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C.C.S.M. c. F52

The Fatality Inquiries Act

(Assented to March 8, 1990)

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

Definitions

1(1)        In this Act,

"autopsy" means the dissection of a body following exposure of cranial, thoracic and abdominal cavities for the purpose of macroscopic and microscopic examination of organs and tissues of the body to determine the cause or causes of death, the manner of death or the identity of the deceased and includes toxicological, biochemical, microbiological, serological, radiological tests and other laboratory processes where performed as a necessary part of an examination; (« autopsie »)

"body" means a dead human body and includes a part of a dead human body and the remains of a dead human body; (« cadavre »)

"cause of death" means the medical cause of death according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death as published and from time to time revised by the World Health Organization of the United Nations Organization; (« cause du décès »)

"Chief Judge" means the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba; (« juge en chef »)

"child" means a person under the age of majority; (« enfant »)

"document" includes electronic data; (« document »)

"duly qualified medical practitioner" means a medical practitioner who is licensed to practice medicine in Manitoba and who is a member in good standing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba; (« médecin »)

"external examination" means the examination of an unclothed body with or without removal of body tissue or fluids for the purpose of a toxicological examination; (« examen externe »)

"inquiry" means an inquiry under subsection 7(5); (« enquête »)

"inquiry report" means a report submitted to the chief medical examiner under subsection 7(5); (« rapport d'enquête »)

"investigation" means an investigation under section 9 including, where applicable, an external examination or autopsy; (« investigation »)

"investigation report" means a report submitted to the chief medical examiner under subsection 14(1); (« rapport d'investigation »)

"investigator" means a person appointed under subsection 3(1) and does not include a police officer to whom section 39 applies; (« investigateur »)

"manner of death" means the way in which a person dies or a death occurs, whether natural, homicidal, suicidal, accidental or undetermined, and does not include the cause of death; (« nature d'un décès »)

"medical certificate" means a medical certificate as prescribed under The Vital Statistics Act; (« certificat médical »)

"medical examiner" means a person appointed under subsection 2(1) and includes the chief medical examiner; (« médecin légiste »)

"member of the family" means a surviving parent, spouse, sibling or child of the deceased and, in the absence of a surviving spouse, includes a person, if any, with whom the deceased cohabited at the time of death and for at least one year prior to the death and the children of the person where the deceased, at the time of the death, stood in the place of a parent with respect to such children; (« membre de la famille »)

"minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged with the administration of this Act; (« ministre »)

"pathologist" means a duly qualified medical practitioner who is recognized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba as a medical practitioner who specializes in laboratory medicine; (« pathologiste »)

"prescribed" means prescribed by regulation under this Act. (« prescrit »)

Interpretation

1(2)        In this Act, an inquest is completed when all evidence and submissions have been received by the presiding provincial judge.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 2; S.M. 2007, c. 14, s. 2.

Appointment of chief medical examiner

2(1)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint a pathologist as the chief medical examiner for the province.

Appointment of medical examiners

2(1.1)      The minister, on the recommendation of the chief medical examiner, may appoint persons who are duly qualified medical practitioners as medical examiners.

Termination of appointment

2(2)        The appointment of a medical examiner terminates upon

(a) the medical examiner ceasing to be a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province of Manitoba;

(b) the medical examiner submitting a resignation in writing to the minister;

(c) the medical examiner ceasing to reside in Manitoba; or

(d) with respect to a medical examiner other than the chief medical examiner, revocation of the appointment by order of the chief medical examiner under clause (5)(d).

Automatic suspension of appointment

2(3)        The appointment of a medical examiner is suspended during a period that the licence of the medical examiner as a medical practitioner is suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province of Manitoba.

Duties of chief medical examiner

2(4)         The chief medical examiner shall

(a) supervise the work of medical examiners and investigators;

(b) establish and maintain, for purposes of this Act, the professional standards applicable to medical examiners and investigators;

(c) regulate and facilitate the education and training of medical examiners and investigators in areas relevant to their responsibilities under this Act; and

(d) discharge such other responsibilities as are assigned to the chief medical examiner under this Act or a regulation made under this Act or are assigned by the minister for purposes of this Act.

Powers of chief medical examiner

2(5)        The chief medical examiner may,

(a) with respect to a death to which this Act applies

(i) direct a medical examiner to conduct an investigation or an investigator to assist a medical examiner in the conduct of an investigation,

(ii) direct that an autopsy be performed;

(b) regulate the reporting, investigating and recording of deaths by medical examiners and investigators;

(c) remove a medical examiner or an investigator from an investigation or part of an investigation;

(d) suspend or revoke, for cause, the appointment of a medical examiner;

(e) regulate disposals under subsection 13(2); and

(f) exercise any of the powers of a medical examiner under this Act.

Acting chief medical examiner

2(6)        The chief medical examiner may appoint a medical examiner to act in the place of the chief medical examiner for a period during which the chief medical examiner, by reason of illness, absence or other disability, is unable to perform the duties of chief medical examiner.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 3.

Death, incapacity or suspension of CME

2(7)        In the event of the death, incapacity or suspension of the medical licence of the chief medical examiner, the minister may appoint a medical examiner to act in the place of the chief medical examiner until a new chief medical examiner is appointed or the chief medical examiner resumes the duties of the chief medical examiner.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 3.

Appointment of investigator

3(1)        The chief medical examiner may appoint a person who is not a duly qualified medical practitioner to act as an investigator.

