BILL NO. 180
2nd Session, 63rd General Assembly
68 Elizabeth II, 2019
Fatality Investigations Act
The Honourable Mark Furey
Attorney General and Minister of Justice
First Reading: October 8, 2019
Second Reading: October 10, 2019
Third Reading: October 30, 2019 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS) (LINK TO BILL AS PASSED)
Clause 1 adds definitions of "Committee" and "death review".
(a) allows a medical examiner or investigator to collect information relating to the facts and circumstances of a death if requested to do so by a Death Review Committee, the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee or the Child Death Review Committee; and
(b) allows a Committee, for the purpose of conducting a death review, to use any information acquired by a medical examiner or investigator in the course of conducting an investigation or preparing a report.
Clause 3 adds provisions to the Act to allow for the establishment of Death Review Committees, the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee and the Child Death Review Committee to review and provide recommendations to the Minister of Justice regarding deaths in Nova Scotia.
Clause 4 allows the Minister of Justice to make regulations respecting Committees.
Clause 5 provides that this Act comes into force on proclamation.
1 (1) Subsection 2(1) of Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2001, the Fatality Investigations Act, is amended by adding immediately after clause (c) the following clause:
- (ca) "Committee" means a Death Review Committee established under Section 39B, the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee established under Section 39C or the Child Death Review Committee established under Section 39D;
- (da) "death review" means a review by a Committee under Section 39B, 39C or 39D;
2 Section 7 of Chapter 31, as amended by Chapter 30 of the Acts of 2002, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (5) the following subsections:
- (6) Notwithstanding subsections (4) and 5(1), a medical examiner or investigator may collect information relating to the facts or circumstances of a death if requested to do so by a Committee.
(7) Notwithstanding subsection (4), for the purpose of conducting a death review, a Committee may use any information acquired by a medical examiner or investigator in the course of conducting an investigation or preparing a report under this Act.
3 Chapter 31 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 39 the following Sections:
- 39A In this Section and Sections 39B to 39K and 41A,
- (i) in the care and custody of an agency pursuant to the Children and Family Services Act,
(b) "death review information" means information that was communicated for the purpose of, or created in the course of, the carrying out of a death review by a Committee and is in the custody of a Committee or a medical examiner;
- (i) a homicide that involves the death of
- (A) a person, the person's child or other family member, or
(d) "intimate partner" means, with respect to a person, an individual who is or was a spouse, common-law partner, dating partner or sexual partner of the person or in a similar relationship with the person.
39B (1) The Minister may, in consultation with the Chief Medical Examiner, establish one or more Death Review Committees to review the facts and circumstances of deaths referred to in subsection (2) for the purpose of
(3) The Domestic Violence Death Review Committee shall not conduct a death review with respect to a specific domestic violence death until a medical examiner has completed the medical examiner's duties under Section 5.
(3) The Minister may, in consultation with the Chief Medical Examiner, direct the Child Death Review Committee to review the facts and circumstances of the death of a person under nineteen years of age that occurred under a circumstance referred to in Sections 9 to 12.
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4), where the subject matter of a death review conducted by the Child Death Review Committee involves the death of a child under the custody, care or purview of a Government department other than the Department of Justice, the Child Death Review Committee shall provide a copy of the report to the Minister responsible for that department.
39H (1) Notwithstanding any other enactment, in conducting a death review, a Committee is entitled to access or make copies of any information, including personal information and personal health information, that
(a) is in the custody or under the control of a public body as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or a custodian as defined in the Personal Health Information Act; and
(4) Except as provided under this Act, a member of a Committee, or a person acting under the direction of, or on behalf of, a Committee shall not publish or disclose to any person or body any information recorded, compiled or created for or by, or provided to, the Committee in the course of a death review.
39I (1) No action lies against a Committee, a member of a Committee or any person acting on behalf of, or under the direction of, a Committee for anything done, or omitted to be done, in good faith in the exercise of a power or performance of a duty or function under Sections 39B to 39H or the associated regulations.
39J (1) A member of a Committee shall not give or be compelled to give evidence in any criminal or civil proceeding in respect of any matter coming to that member's knowledge in the course of a death review, except in a prosecution for perjury.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) prevents a member of a Committee from giving or being compelled to give evidence in any criminal or civil proceeding in respect of information or knowledge regarding the subject matter of a death review that was acquired outside of the death review process.
39K Nothing in Sections 39H to 39J prevents the lawful use of, disclosure of or access to information regarding the subject matter of a death review that was obtained or created outside of the death review process.
4 Chapter 31 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 41 the following Section:
- 41A (1) The Minister may make regulations
(j) prescribing the content that must be included in a report by a Committee and the manner and timing in which a Committee must provide its report to the Minister or to the Minister of a department as provided for under subsection 39G(5);
5 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
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