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2nd Session, 41st Legislature

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Bill 16

THE FATALITY INQUIRIES AMENDMENT ACT


  Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. F52 amended

1           The Fatality Inquiries Act is amended by this Act.

2           The centred heading "INTERPRETATION" is added before section 1.

3(1)        Subsection 1(1) is amended

(a) in the definition "inquiry", by striking out "subsection 7(5)" and substituting "section 7.3";

(b) in the definition "inquiry report", by striking out "subsection 7(5)" and substituting "subsection 7.4(1)";

(c) by replacing the definition "cause of death" with the following:

"cause of death" means the medical cause of death according to the most recent version of the International Classification of Diseases as published by the World Health Organization; (« cause du décès »)

(d) by adding the following definition:

"custodial facility" means

(a) a custodial facility as defined in The Correctional Services Act,

(b) premises operated by a police service where people are detained, or

(c) a prescribed facility; (« établissement correctionnel »)

3(2)        The following is added after subsection 1(1):

Interpretation: death that requires an inquiry

1(1.1)      In this Act, a "death that requires an inquiry" refers to any type of death set out in subsection 7.1(1).

4           The centred heading "ADMINISTRATION" is added before section 2.

5           Clause 3(2)(a) is repealed.

6           Subsection 6(1) is amended by striking out "death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies" and substituting "death that requires an inquiry".

7(1)        Subsection 7(1) is amended by striking out "the minister or".

7(2)        Subsections 7(5) to (10) are repealed.

8           The following is added after section 7:

INQUIRIES AND INVESTIGATIONS INTO DEATHS

Deaths that require an inquiry

7.1(1)      An inquiry into a death is to be conducted under section 7.3 if it appears that the death occurred:

(a) due to accident;

(b) by suicide or homicide;

(c) suddenly and unexpectedly when the deceased appeared to be in good health;

(d) due to poisoning;

(e) due to a contagious disease that is a threat to public health;

(f) during pregnancy, or following pregnancy in circumstances that might reasonably be related to pregnancy;

(g) in any of the following circumstances:

(i) during surgery or the performance of an invasive medical procedure,

(ii) within 10 days after surgery or the performance of an invasive medical procedure,

(iii) while the deceased was under anaesthesia;

(h) within 24 hours after the deceased attends at a hospital seeking admission;

(i) while the deceased is in the custody of a peace officer or as the result of the use of force by a peace officer who was acting in the course of duty;

(j) as the result of

(i) contracting a disease or condition,

(ii) sustaining an injury, or

(iii) exposure to a toxic substance,

at the deceased's current or former place of employment or business;

(k) while the deceased is a resident in a facility under The Mental Health Act or a developmental centre under The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act;

(l) while the deceased is imprisoned or detained in a correctional facility, jail or penitentiary;

(m) when the deceased is a child;

(n) in a prescribed type or class of facility or institution;

(o) in prescribed circumstances.

Interpretation: suicide and homicide

7.1(2)      For the purpose of clause (1)(b), the terms "suicide" and "homicide" do not include a death that is a result of the provision of medical assistance in dying as defined in section 241.1 of the Criminal Code (Canada).

Inquiry into deaths that occur outside Manitoba

7.2(1)      If the death of a Manitoba resident occurs outside Manitoba in circumstances where an inquiry into the death would have been required if the death had occurred in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner may, in his or her discretion, direct a medical examiner or investigator to conduct an inquiry into the death.

Application

7.2(2)      When the chief medical examiner makes a direction under subsection (1), all provisions of this Act apply to the death as if it had occurred in Manitoba.

Inquiry into a death

7.3(1)      When a medical examiner or investigator becomes aware of a death that occurs in any of the circumstances set out in subsection 7.1(1), he or she must conduct a prompt inquiry to determine

(a) the identity of the deceased;

(b) the date, time and place of death;

(c) the cause of death;

(d) the manner of death;

(e) the circumstances in which the death occurred; and

(f) whether the death warrants an investigation.

Taking charge of body

7.3(2)      When an inquiry is commenced into a death

(a) the medical examiner or investigator conducting the inquiry must take charge of the body; or

(b) a police officer must

(i) take charge of the body when directed to do so by a medical examiner or investigator, and

(ii) comply with any additional directions from a medical examiner or investigator respecting the handling and transportation of the body.

Inquiry if no body

7.3(3)      A medical examiner or investigator must conduct an inquiry into a death even if the body has not been recovered or located.