Powers and duties of investigator

3(2)        An investigator appointed under subsection (1) shall have the powers and duties of a medical examiner other than

(a) to determine the cause of death or the manner of death for purposes of an inquiry report;

(b) to commence or conduct an investigation; or

(c) to order or perform an external examination or autopsy.

Oath of office and allegiance

4           A person appointed as chief medical examiner, as a medical examiner or as an investigator shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, take and subscribe an oath of office and an oath of allegiance.

Subsisting appointments

5(1)        An appointment of a medical examiner made before the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be an appointment of the medical examiner under this Act.

Oaths of previous appointees

5(2)        An oath of office sworn by a medical examiner before the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be an oath of office as sworn by the medical examiner under this Act.

Reporting deaths

6(1)        A person who is a witness to or has knowledge of a death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies shall immediately report the death to a medical examiner, an investigator or to the police.

Police report to medical examiner

6(2)        Where a police officer receives a report under subsection (1), the officer shall immediately convey the report to a medical examiner or investigator.

Jurisdiction of ME and investigator

7(1)        Unless otherwise directed by the minister or the chief medical examiner, a medical examiner or investigator has jurisdiction throughout the province.

Duties of medical examiner

7(2)        A medical examiner shall act according to the directions and under the supervision of the chief medical examiner and, in addition to performing the duties elsewhere assigned under this Act, shall

(a) maintain records of deaths reported to the medical examiner and provide regular reports on the deaths to the chief medical examiner; and

(b) discharge the duties that are assigned to a medical examiner under The Vital Statistics Act and The Human Tissue Gift Act.

Conflict of interest for ME

7(3)        Where, in respect of a death to which this Act applies, a medical practitioner

(a) treated the deceased person prior to the death;

(b) is a partner of a medical practitioner who treated the deceased person prior to the death;

(c) was, at the time of the death, a member of the medical staff at the hospital where the death occurred or later becomes and is a member of the medical staff at the hospital; or

(d) has an interest, whether professional or personal, that conflicts with the duties of a medical examiner under this Act;

the medical practitioner shall not act as a medical examiner in respect of the death unless the medical practitioner first discloses to the chief medical examiner the applicable circumstances under clauses (a), (b), (c) or (d) and the chief medical examiner authorizes the medical practitioner to act as a medical examiner in respect of the death.

Conflict of interest for investigator

7(4)        A medical examiner shall not engage a person to act as an investigator where the person has an interest, whether professional or personal, that conflicts with the duties of an investigator under this Act, unless the medical examiner first advises the chief medical examiner of the conflict and the chief medical examiner authorizes the medical examiner to engage the person as an investigator.

Inquiry as to deaths

7(5)        Where a medical examiner or investigator learns of a death to which clause (9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies and the body is in the province, the medical examiner or investigator shall immediately take charge of the body, inform the police of the death and make prompt inquiry with respect to

(a) the cause of death;

(b) the manner of death;

(c) the identity and age of the deceased;

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

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

(f) subject to subsection 9(2), whether the death warrants an investigation;

and shall submit an inquiry report on the above matters to the chief medical examiner and where the medical examiner or investigator decides that the death warrants an investigation, the medical examiner or investigator shall provide the reasons for the decision.

No opinions on culpability

7(6)        In making an inquiry report under subsection (5), a medical examiner or investigator shall not express an opinion with respect to culpability in such manner that a person is or could be identified as a culpable party.

Act applies where no body recovered

7(7)        With respect to a death to which clause (9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies, a medical examiner or investigator shall take action under subsection (5) notwithstanding failure to recover or locate the body.

Investigator to engage medical examiner

7(8)        Where an investigator makes prompt inquiry under subsection (5), the investigator shall engage a medical examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.

Deaths to which subsection (5) applies

7(9)        Subsection (5) applies to a death where

(a) the deceased person died

(i) as a result of an accident,

(ii) by an act of suicide, negligence or homicide,

(iii) in an unexpected or unexplained manner,

(iv) as a result of poisoning,

(v) as a result of contracting a contagious disease that is a threat to public health,

(vi) suddenly of unknown cause,

(vii) during a pregnancy or during recovery from a pregnancy,

(viii) while under anesthesia or while recovering from an anesthesia or within 10 days of a surgical operation performed upon the person,

(ix) while in the custody of a peace officer,

(x) as a result of

(A) contracting a disease or condition,

(B) sustaining an injury, or

(C) ingesting a toxic substance, at the place of employment or former employment of the person,

(xi) within 24 hours of admission of the person to a hospital,

(xii) in a place, institution or facility that is prescribed or is of a class of place, institution or facility that is prescribed, or

(xiii) in circumstances that are prescribed;

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

(i) was not under the care of a duly qualified medical practitioner for the condition that brought on the death, or

(ii) was a resident of an institution or care facility that is licensed, or is required by an Act of the Legislature to be licensed, to operate as a residential institution or care facility;

(c) the deceased person died while a resident in a correctional institution, jail, prison or military guardroom, in a psychriatic facility as defined in The Mental Health Act or in a developmental centre as defined in The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act; or

(d) the deceased person is a child.

"Not under the care"

7(10)       In subclause (9)(b)(i), "not under the care of a duly qualified medical practitioner" means the deceased, in the period of 14 days preceding the death, is not seen, attended or treated by a duly qualified medical practitioner, or, where use of a delegate is approved by the chief medical examiner, by a delegate of the duly qualified medical practitioner, for an illness or condition related to the cause of death.

