What to do After Someone Dies

After someone dies, the logistics will look a little different depending on where and how the death has occurred. Here, we guide you through what to expect immediately following a death (if you need help figuring out the next steps, see our resources on estate administration).

If the death occurs at home

If the death was sudden and unexpected, call 911 and the police will attend. They will contact the coroner. The coroner will decide if the deceased can be released to the funeral home or if further investigation is required.

If the death was expected, the doctor may have completed a Notification of Expected Death in the Home form. Note that this form is only available in some provinces (a few examples from BC, Alberta, & Nova Scotia). A copy is kept with the doctor, another copy is kept in the home, and the last copy is provided to the funeral home. Once the death has occurred, contact the doctor or nurse regarding the completion of the form. The funeral home can be contacted to transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home. 

If the deceased was being treated for a serious or terminal illness, and there is no Notification of Expected Death in the Home form, their doctor or nurse will have to come to the home to pronounce the death before the funeral home can be called. 

If the death occurs in the hospital

They will be taken to the hospital morgue for sheltering. The family can call the funeral home to make arrangements to transfer the deceased. 

If the death occurs in a hospice or care home

Care homes and hospice facilities do not have the ability to shelter the deceased on site. The care home or hospice staff will contact the funeral home to request a transfer into the care of the funeral home. 

If the death occurs in another country

The procedures for returning the deceased to Canada are unique to each country. It is suggested to consult with a local funeral home to determine how to approach this. 

Can I transport the deceased to another country?

Yes, you can. Funeral homes are able to assist families if a transfer is required.