Inquiry report

7.4(1)      The medical examiner or investigator conducting an inquiry must prepare a written report setting out his or her findings on the matters set out in subsection 7.3(1).

No opinion on culpability

7.4(2)      The medical examiner or investigator must not express an opinion in an inquiry report with respect to culpability for the death.

9           Section 8 is amended by striking out "clauses 7(5)(a) to (f)" and substituting "subsection 7.3(1)".

10(1)       Clause 9(1)(b) is amended by striking out everything after "made the inquiry," and substituting "the medical examiner who is directed by the chief medical examiner to conduct the investigation;".

10(2)       Subsection 9(2) is amended

(a) in the section heading, by striking out everything after "Mandatory investigation"; and

(b) by striking out "of a child".

10(3)       Subsection 9(5) is amended

(a) in the section heading, by striking out "minister or";

(b) by striking out "the minister or"; and

(c) by striking out "clauses 7(5)(a) to (f)" and substituting "subsection 7.3(1)".

10(4)       Subsection 9(6) is amended by striking out "clauses 7(5)(a) to (f)" and substituting "subsection 7.3(1)".

10(5)       Subsection 9(7) is amended by adding "— including personal health information as defined in The Personal Health Information Act" after "extract information".

11(1)       Subsection 12(1) is replaced with the following:

Autopsy

12(1)       If a medical examiner conducting an investigation determines that an autopsy is required, he or she must engage a pathologist to perform the autopsy.

11(2)       The following is added after subsection 12(1):

External examination

12(1.1)     If a medical examiner conducting an investigation determines that an external examination is required, he or she must engage a pathologist to perform the examination, unless the chief medical examiner authorizes the medical examiner to perform the external examination.

11(3)       Subsection 12(2) is repealed.

11(4)       Subsection 12(4) is amended by striking out everything after "under this Act" and substituting "must submit an autopsy report to the chief medical examiner in accordance with directions from the chief medical examiner.".

11(5)       Subsections 12(4.1) and (6) are repealed.

12           Subsection 14(1) is replaced with the following:

Investigation report

14(1)       When a medical examiner has completed an investigation into a death, he or she must provide the chief medical examiner with a written report that includes the following:

(a) the medical examiner's determination of the cause and manner of death;

(b) identification of the documents on which the report relies;

(c) a recommendation as to whether an inquest into the death is advisable, including the reasons for the recommendation.

13(1)       Subsection 15(1) is amended by adding "or investigator" after "medical examiner".

13(2)       Subsection 15(3) is amended by striking out "subsection (1) or (2)" and substituting "subsection (2)".

14           Subsection 16(2) is amended in the part before clause (a) by striking out "death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies" and substituting "death that requires an inquiry".

15           Subsection 17(3) is amended by striking out everything after "to be a death" and substituting "that requires an inquiry.".

16           Subsection 18(2) is amended

(a) in the English version, by striking out "that issues" and substituting "who issues"; and

(b) by adding "or investigator" after "medical examiner" wherever it occurs.

17           The centred heading "CALLING AN INQUEST" is added before section 19.

18           Section 19 is replaced with the following:

Decision to hold inquest

19(1)       Following a review of the investigation report of a death, the chief medical examiner must determine if an inquest into the death should be held.

Considerations

19(2)       The chief medical examiner may determine that an inquest should be held if he or she is of the opinion that

(a) an inquest is necessary to determine the cause or manner of death or the exact circumstances in which the death occurred; or

(b) an inquest may enable the presiding provincial judge to recommend changes to provincial laws or the programs, policies and practices of the provincial government or of public agencies or institutions to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Discretion if other review being conducted

19(3)       The chief medical examiner may determine that an inquest should not be held if

(a) the cause and manner of death and the circumstances in which a death occurred are already known; and

(b) a review into the death has been or will be conducted under another Act that will result in recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

CME may make recommendations

19(4)       The chief medical examiner may determine that an inquest into a death should not be held if

(a) the cause and manner of death and the circumstances in which the death occurred are already known; and

(b) he or she has made recommendations to the minister and any other person he or she considers appropriate on measures to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Presumption of inquest

19(5)       Subject to subsections (6) and (7), an inquest into a death must be held if

(a) the chief medical examiner has reasonable grounds to believe that the deceased person died as the result of the use of force by a peace officer who was acting in the course of duty; or

(b) at the time of death, the deceased person was

(i) in the custody of a peace officer,

(ii) a resident in a custodial facility,

(iii) an involuntary resident in a facility under The Mental Health Act, or

(iv) a resident in a developmental centre as defined in The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act.

