Brief by the Québec Ombudsman presented to the Committee on Institutions concerning Bill 45
On August 26, 2020, Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret presented a brief to the Committee on Institutions concerning Bill 45, Act concerning mainly the appointment and the terms of office of coroners and of the Chief Coroner.
As the Ombudsperson sees it, this bill proposes worthwhile advances. However, she feels that it warrants improvements, notably in order to reduce the delays for producing reports of investigation. She also considers it crucial that it provide for periodic follow-ups between the coroner and the family of the deceased person. These follow-ups should be carried out if the investigation exceeds 30 days. If there is no investigation, the family must be informed about the findings of the summary examination, says Ms. Rinfret. She adds that the Chief Coroner should have additional powers enabling him or her to follow-up on her recommendations.
Lastly, the Ombudsperson points out that the passage of regulatory provisions would remedy certain problems. Thus, grieving families could be granted financial assistance which, as it now stands, they cannot obtain. As for the difficulty of recruiting new coroners, it could be resolved by broadening access to these positions.
Given the preceding, the Ombudsperson made six recommendations to the Committee on Institutions.