Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Fixing a Broken System: the Coroners Amendment Act, 2008

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional organization for registered nurses who practice in all roles and sectors across this province. Our mandate is to advocate for healthy public policy and for the role of registered nurses in enhancing the health of Ontarians. We welcome this opportunity to present this submission on Bill 115, the Coroners Amendment Act, 2008, to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

RNAO welcomes Bill 115, which addresses many of the recommendations of the Goudge Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario. We believe that the legislation will go a long way to ensuring the professionalism of forensic pathology in Ontario, and to solving the systemic problems that Justice Goudge identified with respect to oversight, accountability and transparency. However, we recommend that the Bill be amended to provide greater Ministerial
responsibility for and oversight over the overseers.

This Bill concerns very crucial matters: the right to know how loved ones came to pass away; saving lives in the future via coroners’ recommendations (and what better closure can people get than knowing that the loss of their loved ones helped to save lives?); and public confidence in the criminal justice system. There is a lot at stake, and we must ensure that this legislation misses no opportunity to serve the public interest.

Summary of Recommendations
RNAO recommends support for Bill 115, with the following amendments:

Maintain the Minister's power to order an inquest (i.e., maintain Section 22 of the Act by removing clauses 13 and 16 of the Bill)
Table in the Legislature annual reports of the Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC).
Table in the Legislature reports of the DIOC complaints committee.

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