Exception

19(6)       An inquest is not required if a death occurred in any of the circumstances set out in clause (5)(b) if the chief medical examiner is satisfied that

(a) the death was due to natural causes and was not preventable and the public interest would not be served by holding an inquest into the death; or

(b) there was no meaningful connection between the death and the nature or quality of supervision or care provided to the deceased person by reason of the deceased person's status or circumstances as set out in clause (5)(b).

No inquest if public inquiry to be held

19(7)       An inquest is not required if the death is or will be the subject of a public inquiry called under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act or the Inquiries Act (Canada).

CME to direct holding of inquest

19.1(1)     If the chief medical examiner determines that an inquest into a death should be held, he or she must direct the Chief Judge to assign a provincial judge to conduct the inquest.

Single inquest for multiple deaths

19.1(2)     The chief medical examiner may direct the Chief Judge to arrange for a single inquest to be held into two or more deaths if the facts or circumstances relating to those deaths are the same or are sufficiently similar that separate inquests are not required.

19           Sections 20 to 22 are repealed.

20           Section 23 is amended

(a) by renumbering it as section 36.1; and

(b) by striking out everything after "from the premises".

21           Section 24 is renumbered as section 36.2.

22           Section 25 is repealed.

23           Section 26 is replaced with the following:

Assigning judge for inquest

26(1)       When the Chief Judge receives a direction to hold an inquest, he or she must assign a provincial judge to conduct the inquest.

Inquest cancelled if public inquiry called

26(2)       If a public inquiry into a death is called under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act or the Inquiries Act (Canada) after a direction to hold an inquest has been made, the inquest is cancelled.

24           The following is added as section 26.2:

Purpose of inquest

26.2(1)     An inquest is a non-adversarial proceeding held for the sole purpose of establishing the facts necessary to enable the presiding provincial judge to prepare a report into the death under section 33.

Inquest not a civil or criminal proceeding

26.2(2)     An inquest is not subject to the same rules of procedure and evidence that apply in civil or criminal proceedings.

Orders and directions

26.2(3)     The presiding provincial judge may make such orders and directions as he or she considers appropriate for the fair and expeditious determination of the issues at the inquest.

25           Section 27 is replaced with the following:

Inquest counsel

27          When a direction to hold an inquest has been made, the minister must appoint a member of the Law Society of Manitoba to act as counsel for the inquest.

26(1)       Subsection 28(1) is amended by striking out "examine or cross-examine" and substituting "question".

26(2)       Subsection 28(2) is amended by striking out "examination or cross-examination" wherever it occurs and substituting "questioning".

27           Clause 31(4)(a) is replaced with the following:

(a) is acting as counsel for the inquest;

28           Subsection 33(1) is replaced with the following:

Inquest report

33(1)       After completion of an inquest, the presiding provincial judge must provide the minister with a written report that sets out his or her findings respecting the following:

(a) the identity of the deceased;

(b) the date, time and place of death;

(c) the cause of death;

(d) the manner of death;

(e) the circumstances in which the death occurred.

Recommendations in inquest report

33(1.1)     The report under subsection (1) may contain recommendations on changes to provincial laws or the programs, policies and practices of the provincial government or of public agencies or institutions to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

29(1)       Section 34 is amended

(a) in subsection (1), by striking out "may" and substituting "must";

(b) in subsection (4) in the part after clause (b), by striking out "minister" and substituting "Chief Judge".

29(2)       Section 34 is further amended by renumbering it as section 26.1 and by replacing subsection (2) with the following:

Inquest after criminal proceedings completed

26.1(2)     Subject to subsection (2.1), an inquest may proceed when a criminal charge in respect of the death has been finally determined.

Cancelling inquest

26.1(2.1)   The presiding provincial judge may cancel an inquest if he or she is satisfied that

(a) the circumstances of the death have been adequately examined in the criminal proceedings; and

(b) the public interest would not be served by holding an inquest into the death.

Notice to minister

26.1(2.2)   If the presiding provincial judge cancels an inquest under subsection (2.1), he or she must file a report with the minister setting out the reasons why the inquest was cancelled.

