Death Investigation

Anyone can report to the Coroners Service a death which they believe meets the requirements under the Coroners Act and should be investigated by an independent body.

The majority of cases are reported to the Coroners Service by police, BC Ambulance Service and hospitals or long-term care homes.

However, family members, friends, witnesses or others who are concerned that the circumstances of a death meet the requirements of the Coroners Act as outlined below may also report a death. The case will be assigned to a Coroner who will undertake a preliminary examination of the facts to determine whether the death meets the criteria for a full investigation.

Which Deaths are Reportable to the Coroners Services?

Under the act, deaths to be reported to the Coroners Service include:

  • Deaths which appear to be the result of an accident, suicide, or homicide.
  • Deaths in which the cause of death is not clear.
  • Deaths which appear to be the result of natural causes but in which the deceased person has not been previously diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness and/or has not been under the care of a physician.
  • All deaths which occur in provincial jails, federal penitentiaries or other facilities where a person is held against their will, such as those committed under the Mental Health Act.
  • All deaths of children under the age of 19 years.