The Vital Statistics Agency registers all births, marriages, deaths, and changes of name that occur in British Columbia. The certificates issued by the Vital Statistics Agency are legal proof of these vital events.
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, a nurse practitioner or a coroner completes and signs a medical certificate within 48 hours after the death. The medical certificate is forwarded to a funeral director.
- On the request of the funeral director, the particulars of the death are provided by an appropriate person in a form required by the registrar general of the Vital Statistics Agency. Particulars can be provided by:
- 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;
- A coroner, who has been notified of the death or who has made an inquiry or held an inquest regarding the death.
The funeral director registers the death after receiving a medical certification of death and the particulars of the deceased from an appropriate person. The funeral director can then issue a death certificate and a disposition permit for the deceased. Individuals can also order death certificates at any Vital Statistics Office or Service BC Office.