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Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Stronger, More Accountable Coroners System in Ontario


Ontario will soon have a more responsive, more accountable death investigation system in Ontario with the passage today of the Coroners Amendment Act, 2009. Passed today by the Ontario legislature, the Coroners Amendment Act, 2009, addresses the recommended legislative amendments in the report of the Honourable Justice Stephen Goudge's Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario. When the new law comes into effect following royal assent, it will establish a framework to strengthen the death investigation system in Ontario.

Provisions of the new legislation include:
- The establishment of an oversight council for Ontario's death investigation system
- An improved complaints system under the oversight council
- The establishment of an Ontario Forensic Pathology Service
- A registry of pathologists authorized to conduct coroner's autopsies in Ontario
- Improved death investigation services to northern and First Nations communities.

"We have acted swiftly to deliver on our commitment to strengthen the province's death investigation system. The new legislation ensures we have the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure high quality death investigations that contribute to the safety of all Ontarians."
- Rick Bartolucci
(http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about_min/bio/bio.html), Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

"This legislation gives us the framework to build on the work we've already done to strengthen the system to ensure that the people of Ontario have confidence and trust in our system."
- Dr. Andrew McCallum(www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/pub_safety/office_coroner/chief_coroner.html), Ontario's Chief Coroner

"The new law recognizes the importance of a professional forensic pathology service. We can now take the next steps towards delivering the consistent high quality service the people of Ontario deserve."
- Dr. Michael Pollanen, Ontario's Chief Forensic Pathologist

- Ontario's coroners investigate approximately 20,000 deaths every year.
- Approximately 7,000 of those investigations require a post-mortem examination by a pathologist.
- The Coroners Act has not been significantly updated since the 1970s.

Learn more about Ontario's coroners
Read Justice Goudge's report and recommendations

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