The wreckage of a fatal crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., is seen Saturday, April, 7, 2018. A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties.Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill says the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Police chief calls for mass casualty plan in Saskatchewan after Broncos crash

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists

A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties like the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill, who released his review of the provincial coroner’s office Wednesday, said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists.

“They’ve done everything they can to keep their head above water and they haven’t had a lot of time to get right down and deep into some of the policy and procedure that they should be responsible for,” Weighill said.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when we have mass casualties.”

RELATED: Humboldt survivors to attend NHL Awards

In December, a plane crashed near the remote northern community of Fond du Lac, seriously injuring nine people. One man later died in hospital.

In April, a truck and a bus carrying the Broncos junior hockey team collided at an intersection near Tisdale. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.

Weighill cited both recent tragedies in calling for a mass casualty plan and making 44 recommendations including adding six positions to the coroner’s office.

Weighill, who was tasked with the review in November, said he was excluded from examining specific cases like the mix-up in the identification of two Broncos players.

Two days after the crash, it was discovered that a player believed to be among the dead was actually in hospital, and the player thought to be in the hospital was in the morgue. The name of the player still alive had already been released by the coroner’s office and RCMP on a list of those killed in the crash. The coroner’s office apologized for the mistake.

Weighill said that he met with a Broncos family as part of his review but didn’t name them because he wanted people to be frank.

He suggested the roles of coroners and first responders at scenes where there are mass casualties need to be better defined.

“Further, the plan needs to address issues of mass body transfer, temporary morgue infrastructure and evidence collection criteria.”

Weighill suggested Saskatchewan keep its coroner’s model, instead of changing to one using medical examiners, such as in Alberta and Ontario.

He also recommended staff get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, that community coroners receive more than the current one day of training and that a child death review committee be created.

RELATED: Humboldt Broncos player released from hospital

Justice Minister Don Morgan said he’s not sure how much it will cost to add all the positions that Weighill is recommending.

“But I think it’s probably worthwhile to take that recommendation and look to see if we can do those things better,” Morgan said.

Opposition NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer said she’s concerned it’s taken this long to develop a mass casualty plan.

“This is what happens when the coroner’s office is chronically underfunded for several years,” she said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

FOLLOW-UP: Shelley Downey speaks on her Conservative candidacy

“I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” Downey said.

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Shoebox Project: Local women in need to enjoy shoebox gifts

This year over 500 gift filled Shoeboxes were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read