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In most provinces, deaths should be reported within 48 hours. An attending doctor or coroner will complete a Medical Certificate of Death, which essentially records the time and cause of death. This certificate will be given to the funeral director and will accompany the body of the deceased. A Statement of Death containing information about the deceased is also completed by the family and funeral director.


his is normally sent by the funeral director, with the Medical Certificate of Death, to the local municipal clerk's office where the death will be registered. The offices at which deaths are recorded are the same as those outlined above, at the end of Section 8.7.

If a doctor attends a death and is satisfied that it is the result of natural causes, the funeral home or chosen transfer service should be contacted. If the cause of death is unclear, the coroner's office will arrange for an autopsy.
Religious or spiritual organizations can also be contacted for guidance. The foreign mission also needs to be informed immediately.

When reporting a death at the relevant provincial municipal office, the following documents should be presented:

  • A Medical Certificate completed by the medical practitioner attending the death
  • A Statement of Death, which is normally completed by the funeral director

To obtain a death certificate in Québec, it is necessary to submit a Declaration of Death and an Attestation of Death. Both documents are sent by the funeral director to the Directeur de l'état civil (Directorate of Civil Registry), where the death will be registered.

Rules regarding who can apply for a death certificate vary according to the province. For example, in Ontario, Alberta, and Québec the applicant must either be an immediate family member or have written authority from the family. In British Columbia, anyone can apply for a death certificate.

Regulations governing the movement of human remains differ from country to country. Airlines can advise about specific circumstances and many provide bereavement travel discounts. The foreign mission issues the “Certificate of the transport of human remains.” The funeral home will need to provide a written statement that the remains are prepared for movement according to international standards.

For more information, please consult www.canadianfunerals.com