If a person dies in British Columbia, the death must be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency. The death registration process consists of the following steps:
Depending on the circumstances of the death – A medical practitioner or coroner will complete and sign a Medical Certificate of Death (NOT the Death Certificate) within 48 hours after the death. The medical certificate will be forwarded to a funeral director.
The Funeral Director
The funeral director will register the death after collecting the particulars of the deceased from the appropriate person. The funeral director can then issue a Death Certificate and obtain a Burial Permit for the deceased. The Burial Permit is also the permit required for a cremation to occur. FYI cremation cannot occur until 48 hours has passed.
On the request of the funeral director, the particulars of the deceased will be provided by an appropriate person in a form required by the Chief Executive Officer of the Vital Statistics Agency. This information can be provided by:
- Nearest living relative of the deceased person present at the death or last illness;
- If no such relative is available, by any relative of the deceased;
- Any adult present at the death, if no relative is available;
- Other adult having knowledge of the facts;
- Adult occupying the premises where the death occurred;
- Coroner who has been notified of the death, made an inquiry or held an inquest regarding the death
Be prepared to know:
- Full name of deceased
- Place of death – including the postal code
- Residency information and usual address
- Marital Status
- Names and birthplace of both parents
The next step will be determining final disposition. By law, the deceased must be buried or cremated. Families and funeral service staff are required to follow Section 5 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act in deciding who gets to make those important decisions regarding the care of a loved one after their death.
We will discuss that in a future post.
But….if you need to..
You can order more Death Certificates here.