30           Section 35 is repealed.

31           The centred heading "GENERAL MATTERS" is added before section 36.

32           Subsections 36(1) and (2) are amended by striking out "death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies" and substituting "death that requires an inquiry".

33           Subsection 38(1) is amended by striking out "the minister or" wherever it occurs.

34           Subsection 39(1) is amended by striking out "death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies" and substituting "death that requires an inquiry".

35(1)       Subsection 40(1) is amended by striking out "to whom clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies" and substituting "whose death requires an inquiry".

35(2)       Subsection 40(3) is repealed.

36(1)       Clause 42(1)(a) is amended by striking out everything after "medical examiner or investigator".

36(2)       Subsection 42(2) is amended in the part before clause (a) by striking out "subsection 33(1) or 34(2)" and substituting "subsection 26.1(2.2) or 33(1)".

37           Subsection 43(1) is amended

(a) in the part before clause (a), by striking out "correctional institution, jail or prison" and substituting "custodial facility"; and

(b) in clause (a), by striking out "correctional institution, jail, prison" and substituting "custodial facility".

38           Clauses 44(g) and (h) are repealed.

TRANSITIONAL

Transitional provisions

39(1)       If a direction to conduct an inquest into a death had been made under the former Act but the inquest had not yet started when this Act comes into force, the chief medical examiner must review the investigation report into the death again and decide whether an inquest should be held into the death using the criteria set out in section 19 of The Fatality Inquiries Act, as enacted by section 18 of this Act.

39(2)        If the chief medical examiner decides under subsection (1) that an inquest into the death should not be held, he or she must give written notice of the decision to the minister, including the reasons why he or she decided that an inquest is not required.

39(3)       If the chief medical examiner decides under subsection (1) that an inquest should be held into a death, he or she must direct the Chief Judge to arrange for an inquest to be held.

39(4)       In this section, "former Act" means The Fatality Inquiries Act as it read before the coming into force of this Act.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS AND COMING INTO FORCE

Consequential amendments, C.C.S.M. c. V60

40(1)       The Vital Statistics Act is amended by this section.

40(2)       Subsection 14(6) is replaced with the following:

Deaths that require inquiry under Fatality Inquiries Act

14(6)       Subject to subsection 17(2), if it appears that the deceased person died in any of the circumstances set out in subsection 7.1(1) of The Fatality Inquiries Act that require an inquiry to be conducted under that Act, no burial permit may be issued by the event registrar before

(a) an inquiry into the death is conducted under The Fatality Inquiries Act;

(b) a medical examiner completes and signs the medical certificate of death in accordance with subsection (4); and

(c) registration of the death is completed in accordance with this Act.

40(3)       Subsection 14(7) is amended by striking out "and subclause (6)(b)(i)".

40(4)       Subsection 14(7.1) is repealed.

40(5)       Subsection 17(2) is amended by striking out "investigation" and substituting "inquiry".

Coming into force

41           This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

The Fatality Inquiries Act requires the reporting of sudden or unexpected deaths and deaths that occur in specified circumstances. An inquiry must be conducted into all reported deaths. A medical examiner must conduct an investigation into a death if the inquiry raises questions about the manner or cause of death. The chief medical examiner may arrange for a judicial inquest to be held to examine the circumstances of a death and make recommendations to prevent deaths in the future.

Inquiries and investigations

The Bill

  • clarifies the roles of investigators and medical examiners;
  • specifies who has responsibility for taking control of a body that is the subject of an inquiry; and
  • authorizes inquiries into deaths of Manitoba residents that occur outside Manitoba.

Inquests

Amendments in the Bill clarify when an inquest into a death is to be held. An inquest must be held if a person died as the result of the use of force by a peace officer. There is a presumption that an inquest is to be held if a person dies while in custody or while residing in specified provincial facilities. However, an inquest is not required in such cases if the death was due to natural causes and was not preventable or if there was no connection between the death and the supervision or care provided to the deceased. The chief medical examiner is not required to arrange for an inquest in specified situations.

The manner in which an inquest is called is updated. The amendments clarify the roles of the judge presiding at an inquest and counsel for the inquest. The ability of the Minister of Justice to call an inquest or have an active role in relation to matters under the Act is removed.

Act updated

Several provisions are rewritten or reorganized to improve readability. Outdated provisions are repealed. The Bill makes consequential amendments to The Vital Statistics Act.