S.M. 1993, c. 29, s. 182; S.M. 2005, c. 42, s. 14.

Where unable to make prompt inquiry

8           Where a medical examiner or investigator is unable to make prompt inquiry with respect to any or all of the matters described in clauses 7(5)(a) to (f), the medical examiner or the investigator, as the case may be, shall request another medical examiner or investigator to make the inquiry and shall record the death and the reasons why the medical examiner or investigator is unable to make the prompt inquiry.

Investigation after inquiry

9(1)        Where, after an inquiry, a medical examiner or investigator determines that a death warrants an investigation, an investigation shall be commenced immediately by,

(a) where a medical examiner made the inquiry, the medical examiner;

(b) where an investigator made the inquiry, the medical examiner who is engaged by the investigator under subsection 7(8);

unless the chief medical examiner otherwise directs under subsection (5).

Mandatory investigation on death of child

9(2)        In the case of a death of a child that might be the result of an accident, suicide, homicide or other unnatural cause, an investigation is warranted and must be commenced in accordance with clause (1)(a) or (b).

Investigator to assist medical examiner

9(3)        With respect to an investigation commenced under clause (1)(b), the investigator who conducted the inquiry shall, unless the chief medical examiner otherwise directs, assist the medical examiner in the investigation and continue with the investigation under the direction of the medical examiner.

ME has exclusive jurisdiction

9(4)        Subject to subsection (6), a medical examiner who commences an investigation under subsection (1) has exclusive jurisdiction to conduct the investigation.

Investigation directed by minister or CME

9(5)        Notwithstanding commencement of an investigation by a medical examiner under subsection (1), the minister or the chief medical examiner may direct a medical examiner, other than the medical examiner under subsection (1), to commence an investigation with respect to any or all of the matters described in clauses 7(5)(a) to (f).

Successor ME has exclusive jurisdiction

9(6)        A medical examiner who is directed under subsection (5) to commence an investigation assumes, in succession to the medical examiner under subsection (1), exclusive jurisdiction to investigate the matters under clauses 7(5)(a) to (f) for which the medical examiner under subsection (5) is directed to commence an investigation.

Examination of records

9(7)        Notwithstanding provisions to the contrary in an Act of the Legislature, for the purpose of an investigation, a medical examiner or an investigator may examine and extract information from a record, file or document held by a person or by a department or agency of government and that relates to the deceased and may make a copy of a record, file or document, or a part thereof, that the medical examiner or investigator considers relevant to the investigation.

Child's death to be reported to children's advocate

10(1)       Upon learning that a child has died in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner must notify the children's advocate under The Child and Family Services Act of that death.

Reports to be given to children's advocate

10(2)       If the children's advocate has jurisdiction to conduct a review under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act in relation to the death of a child in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner must provide to the children's advocate, upon request,

(a) a copy of the medical examiner's report on the manner and cause of death; and

(b) a copy of the final autopsy report, if one has been ordered by the medical examiner and the children's advocate requires it for the review.

Reports are confidential

10(3)       The information provided to the children's advocate under subsection (2) must not be used except for the purpose of a review and report under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act, and must not be disclosed in that report except as necessary to support the findings and recommendations made in that report.

S.M. 1999, c. 10, s. 2; S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 4; S.M. 2007, c. 14, s. 2.

Cordoning off scene of death

11(1)       A medical examiner or investigator, for purposes of an inquiry or investigation, may cordon off a scene, area or place where

(a) the deceased person suffered the injuries or acquired the condition that led to the death;

(b) the body of the deceased person is found;

for a period not exceeding 48 hours or such greater period as the chief medical examiner approves.

Extension of cordoning off period

11(2)       The period described in subsection (1) may be extended by the chief medical examiner for a further period.

Personal property of deceased

11(3)        For the purposes of an inquiry or investigation, a medical examiner or investigator shall take charge of objects that are or might be items of personal property of the deceased and that are found on or near the body of the deceased or at the scene or in the area or near the scene or area where the body of the deceased is found.

Removal of objects from scene

11(4)       For the purposes of an inquiry or investigation, a medical examiner or investigator may remove objects from a scene or area that is cordoned off under subsection (1), whether or not the objects are items of personal property of the deceased.

Prohibition of removal

11(5)       A medical examiner or investigator may prohibit, until an investigation is completed, the removal of objects from a scene or area that is cordoned off under subsection (1).

Section 41 applies

11(6)       Section 41 applies to objects that are removed under subsection (3) or (4).

Autopsy

12(1)       Subject to subsection (2), where a medical examiner, in the course of an investigation, concludes that an autopsy is required, the medical examiner may

(a) engage a pathologist to perform the autopsy; or

(b) with the prior approval of the chief medical examiner,

(i) perform the autopsy, or

(ii) engage a duly qualified medical practitioner who is not a pathologist to perform the autopsy.

Mandatory autopsy on deceased child

12(2)       In the case of a death of a child under subsection 9(2), a medical examiner shall engage a pathologist to perform an autopsy.

Authorization for forensic specialists

12(3)       A medical examiner shall not engage a forensic specialist for consultative services in respect of an autopsy without prior authorization from the chief medical examiner.

Autopsy report

12(4)       A person who performs an autopsy under this Act shall, in the form and manner prescribed and within 60 days after the autopsy is commenced, submit an autopsy report to the chief medical examiner.

Extension by chief medical examiner

12(4.1)     The chief medical examiner may extend the period within which an autopsy report must be submitted by a further 30 days.

