Death Registration

Death registration is important for a number of reasons. Besides creating a legal record of the death, it makes it possible to issue the death certificates that survivors need to apply for benefits or insurance, and to take care of the administrative tasks of settling an estate.

This page tells you how deaths are registered and provides a tool that you can use to find a funeral home in your area.

How To Register A Death

If a person dies in British Columbia, the death must be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency. Death registration consists of the following steps:

  • A medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or coroner completes and signs the Medical Certification of Death within 48 hours after the death, and forwards it to the funeral director.
  • The funeral director obtains information about the deceased from an informant. The informant can be:
    • the nearest living relative of the deceased person present at the death or last illness;
    • any relative of the deceased, if no such relative is available;
    • any adult present at the death, if no relative is available;
    • another adult having knowledge of the facts;
    • an adult occupying the premises where the death occurred; or
    • a coroner who has been notified of the death, made an inquiry or held an inquest regarding the death.
  • The funeral director registers the death when he or she has both the Medical Certification of Death and the necessary information about the deceased.
  • The funeral director issues a death certificate and a disposition permit.

You can also order a death certificate from a Vital Statistics Agency or Service BC counter.

Search for Funeral Homes

Vital Statistics authorizes funeral homes to register deaths, and issue disposition permits and death certificates. To find a funeral home, enter either the city where you would like it to be located or the name of the funeral home. All funeral homes in that city or with that name will display.

To search for a funeral home in your area, use our Search for Funeral Homes online form.