The former chief of the Saskatoon Police Service has been appointed chief coroner for Saskatchewan.
Clive Weighill, who boasts more than four decades of experience working in the province’s justice system, will take on the new role effective Sept. 15.
Weighill was chosen to lead an external review of the coroner’s office in November.
The review came after a judge found the province’s chief forensic pathologist unfairly assessed a doctor who was trying to get a job at the office.
Returning in June with 44 recommendations in his 104-page report, Weighill plans to get started on implementing some of them — even if they are gradual.
“I firmly believe that we don’t need a lot of change,” he said. “I think we just need to build on what we have.”
“I don’t see a wholesale change, I see building and some enhancements to what we’re doing in the province of Saskatchewan.”
Weighill couldn’t say which of his recommendations he would act on first, citing a government writ — implemented after a byelection was called for the vacant Regina northeast seat — preventing him from getting into specifics.
Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan defended the province’s decision to hand the job to Weighill after he just conducted a thorough review of the coroner’s office.
“I would have been concerned with it had one of the recommendations been to change the structure of the position,” Morgan said. “I don’t think I’m troubled by the fact that he’d gone through the reporting process.”
Weighill earned a reputation of rebuilding trust while at the helm of the Saskatoon Police Service after a public inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild.
He’ll look to do the same in his new position.
“We want to build the confidence back in the coroner’s office.
Unfortunately, it has taken a bit of a hit, and I think that will be one of my main charges of action,” Weighill said.
In addition to leading Saskatoon’s police force between 2006 and 2017, Weighill served as president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
The coroner’s office acts as an independent agency leading investigations into “all sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in order to improve the health, safety and quality of life of the citizens of our province.”
Although Weighill isn’t starting his new job for nearly a month, he tempered any expectations of overhauling the coroner’s office.
“The system isn’t broken,” he said. “It needs some help and that’s what we’re going to try and do here.”