Exclusion from autopsy

12(5)       The chief medical examiner may exclude a person from an autopsy.

Autopsy by order of minister

12(6)       Where the minister considers it advisable, the minister may direct that an autopsy be performed.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 5.

Removal of body parts

13(1)       Where a person is authorized under an Act of the Legislature or under this Act to perform an autopsy, the person may, for the purposes of the autopsy, excise or remove a part of the body for a scientific or laboratory examination.

Disposal of body part

13(2)       Upon completion of a scientific or laboratory examination under subsection (1), the person who excised the body part shall not dispose of the part except with the approval of the chief medical examiner.

Investigation report

14(1)       Upon completion of an investigation, the medical examiner shall immediately submit to the chief medical examiner an investigation report that includes,

(a) where the investigation includes an autopsy, the reasons for the autopsy and a copy of the autopsy report;

(b) a recommendation as to whether an inquest is advisable, including reasons for the recommendation;

(c) identification of the documents on which the report relies; and

(d) copies of the documents under clause (c).

Opinions on culpability

14(2)       In an investigation report, a medical examiner shall not express an opinion with respect to culpability in such manner that a person is or could be identified as a culpable party.

Release of body after inquiry

15(1)       A medical examiner may, upon completion of an inquiry, release a body for burial or other disposition unless the death warrants an investigation.

Release of body during investigation

15(2)       Where a body is no longer required for purposes of an external examination or autopsy, a medical examiner may, before completion of an investigation, release the body for burial or other disposition.

Medical certificate

15(3)       Where a medical examiner releases a body under subsection (1) or (2), the medical examiner shall sign and immediately send a medical certificate to an event registrar appointed under The Vital Statistics Act.

Supplemental medical certificate

15(4)       Where a medical certificate under subsection (3) is incomplete, the medical examiner who signed the certificate shall, after completion of an investigation or, where an inquest is directed, after completion of the inquest, send to an event registrar appointed under The Vital Statistics Act a supplemental medical certificate providing such additional information as may be required.

S.M. 2001, c. 5, s. 35.

Prohibition

16(1)       Notwithstanding The Vital Statistics Act, no person shall bury, cremate, remove from the province or otherwise dispose of a body of a person who dies in the province before

(a) a medical certificate is delivered in accordance with subsection 14(3) of The Vital Statistics Act; and

(b) a burial permit is obtained under The Vital Statistics Act.

No burial without permission

16(2)       In the case of a death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies, no person shall

(a) prepare the body for burial, bury it or cause it to be buried;

(b) prepare the body for cremation, cremate it or cause it to be cremated;

(c) remove the body from the province; or

(d) otherwise dispose of the body;

without the approval of a medical examiner or an investigator.

View body and examine certificate

16(3)       For purposes of clause (2)(a), (2)(b) or (2)(d), a medical examiner shall not give approval under subsection (2) without

(a) viewing the body or the body being viewed by an investigator or by a person of a class designated in writing by the chief medical examiner; and

(b) examining the medical certificate that relates to the body.

Examine medical certificate

16(4)       For purposes of clause (2)(c), a medical examiner shall not give approval under subsection (2) without examining the medical certificate that relates to the body.

S.M. 1998, c. 45, s. 7.

Medical certificate within 48 hours

17(1)       Where a medical examiner learns that an attending physician has failed to issue a medical certificate within 48 hours of a death and the medical examiner is satisfied that this Act does not apply to the death, the medical examiner shall request the attending physician to issue the medical certificate.

Medical examiner to issue certificate

17(2)       Where a medical examiner under subsection (1) is unable to promptly reach the attending physician to request issuance of a medical certificate or the attending physician, upon request by the medical examiner, fails to issue a medical certificate immediately, the medical examiner may, subject to subsection (3), issue a medical certificate.

Medical examiner to take action

17(3)       Where a medical examiner under subsection (2) does not have sufficient information to issue a medical certificate, the medical examiner shall deem the death to be a death to which this Act applies and shall take action as required under subsection 7(5).

Certificate by attending physician

18(1)       Where, after an inquiry, it is determined that a death does not warrant an investigation and that the manner of the death is natural and the cause of death is known to the attending physician, the medical examiner or investigator may request the attending physician to issue a medical certificate and the attending phsyician shall do so.

Notation on medical certificate

18(2)       An attending physician that issues a medical certificate under subsection (1) shall make a notation on the medical certificate indicating that the medical certificate is issued at the request of the medical examiner and the name of the medical examiner.

Certificate sufficient for Vital Statistics

18(3)       A medical certificate issued under subsection (1) is deemed to be a medical certificate issued by a medical examiner for purposes of The Vital Statistics Act.

CME review of investigation report

19(1)       Subject to subsection (3), upon receipt of an investigation report, the chief medical examiner shall review the report and determine whether an inquest ought to be held.

CME to direct holding of an inquest

19(2)       Where the chief medical examiner determines under subsection (1) that an inquest ought to be held, the chief medical examiner shall direct a provincial judge to hold an inquest.

Inquest mandatory

19(3)       Where, as a result of an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe

(a) that a person while a resident in a correctional institution, jail or prison or while an involuntary resident in a psychiatric facility as defined in The Mental Health Act, or while a resident in a developmental centre as defined in The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act, died as a result of a violent act, undue means or negligence or in an unexpected or unexplained manner or suddenly of unknown cause; or

(b) that a person died as a result of an act or omission of a peace officer in the course of duty;

the chief medical examiner shall direct a provincial judge to hold an inquest with respect to the death.

