“The legislative framework that applies to the determination of causes of death will be strengthened by Bill 45. However, the bill could further facilitate the public protection efforts of professional orders in situations where they are expected to investigate the same incidents as coroners, and our recommendations reflect this,” stated OIQ President Kathy Baig, Eng., FEC, MBA.
More specifically, the OIQ recommends streamlining the disclosure process for documents held by coroners during their inquests. A professional order may in fact require such documents to fulfill its responsibilities, which include conducting disciplinary inquiries on its members, inspecting them, and initiating penal proceedings to enforce professional legislation, such as provisions regarding works that are not based on plans prepared by architects or engineers.
Change the eligibility requirements for the office of coroner
The OIQ also recommends that MNAs consider whether it might be appropriate to expand eligibility for the office of coroner to more professions, especially the engineering profession.
“A significant number of coroners’ investigations and inquests involve engineering works, such as road infrastructures and buildings. Knowledge of engineering may be useful or even essential to conduct these types of inquests. Furthermore, engineers have presided over commissions of inquiry and scientific and technical commissions that had many similarities with the inquests that coroners have conducted,” explained the President during the consultation.
Improve follow-up of coroners’ recommendations
While recognizing that the bill makes improvements to ensure better follow-up of coroners’ recommendations, the OIQ would like a process to be put in place for following up their recommendations.
On that note, the OIQ’s brief reiterates that no government to date has acted on the conclusions of the coroner who recommended in 2010 that the Architects Act and the Engineers Act be amended to make the supervision of building construction work mandatory. This recommendation followed the death of a woman who had been crushed by a concrete panel that fell off a building wall. A decade later, Quebec still has no form of mandatory work supervision, unlike several other Canadian provinces.
The brief submitted to the National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions outlines all of the OIQ’s recommendations and comments concerning this bill. Click here to read it.