Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OCC Inquest - Blight 2018

Office of the Chief Coroner

Verdict of Coroner's Jury

Office of the Chief Coroner

The Coroners Act - Province of Ontario


Surname: Blight
Given name(s): Walter George
Age: 72

Held at: Radisson Hotel, 85 St. Anne Road, Sudbury
From: April 9, 2018
To: April 12, 2018
By: Dr. David Cameron
having been duly sworn/affirmed, have inquired into and determined the following:

Name of deceased: Walter George Blight
Date and time of death: July 16, 2015 at 2:31 a.m.
Place of death: Highway 69 south of Highway 637, close to Sudbury, Ontario
Cause of death: Accident
By what means: Multiple blunt force-type injuries

(Original signed by: Foreperson)


The verdict was received on the 12 of April, 2018
Coroner's name: Dr. David Cameron
(Original signed by coroner)


We, the jury, wish to make the following recommendations:


Inquest into the death of:

Walter George Blight


Jury Recommendations

To the Government of Ontario:

  1. If a police officer reasonably suspects that the driver of a motor vehicle has a medical or physical condition that affects the driver’s physical or mental ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, the police officer may, upon approval of a senior officer, serve on that person a notice of suspension for a period of 24 hours.

To the Ministry of Transportation:

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) shall:

Working Group

  1. Establish a permanent working group, coordinated and chaired by the MTO, which shall include all impacted parties, including front line MTO staff, medical professionals (for example pharmacists, doctors, health practitioners, nurse practitioners), police services and all impacted communities such as older adults and persons with disabilities, and this working group may call upon expertise when necessary, which may include the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  2. Engage this Working Group on a regular basis to provide input to assist the MTO to further develop and implement the following recommendations and any other steps they deem fit. The working group shall determine the frequency of the meetings and discussions.

Access to relevant information in the MTO Database

  1. Create a portal in the MTO database (“portal”) accessible to all Ontario police officers and limited to police officers and MTO staff.
    1. The portal shall include relevant driving information from police officers including whether a Request for Driver’s Licence Review form has been submitted.
    2. The fact of a Medical Condition Report being submitted from a prescribed health practitioner shall be included in the portal but not the actual report. The portal shall not include any personal health information.
    3. All information in the portal shall be inputted and updated in a timely fashion.
  2. Remove information from the portal when it ceases to be relevant to police officers and MTO.
    1. For short term suspensions, information shall remain for one week.
    2. For longer term suspensions, information shall be removed once the licence is reinstated.
  3. Perform regular audits of the portal to ensure driver information is relevant, timely and removed when appropriate.

Medical Condition Reports (prescribed health practitioners)

  1. Ensure that the Medical Condition report submitted by prescribed health practitioners to the MTO:
    1. Includes a section to designate the level of urgency of the request for suspension.
    2. Provides clear instructions to assist the writer of the report with the completion of the report.
    3. Sets out the process for expediting the report.
    4. Provides the dedicated contact number to access MTO staff in urgent circumstances.
    5. Allows for electronic submission of the report to the MTO and the use of faxes shall be discouraged.
    6. Provides for timely confirmation of all reports received.

Request for Driver’s Licence Review (police officers)

  1. Ensure that the Request for Driver’s Licence Review report submitted by police officers to the MTO:
    1. Includes a section to designate the level of urgency of the request for suspension.
    2. Includes unlimited character count for further details explaining the concern.
    3. Provides clear instructions to assist the writer of the report with the completion of the report.
    4. Sets out the process for expediting the report.
    5. Provides the contact number to access MTO staff in urgent circumstances.
    6. Allows for electronic submission of the report to the MTO and the use of faxes shall be discouraged.
    7. Provides for timely confirmation of all reports received.

MTO Handling of Medical and Driving Concerns

  1. Establish a dedicated telephone number for prescribed health practitioners and police officers, with separate queues for each. This contact line should be considered a critically important service and shall be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and with no wait or minimal wait times, considering that calls would be of an urgent nature.
  2. Where appropriate, use its authority to immediately suspend a driver’s licence, including during a driver’s interaction with police or prescribed health practitioners.
  3. Confirm with the police officer that the driver’s immediate safety is not compromised upon effecting an immediate suspension.
  4. When an immediate suspension is made, use police officers to serve the driver with the licence suspension.
  5. Consult with the police community, through the Working Group, to develop best practices to ensure a driver’s safety is not compromised upon effecting an immediate suspension.
  6. Conduct regular audits of all completed forms and implement appropriate follow-up procedures where forms are improperly completed.
  7. Update current policy to reflect implementation of these recommendations. This may include consideration of suspensions that would automatically expire after a period of time in certain circumstances, such as where the driver may be too fatigued to drive.

Process for Reinstating a Driver’s Licence

  1. Provide an expeditious reinstatement process for a driver whose licence has been immediately suspended.
  2. Ensure that the cost and accessibility of any form of assessment or testing required in order to seek reinstatement of a driver’s licence that has been suspended is not a barrier.
  3. Make available in an accessible, flexible and expeditious manner any assessments or tests to drivers whose licence has been suspended.
  4. Consider any impacts and barriers for drivers outside of major urban centres.

Education, Training & Professional Development Programs

  1. Inform the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, prescribed health practitioners and police officers of the changes made arising out of these recommendations and collaborate with other agencies, where appropriate.
  2. Increase awareness amongst prescribed health practitioners of their respective obligations and powers, and the availability of MTO services and supports.
  3. Offer training and education to students in the prescribed health practitioner fields.
  4. Offer training for police recruits at the Ontario Police College and for all police officers through their respective police service.
  5. Any changes to ministry policy with regards to the suspension of licenses should be effectively communicated to the public.

Follow-up

  1. Report to the Office of the Chief Coroner by no later than December 31, 2018, in an open letter, regarding the progress it has made with respect to the above recommendations.

To the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario:

  1. Update all applicable policies and guides to reflect changes affecting physicians arising out of this inquest.

To the Ontario Police College and All Ontario Police Services:

The Ontario Police College and all Ontario Police Services shall:

  1. Update all applicable course guidelines to reflect changes affecting police officers arising from this inquest.