S.M. 1993, c. 29, s. 182.

Preventive measures and precautions

20          Where, in the opinion of the chief medical examiner, a death might have been prevented if precautions had been taken or preventive measures had been in place, the chief medical examiner may make recommendations to the minister, to departments and agencies of government or to other persons as to possible precautions or preventive measures.

Opinions on culpability

21          In directing a provincial judge to hold an inquest, the chief medical examiner shall not, with respect to the death or deaths for which the inquest is to be held, express an opinion with respect to culpability in such manner that a person is or could be identified as a culpable party.

Multiple deaths in one report

22          Where two or more deaths are closely related in time or place, a medical examiner or investigator shall inquire, investigate and report on the deaths together unless the chief medical examiner otherwise directs.

Removal of body to morgue

23          Where premises are provided by a sanitary, health or municipal authority to be used as a morgue to receive a dead body for the purpose of conducting an autopsy, a medical examiner may order the removal of the dead body to or from the premises and the cost of the removal is deemed part of the costs incurred in conducting the autopsy.

Investigation where injury likely to cause death

24          Where a medical examiner is of the opinion that an injury suffered by a person is likely to cause the death of the person, the medical examiner may immediately proceed to investigate the matter and may request written statements from witnesses and from the injured person, if possible, as the medical examiner considers necessary or advisable.

Ministerial direction for inquest

25          The minister may direct a provincial judge to conduct an inquest with respect to a death to which this Act applies.

Provincial judge to hold inquest

26(1)       Where a direction is given by the chief medical examiner under section 19 or by the minister under section 25, a provincial judge shall conduct an inquest.

One inquest for related deaths

26(2)       Where the minister, in making a direction under section 25, or the chief medical examiner, in making a direction under section 19, recommends that two or more deaths that are closely related in time or place be the subject of the same inquest, the provincial judge receiving the direction shall conduct one inquest with respect to the related deaths unless the provincial judge considers it impractical in the circumstances or contrary to the administration of justice to do so.

Inquest attendance by Crown counsel

27          A Crown attorney or other officer or counsel appointed by the minister to act for the Crown may attend an inquest and may examine witnesses called at the inquest.

Inquest attendance by interested persons

28(1)       Subject to subsection (2), a person who, in the opinion of the provincial judge presiding at an inquest, is substantially and directly interested in the inquest, may attend the inquest in person or by counsel and may examine or cross-examine witnesses called at the inquest.

Judge may limit examination

28(2)       A provincial judge presiding at an inquest may limit examination or cross-examination under subsection (1) where the examination or cross-examination is vexatious or is beyond what is necessary for the purpose of the inquest.

Witness deemed to object to questions

29          Notwithstanding a failure to so declare before testifying, a witness called at an inquest is deemed to object to answer the questions put to the witness on the ground that the answers of the witness might tend to criminate the witness or to establish liability to a legal proceeding against the witness.

Subpoena to witness

30(1)       A provincial judge may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses at an inquest.

Separation of witness

30(2)       A provincial judge may direct that a witness be kept separate from another witness or from other witnesses generally.

Application of Criminal Code

30(3)       Sections 20 and 527 and Part XXII of the Criminal Code, to the extent that they relate to a witness, apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to proceedings under this Act.

Witness fee or allowance

30(4)       A witness at an inquest is entitled to be paid a fee or allowance as prescribed for witnesses under The Attorney General's Act.

Taking down the evidence

30(5)       The evidence of witnesses at an inquest shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of The Summary Convictions Act respecting the taking of evidence of witnesses in proceedings under that Act.

Inquest open

31(1)       Subject to subsection (2), an inquest under this Act shall be open to the public.

In camera inquest

31(2)       Where a provincial judge charged with conducting an inquest is of the opinion that testimony to be given or other evidence to be introduced at the inquest includes matters that

(a) involve public security;

(b) are of such a personal nature that, having regard to the circumstances, the privacy of a person would be unreasonably breached; or

(c) relate to professional activities that, having regard to the circumstances, the professional reputation of an individual would be damaged unjustifiably;

the judge may, on application, order that the inquest or a part of the inquest be conducted in camera.

Factors for in camera inquest

31(3)       For the purposes of subsection (2), a provincial judge shall consider the following matters:

(a) the nature of the personal interests or of the professional activities that may be adversely affected by testimony heard or evidence introduced at the inquest;

(b) whether disclosure of all or part of the diagnosis or medical records of the deceased or disclosure of a report of a medical examiner

(i) would result in injury or harm to the mental or physical welfare of a third party,

(ii) would be prejudicial to the interests of a person not involved in the inquest,

(iii) has the approval or consent of the legal representative of the deceased; and

(c) whether conducting the inquest in camera would be

(i) in the interests of justice, or

(ii) injurious to the public interest generally.

Application for in camera inquest

31(4)       A person who

(a) is a Crown attorney or other officer or counsel appointed by the minister to act for the Crown;

(b) is a member of the family of the deceased;

(c) is the legal representative of the deceased;

(d) may be adversely affected, personally or professionally, by evidence given at the inquest; or

(e) is declared by a provincial judge, on application, to be an interested party;

may apply to a provincial judge for an order that an inquest or part of an inquest be conducted in camera.

Application in camera

31(5)       An application under subsection (4) shall be made in camera.

