Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee tabled Bill No. 27 today, the first significant revision of the territory’s Coroners Act in 60 years.
The proposed legislation clarifies the duties of coroners, reflects best practices and procedures for the Coroner’s Service and was developed following engagement with Yukoners, the Chief Coroner, community coroners, the RCMP and other interested parties.
Our government is updating the Coroners Act to enhance and support the Yukon Coroner’s Service and to inspire confidence in its investigations into unexplained or unexpected deaths. These revisions provide the Coroner’s Service with modern tools and structures to give the best service to Yukoners.
Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee
I am looking forward to having the new act address necessary modern practices. These will allow us to continue to provide high-quality death investigations and inquests, ensuring that no death will be overlooked, concealed or ignored.
Chief coroner Heather Jones
The proposed legislation maintains a Coroners Service model, sets out the powers of the Coroner in managing the files included in a death investigation, and codifies how information will be gathered and disclosed.
Bill no. 27 states that inquests are presided over by senior lawyers or judges. It also allows families to request an inquest into the death of a loved one and includes an expanded set of circumstances for notifying the Coroner’s Service of deaths involving children or those occurring to persons detained at a government institution.
The Department of Justice considered all coroners models across Canada and structured the new Act to best meet the needs of Yukoners.
The existing Act, based on the old Coroners Ordinance 1958, has only been amended a few times since its creation in 1958.