A Death Certificate is one of the most important documents you need to settle the affairs of your loved one. A Death Certificate is required as official legal proof of death, to settle the estate of the deceased, to apply for pension and insurance benefits, and to legally remarry.
Following the death, you must call a doctor or coroner. He/she will fill out a Medical Certificate of Death and give it to the funeral director.
To find a Funeral Home or Transfer Service, consult your local yellow pages, or contact your provincial or territorial funeral board. Funeral directors and funeral boards can help you make all the arrangements for funerals. Once the funeral director receives the Medical Certificate of Death from the doctor or coroner, he/she will fill out a Statement of Death form with the help of a family member. The funeral director will then submit both the Medical Certificate of Death and the Statement of Death form to the local municipality clerk’s office so that the death can be registered with Vital Statistics. The deceased’s next of kin will receive a notification letter when the death has been registered.
Once the death is registered with the Vital Statistics agency, a Death Certificate may be obtained online (see below “How do I order a Death Certificate”)
The Service Canada Web site provides information on how to cancel benefits following the death of a pensioner or beneficiary. Note: If the deceased was receiving a benefit from the Québec Pension Plan (QPP), contact the Régie des rentes du Québec.
The next-of-kin should return the SIN card along with a copy of the Death Dertificate or a Statement of Death to Service Canada. Note: You are no longer required to inform Service Canada of the death if the death occurred in the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario or Québec. The notification of death is received electronically from the Vital Statistics Agencies of these Provinces. If you do have the deceased person’s SIN card, you can destroy it.
The Passport should be returned to Passport Canada with a copy of the Death Certificate and a letter indicating if the cancelled Passport should be destroyed or returned to you.
The Canada Revenue Agency Web site provides information about how to notify the Canada Revenue Agency of a death. The Web site also provides information on cancelling benefit payments in the name of the deceased. It will also help you determine if you are the legal representative of the deceased.
Please contact Service Canada to find out if you are now eligible to receive certain Old Age Security Benefits.
It is important to have your benefits reviewed following the death of your spouse or common-law partner.
Documents you will need to complete these steps include the deceased person’s:
Additional Information for the Canada Pension Plan and other death related benefits
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Decedent Estates Program
Allowance for the Survivor Program
Canada Pension Plan Children’s Benefits
Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
Canada Pension Plan Survivor’s Pension
Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits
Veterans Affairs Canada – Death Benefit
Veterans Affairs Canada – Funeral, Burial and Gravemarking Assistance
Veterans Affairs Disability Pension Program – Surviving Dependant Benefits
Canadian Death Certificates are issued by the government of the Province in which the death occurred. You may apply for a Death Certificate online:
Please note: Marriage Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Marriage, completed at the time of Marriage. If a record cannot be found, a search for a three year period is carried out automatically and the applicant will be notified.
A British Columbia Large Size Death Certificate costs:
A British Columbia Registration Photocopy costs:
The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard).
Information contained on a British Columbia Large Size Death Certificate includes the following:
A Photocopy of Registration is a certified photocopy of the original Registration of Death, completed at the time of death. It contains all the information that appears on the Registration of Death. Photocopies are rarely needed by citizens and are, by law, for restricted use only. They are generally only required for genealogical, court or consulate purposes, and are not for use as identification.
It will take 15-20 business days with the Regular Service option or 5-10 days with the Rush Service option.
The Death Certificate will be sent to you by mail directly from British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency.
Yes. If the death record contains any French accents on the registered names, please ensure they are clearly displayed on the Death Certificate application form.
If you are following up on the status of an already ordered certificate, as the applicant, you will need to contact the government agency directly. They will only discuss the status of the application with the applicant. Please contact British Columbia Vital Statistics at:
Toll Free: 1-800-663-8328 (BC only)
Death Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Death. If you are uncertain of the date of death or whether the person is deceased, fill out the estimated date of death on the Death Certificate application. If no record of the death is found for that date, the fee will be applied to the search process. If no record of the death is found during the search process, you will receive a letter advising you that a record is not available.
The British Columbia Vital Statistics office holds complete records from 1872, when civil registration began. Death records remain there until they are more than 70 years old which means they are no longer within the restricted period. These unrestricted death records are then transferred to the Provincial Archives of British Columbia which is available to the public for searching. However, the Vital Statistics office cautions that not everything in the original record has been transcribed. To get all of the details, it is necessary to order a copy of the original document. Also, the information which was collected has varied over the years, with more recent records containing more details than those which are older. For example, the Vital Statistics office have some incomplete church records that date further back than their civil registration records, which their staff may be able to search if the applicant knows the denomination of the person whose death record they are seeking.
Anyone may order and receive a Death Certificate for someone who died in British Columbia. Release of Death Certificates is not limited to immediate family.
Yes. Occasionally death records need to be amended, such as when an error has been made to the original Registration of Death. Proof, such as a certified photocopy (i.e. Citizenship Cards and Birth Certificates) is required to amend a death record. To change or correct an error to an existing death registration, download and complete the form called Statutory Declaration – Correction of Error or Omission in Registration.
You may also get the forms at a Vital Statistics or Service BC office. You will need to have your signature witnessed by a person authorized to take oaths. This service is available at any Vital Statistics or Government Agent Office.
The fee for making corrections to a Death Registration (not including certificate) is $27.00.