Decision final

31(6)       An order made under subsection (2) is final and is not subject to judicial review or appeal.

No disclosure of in camera evidence

31(7)       Subject to subsection 33(2), where an inquest or part of an inquest is conducted in camera pursuant to an order made under subsection (2), no person shall disclose or cause to be disclosed to another person testimony heard or evidence introduced in camera.

Report of medical examiner as evidence

32(1)       Subject to subsection (2), the report of a medical examiner may be submitted in evidence at an inquest without further proof.

Judge may call medical examiner

32(2)       The provincial judge presiding at an inquest may require a medical examiner to attend and give evidence at an inquest, in which case the medical examiner is entitled to such fee for attendance as may be prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Duties of provincial judge at inquest

33(1)       After completion of an inquest, the presiding provincial judge shall

(a) make and send a written report of the inquest to the minister setting forth when, where and by what means the deceased person died, the cause of the death, the name of the deceased person, if known, and the material circumstances of the death;

(b) upon the request of the minister, send to the minister the notes or transcript of the evidence taken at the inquest; and

(c) send a copy of the report to the medical examiner who examined the body of the deceased person;

and may recommend changes in the programs, policies or practices of the government and the relevant public agencies or institutions or in the laws of the province where the presiding provincial judge is of the opinion that such changes would serve to reduce the likelihood of deaths in circumstances similar to those that resulted in the death that is the subject of the inquest.

In camera evidence and culpability

33(2)       In a report made under subsection (1), a provincial judge

(a) may disclose in camera evidence that is received during the inquest where the judge is satisfied that disclosure of the evidence

(i) is essential to setting forth when, where and by what means the deceased person died, the cause of death and the material circumstances of the death, and

(ii) is in the public interest;

(b) shall not express an opinion on, or make a determination with respect to, culpability in such manner that a person is or could be reasonably identified as a culpable party in respect of the death that is the subject of the inquest.

Disposition of exhibits by provincial judge

33(3)       A provincial judge may order exhibits tendered at an inquest to be disposed of in such manner as the provincial judge considers appropriate.

Disposition of exhibits by CME

33(4)       Exhibits filed with the chief medical examiner may be disposed of by the chief medical examiner in such manner as the chief medical examiner considers appropriate.

Exemption from liability

33(5)       No action may be brought against a provincial judge or the chief medical examiner in respect of the disposition of exhibits under subsection (3) or (4).

"Exhibits"

33(6)       In subsections (3), (4) and (5), "exhibits" does not include a document or thing that is part of a record kept by the chief medical examiner under subsection 42(1).

Completion of inquest report

33.1(1)     Subject to subsections (2) to (7), the presiding provincial judge shall complete the inquest report no later than six months after completing an inquest.

Request for extension

33.1(2)     If the presiding provincial judge is unable to complete the inquest report within six months, he or she shall request an extension from the Chief Judge.

Timing of request

33.1(3)     A request for an extension shall be made no later than six months after the completion of an inquest.

Extension from Chief Judge

33.1(4)     Within one month after receiving a request for an extension, the Chief Judge may

(a) extend the time to complete an inquest report by

(i) subject to subclause (ii), no more than three months, or

(ii) a period longer than three months if the Chief Judge determines that an inquest involves highly complex matters and that additional time is required to complete the inquest report; and

(b) if necessary, relieve the presiding provincial judge of his or her other duties or reduce those duties until the inquest report is completed.

Notice of extension

33.1(5)     If an extension is granted by the Chief Judge, the presiding provincial judge shall arrange for written notice of the extension

(a) to be sent to all persons with standing at the inquest; and

(b) to be placed on the inquest file.

Failure to complete report

33.1(6)     If an extension has been granted and the presiding provincial judge fails to complete an inquest report within that time, the Chief Judge shall refer the failure to the judicial inquiry board to be dealt with in accordance with Part IV of The Provincial Court Act, unless the Chief Judge determines that the presiding provincial judge was unable to complete the report due to extraordinary circumstances.

Additional extension

33.1(7)     If the Chief Judge determines that the presiding provincial judge was unable to complete the inquest report due to extraordinary circumstances, the Chief Judge may grant an additional extension and notice of the extension shall be provided in accordance with subsection (5).

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 6.

Inquest report when Chief Judge presiding

33.2        If the Chief Judge presides at an inquest and requires an extension to complete the inquest report, he or she shall make a request to the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench, who shall exercise the powers and duties of the Chief Judge under subsection 33.1.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 6.

Effect of criminal proceedings on inquest

34(1)       Where, before commencement or completion of an inquest, a criminal charge is preferred in respect of the death that is the subject of the inquest, the presiding provincial judge may postpone or adjourn the inquest pending determination or conduct of a hearing on the criminal charge.

After criminal proceedings completed

34(2)       Upon determination of the criminal charge under subsection (1), the provincial judge may proceed with the inquest or, where the judge is satisfied that the circumstances of the death have been adequately examined, the judge may file a report with the minister advising that the circumstances of the death have been adequately examined, making reference to the proceedings on the criminal charge.

Limitation on inquest provincial judge

34(3)       A provincial judge who holds an inquest or part of an inquest in respect of a death shall not preside at a preliminary inquiry or trial of a person who is charged with an offence in connection with the death.

Continuation of inquest by another judge

34(4)       Where an inquest is commenced by a provincial judge who dies or resigns before completion of the inquest or for any other reason the provincial judge is unable to complete the inquest, the minister shall direct another provincial judge to continue with the inquest or to conduct a new inquest.

