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

G3 eyes Stettler for primary grain elevator

Public open house set for Thursday

RCMP ask public’s help in finding trailer stolen from Castor Bottle Depot

Along side of trailer are words ‘Squirrel Creek’ in small yellow letters

Stettler RCMP aims to improve safety

Participates in Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Symposium in Camrose

Round bale falls off truck, hits a semi on Hwy 21

RCMP ask public for any dash cam video from Nov. 10 near Camrose

First Nation marks ‘milestone’ land deal at Alberta ceremony

Lubicon Lake First Nation Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan signed treaty last month

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Black Panther claw, Power Rangers blade among 2018’s ‘worst toys,’ safety group says

The World Against Toys Causing Harm organized announced its 46th annual list in Boston on Tuesday

UPDATE: Red Deer RCMP arrest man involved in fatal hit and run

RCMP flew to Nipawin, Sask. to arrest Tosh Vertraeten

What now for Calgary, Canada and Olympic Games after 2026 rejection?

Calgary, along with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., made Canada a player in the international sport community

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Sex-misconduct survey excludes vulnerable military members: Survivors’ group

But It’s Just 700 says recent research has shown young military members and those on training are among those most at risk for sexual violence

Many child killers have been placed in Indigenous healing lodges according to stats

As of mid-September, there were 11 offenders in healing lodges who had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder of a minor

Expect no quick end to Canada-wide cannabis shortages, producers warn

Provinces including British Columbia, Alberta have all reported varying degrees of shortages

Most Read