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

Thrift shop turns five

Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has raised $370,000 since inception

Elk Valley mayors to lead hospital district board

Dean McKerracher, David Wilks elected to Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board

Rezoning paves way for next stages of Montane Fernie

Multi-family units, cottages, recreational facilities planned as part of multimillion-dollar project

Ghostriders defuse Dynamiters at home

Game 13 proves unlucky for Mountain division leaders Kimberley

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Kimberley’s Ron Rossi wins a million dollars

Big win leads to early retirement

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Most Read