Report deemed to be submitted

35          Where under this Act a person is required to submit a report to the minister, the person is deemed to comply with this Act if the person submits the report to the chief medical examiner.

No removal of body without approval

36(1)       Subject to subsection (2), in the case of a death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies, no person shall remove the body or cause it to be removed unless a medical examiner or investigator approves the removal.

Removal by hospital staff

36(2)       Notwithstanding subsection (1), where, in the case of a death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies, removal of the body does not interfere with performance of the responsibilities assigned to the chief medical examiner, a medical examiner or an investigator under this Act, a member of a hospital staff may, where it is necessary and is done in the ordinary course of duty, remove the body without the prior approval of a medical examiner or investigator.

Penalty

36(3)       Where a person violates the provisions of subsection (1), the person is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding $1000. and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

Right of entry

37(1)       A medical examiner or investigator, acting in the course or scope of duty, may enter upon premises that the medical examiner or investigator believes, on reasonable and probable grounds, contain a dead body that is, might be or ought to be, the subject of an inquiry or investigation under this Act and may examine the body or remove it for purposes of this Act.

Warrant to remove body from premises

37(2)       A justice who is satisfied by information on oath that

(a) there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that premises contain a dead body that is, might be or ought to be, the subject of an inquiry or investigation under this Act; and

(b) the person who owns or occupies the premises refuses to give a medical examiner or investigator access to the body or refuses to allow the body to be removed;

may at any time issue a warrant authorizing a medical examiner or investigator, together with a peace officer on whom the medical examiner or investigator calls for assistance and such other persons as may be named in the warrant, to enter upon the premises and to examine or remove the body for purposes of this Act.

Offence and penalty

37(3)       A person who prevents, obstructs or impedes a medical examiner or investigator

(a) in the performance of duties assigned under this Act; or

(b) from gaining lawful access to, or the removal of, a body to which this Act applies;

is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000. and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

Conduct deemed obstruction

37(4)       For the purpose, and without restricting the generality, of subsection (3), a person who

(a) intimidates or attempts to intimidate a medical examiner or investigator in the performance of duties assigned under this Act

(i) by threat of violence or injury to the medical examiner or investigator or to a relative of the medical examiner or investigator, or

(ii) by threat of destruction or damage to the property of a medical examiner or investigator or of a relative of the medical examiner or investigator;

(b) provides to a medical examiner or investigator information that the person knows or ought to know is false; or

(c) fails or refuses to provide to a medical examiner or investigator information that the person knows or ought to know is relevant to an inquiry or investigation;

prevents, obstructs and impedes the medical examiner or investigator.

S.M. 2002, c. 22, s. 7.

Disinterment

38(1)       Where, in the opinion of the minister or the chief medical examiner, the administration of justice requires that an autopsy or other examination be performed with respect to a body that is buried, the minister or the chief medical examiner may order that the body be disinterred and may make such further order as may be required respecting the autopsy and the reburial of the body.

Public Health Act not to apply

38(2)       The Public Health Act does not apply to a disinterment under subsection (1).

Police officer to assist

39(1)       A police officer who notifies a medical examiner or investigator of a death to which clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies shall, where requested to do so by the medical examiner or investigator, assist the medical examiner or investigator in making prompt inquiry with respect to the death and, where an investigation is commenced, shall assist the medical examiner in conducting the investigation.

Police officer as investigator

39(2)       For the purposes of subsection (1), a police officer to whom the subsection applies has the powers of an investigator under this Act and shall act under the direction of the medical examiner or investigator, as the case may be.

Certification of death by CME

40(1)       Notwithstanding failure to recover or locate the body of a deceased person to whom clause 7(9)(a), (b), (c) or (d) applies, the chief medical examiner may, after reviewing the inquiry report, certify the death by issuance of a medical certificate.

Proof of death for Vital Statistics

40(2)       Notwithstanding The Vital Statistics Act, where the chief medical examiner issues a medical certificate under subsection (1), the medical certificate is sufficient proof of death for purposes of The Vital Statistics Act.

Minister or CME may direct inquest

40(3)       In the case of a death to which subsection (1) applies, the minister or the chief medical examiner may direct a provincial judge to hold an inquest without a view of the body, in the same manner as an inquest is held where the body is recovered or located.

Handling of objects taken or removed

41(1)       Where a medical examiner or investigator takes charge of or removes objects under subsection 11(3) or (4), the medical examiner or investigator shall prepare an inventory of the objects and shall deliver the objects and the inventory to the police station for the area where the death occurred.

Delivery of property to persons entitled

41(2)       Upon delivery under subsection (1), the officer in charge at the police station shall notify the chief medical examiner of the delivery and, in the absence of contrary instructions from the chief medical examiner and no sooner than the thirtieth day following the day of delivery, shall, subject to subsection (3),

(a) with respect to objects that are items of personal property of the deceased, release the objects to the person who is, or the persons who are, entitled to custody or possession of the personal property of the deceased;

(b) with respect to objects that are not personal property of the deceased, release the objects to the lawful owners of the objects.

Destruction where necessary

41(3)       Where the officer in charge under subsection (2) or the chief medical examiner considers it advisable or necessary for reasons of public health or safety to destroy an object that is taken or removed under subsection 11(3) or (4), the object may be destroyed and not released in accordance with subsection (2).

