(Received 30 June 1997; accepted 11 August 1997)
Published Online: 1998
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A survey of death investigation systems in Canada was conducted by questionnaire and included questions on the type of system used (coroner or medical examiner), budget, method of appointment and qualifications of coroners and medical examiners, responsible department of government, training requirements, laboratory facilities, and the utilization of investigators and pathologists by each jurisdiction.
Of the population of Canada 81.5% reside in coroner jurisdictions, the primary death investigator in 81% of the population is a licensed physician. The majority of jurisdictions either require or provide training in death investigation. All death investigation systems are under the respective provincial or territorial department of Justice or Attorney General with the chief coroner or chief medical examiner appointed by their respective provincial cabinet. The qualifications of the chief coroner vary with jurisdiction, while in 75% of medical examiner jurisdictions the chief medical examiner must be a pathologist. On a per capita basis medical examiner systems are less expensive to operate than coroner systems.
Chief medical examiner, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and associate professor of Pathology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Health Sciences Center, Newfoundland,
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