About

   

Our responsibilities

When a person dies as a result of an unexplained event, a coroner works to confirm the person's identity and investigates the circumstances of their death.

Coroners are quasi-judicial investigators. Some of their legal responsibilities are to:

  • review the circumstances of each death and plan for the required investigation;
  • determine the identity of the deceased and the cause of death (a death can be classified as natural, accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined);
  • conduct fact-finding inquests into unnatural, unexpected, unexplained or unattended deaths in Yukon;
  • identify risk factors to prevent similar deaths in the future;
  • make recommendations to improve the quality of life and safety of Yukoners; and
  • work with specialized experts such as the RCMP, medical practitioners and other agencies.

How we work

When a death is reported under the Coroners Act, the coroner will:

  • collect information from the scene, conduct interviews, inspect and seize documents and secure the scene;
  • if appropriate, request specialized experts to help with the investigation; and
  • release a final report with the investigation’s facts and findings, which may include:
    • findings of autopsy, toxicology and other testing that took place (where applicable); and
    • recommendations to prevent future deaths (where appropriate).

What is an autopsy?

An autopsy is an exam of a deceased person. Autopsies help determine the person’s cause of death. Under the Coroners Act, the chief coroner may order an autopsy to further evaluate for disease or injury, and determine cause of death.

An autopsy is important to families because it can:

  • answer questions about inherited disease;
  • provide answers to legal considerations such as insurance; and
  • help determine the cause and manner of death.
  • answer questions about inherited disease;
  • provide answers to legal considerations such as insurance; and
  • help determine the cause and manner of death.

What happens during an autopsy?

  • We transport the deceased person by air to British Columbia.
  • A qualified pathologist performs the autopsy as quickly as possible.
  • The pathologist may collect specimens for toxicological and microscopic analysis. In some cases, the pathologist may complete a specialized analysis of organs.
  • After the pathologist completes the autopsy, we inform the family so they can move ahead with funeral arrangements. We may also share preliminary autopsy findings with the family (unless there are special circumstances).
  • Within our obligation to investigate, we make every effort to accommodate the religious or cultural practices of the deceased.

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