Premises may be padlocked

41(4)       A medical examiner or investigator, for the purposes of an inquiry or investigation, may direct a peace officer to secure and padlock the premises, or a part of the premises, where the body of the deceased is found, until further direction of the medical examiner or investigator, in order to preserve and protect the premises or any objects that are found on the premises and that might relate to the manner and cause of the death.

Record to be kept by CME

42(1)       The chief medical examiner shall keep a record of each inquiry or investigation and the record shall include, where applicable,

(a) a copy of the reports of the medical examiner or investigator, including copies of documents described in clause 14(1)(d);

(b) the autopsy report;

(c) a description or facial photograph of the body of the deceased; and

(d) a list of the property and objects mentioned in section 41.

Prohibition

42(2)       Subject to subsection (3), where a person acting under this Act in respect of a death comes into possession of information or a document that is, or is of a nature that it is likely to become, part of a record kept under subsection (1) in respect of the death, the person shall not, before a report is submitted under subsection 33(1) or 34(2), disclose the information or release the document to another person except

(a) by order of a court;

(b) to the chief medical examiner or the minister;

(c) to a member of the family of the deceased or a beneficiary of the deceased, with the approval of the legal representative of the deceased, if any;

(d) to the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased;

(e) to the attending physician of the deceased, if any, at the time of death;

(f) to an insurer of the life of the deceased;

(g) to an official of the hospital where the deceased died; or

(h) to a law enforcement official or Crown attorney acting in the course of duty; or

(i) to an officer or a Crown counsel who is appointed by the minister to act for the Crown in respect of a death, in which case information or documents forming part of the record kept in respect of the death shall be disclosed or released to the officer or the counsel upon the request of the officer or the counsel.

Disclosure with authorization

42(3)       The chief medical examiner may, in writing, authorize the disclosure of information or the release of documents to which subsection (2) applies where the disclosure or release does not, having regard to the circumstances, unreasonably breach the privacy of a third party.

Considerations before authorization

42(4)       Before authorizing a disclosure or release under subsection (3), the chief medical examiner shall consider the matters described in clauses 31(3)(a) to (c).

Recipient bound by confidentiality

42(5)       Subject to section 32, a person to whom information is disclosed or a document is released under subsection (2) or (3) shall not disclose the information or give the document or a copy of the document to another person without prior written authorization from the chief medical examiner.

Record of disclosure

42(6)       Where, under subsection (3) or (5), information is disclosed or a document is released, the person making the disclosure or allowing the release shall record and transmit to the chief medical examiner

(a) the name of the person to whom the information is disclosed or the document is released;

(b) a summary of the information that is disclosed or a description of the document that is released;

(c) the date of the disclosure or release.

Report by chief medical examiner

43(1)       On or before March 31 each year, the chief medical examiner shall, with respect to each person who, during the year, dies while a resident in a correctional institution, jail or prison in the province or while an involuntary resident in a psychiatric facility as defined in The Mental Health Act, or while a resident in a developmental centre as defined in The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act, submit a written report to the minister setting out, without mentioning the names of the deceased persons,

(a) the name and location of the correctional institution, jail, prison or developmental centre in which the person died or the psychiatric facility in which the person was an involuntary resident at the time of death;

(b) the cause of death in each case; and

(c) whether an inquest was held or, where an inquest has not been held, whether an inquest is expected to be held;

and the minister, within 15 days of receiving the report, shall,

(d) if the Legislature is then in session, table the report in the Assembly;

(e) if the Legislature is not then in session, table the report in the Assembly within 15 days of the beginning of the next session of the Legislature.

Annual statistical report by CME

43(2)       The chief medical examiner shall each year prepare and submit to the minister a statistical report relating to the deaths in relation to which action is taken under this Act in the previous year, in such form and manner as is prescribed.

S.M. 1993, c. 29, s. 182.

Regulations

44          The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) prescribing forms and their content for use under this Act;

(b) prescribing fees and allowances payable to the chief medical examiner, medical examiners and investigators;

(c) prescribing fees and allowances payable to duly qualified medical practitioners, other than medical examiners, for services, other than pathologist services, provided under this Act;

(d) prescribing fees and allowances payable for

(i) transportation and ambulance services,

(ii) funeral services, including reimbursement for the cost of caskets, receptacles, clothing and incidental services,

(iii) pathologist services, including microscopic and toxicological examinations,

(iv) consultative services provided by forensic specialists,

(v) use of hospital and morgue facilities, and

(vi) copies of documents provided by the chief medical examiner;

(e) respecting practices and procedures applicable to external examinations and autopsies performed under this Act;

(f) respecting the practices and procedures applicable to medical examiners and investigators for purposes of inquiries and investigations;

(g) prescribing places, institutions or facilities or classes of places, institutions or facilities, for purposes of subclause 7(9)(a)(xii);

(h) prescribing circumstances of death applicable for purposes of subclause 7(9)(a)(xiii);

(i) respecting the form and manner of making a statistical report under subsection 43(2);

(j) respecting expenditures that may be made by a medical examiner or investigator for the purposes of an inquiry or investigation;

(k) respecting any matter or thing that by this Act may be prescribed; and

(l) generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.

CCSM reference

45          This Act may be referred to as chapter F52 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Repeal

46          The Fatality Inquiries Act, being chapter F52 of The Re-enacted Statutes of Manitoba, 1987, is repealed.

Coming into force

47          This Act comes into force on a day fixed by proclamation.

NOTE:  S.M. 1989-90, c. 30 was proclaimed in force May 14, 1990.

 

 
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