure and evidence collection criteria.”
He did not mention a mix-up in the identification of two Broncos players. Two days after the crash, it was discovered that a player believed to be among the dead was actually in hospital, and the player thought to be in the hospital was in the morgue.
The name of the player still alive had already been released by the coroner’s office and RCMP on a list of those killed in the crash. The coroner’s office apologized for the mistake.