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: Death Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Death, completed at the time of death. If a record cannot be found, a search for a three year period is carried out automatically and the applicant will be notified.
Death Certificates range in price according to the Province or Territory, whether you want a Certificate or Certified Copy, as well as the service option chosen on the order form. The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard).
Information contained on a Death Certificate varies by Province or Territory but generally 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, except that it does not show the cause of death. Photocopies are rarely needed by citizens and are, by law, for restricted use only. They are generally only required for court or consulate purposes.
Death Certificate processing times range according to the Province or Territory, as well as the service option chosen on the order form.
Each Death Certificate order form (except for Newfoundland & Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) has both a regular and rush service option. If you require a Death Certificate in a hurry, please check off the rush service option.
Death Certificates can only be issued by the provincial government. They are not issued or recorded federally, as they are in many other countries.
The Death Certificate will be sent to you directly from the Provincial Vital Statistics Agency. It will either arrive in the mail, or by courier, depending on the service option chosen on the order form.
Yes. If the death record contains any French accents on the registered names, please ensure they are clearly displayed on the birth 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. The contact information for the government agencies can be found on your order receipt or below.
Government Agency Contact Numbers
Toll Free: 1-800-663-8328 (BC only)
Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069 (Manitoba only)
Newfoundland & Labrador
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0830
Toll Free: 1-877-848-2578 (Nova Scotia only)
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0833
Toll Free: 1-800-461-2156 (Ontario only)
Prince Edward Island
Toll Free: 1-877-320-1253 (PEI only)
Toll Free: 1-855-347-5465
Death Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Death. If you are not certain of the date of death or whether a person is deceased, some Provinces give you the option of ordering a search letter. A search letter only states that according to the Vital Statistics office, an event either is or is not recorded in a range of years provided. No actual information is provided or confirmed. In other Provinces where search letters are not available for order, you are required to fill out the estimated date of death on the Death Certificate application. If a record cannot be found, a search will automatically be carried out and the applicant will be notified.
Most Vital Statistics offices hold complete death records dating back to the mid-to-late 1800’s, when civil registration began in that particular Province. Effective January 1, 2003, The Vital Statistics Act was proclaimed providing unrestricted access death records that are more than 70 years ago. These unrestricted death records are then transferred to the provincial Archives and are input into a database available for searching. However, Vital Statistics offices caution 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, Vital Statistics offices 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.
Eligibility requirements vary by Province or Territory. Please select a Province or Territory where the death occurred to confirm whether you are eligible to apply on behalf of another person.
Yes. Occasionally death records need to be amended, such as when an error has been made on the original Registration of Death. To change or correct an error to an existing Death Registration, contact the Vital Statistics office in the Province where the death occurred for the proper forms and procedures.
No. If you need a certificate listing the cause of death, you should apply for a Certified Copy of the Death Registration or Medical Certificate of Death from the Province or the municipality, depending on the area.