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How To Get a Death Certificate in Ontario

Obtaining a death certificate is one of the first steps in jumpstarting the probate process. Here’s what you need to know.

Death Certificate

Your loved one's death certificate is a crucial document that you, as their estate executor, will need in order to handle the deceased affairs. A death certificate acts as legal proof of death, and the document allows you to start the estate settlement process and begin sorting through the deceased’s assets.

Here is more information on how you can get a death certificate in Ontario:

Death Certificates vs. Certified Copy of Death Registration

A death certificate is different from a certified copy of death registration. Anyone can apply to obtain a death certificate, but only the next of kin is eligible to obtain a certified copy of death registration. A death certificate contains basic information about the deceased person, such as name and gender. On the other end, a certified copy of the death registration has more details about the deceased person, such as the cause of the death.

Usually, you’ll only require the death certificate if you're an estate executor in the deceased's will. The court will require you to present this document during the probate application. However, if you’re settling an estate outside of Canada, then you may need a certified copy of death registration.

When Is a Death Certificate Needed?

A death certificate is needed in many government offices when you're dealing with the deceased's affairs. Some of the common areas where you'll need a death certificate include:

  • Estate settlement;

  • Terminating/transferring pension benefits or other government services;

  • Insurance purposes;

  • Genealogy searches.

As an estate executor, you'll require a death certificate to apply for probate. The document serves as a reliable source and a confirmation of death by the government.

Who Can Apply To Obtain One?

As mentioned before, anyone can apply for a standard death certificate, since they’re part of the public record. However, if you want a certified copy of death registration, you’ll have to be the deceased’s next of kin. The next of kin can be any of the following:

  • Spouse;

  • Parent;

  • Adult child;

  • Sibling.

An extended next of kin can apply for a death certificate if none of the next of kin mentioned above are still living.

What Information Is Needed on the Application?

You need to have the following information about the deceased person to apply for a death certificate:

  • Full name;

  • Gender;

  • Date of birth;

  • Date of death;

  • Name of the town or city where the death occurred;

  • Partner or spouse information if the deceased has one;

  • Parents' names of the deceased person.

The information presented must be relevant and updated for you to get a death certificate in Ontario. If the death certificate has contradicting information, the probate process might be hindered, which delays estate settlement.

How To Obtain A Death Certificate In Ontario

You can easily obtain a death certificate in Ontario by applying online, by mail, or in person. All you have to do is fill out the application form and pay for the services. Fees can be paid via money order, card, or cash. Depending on your needs, you can request a single or multiple copies of the certificate. Below are the most convenient ways you can apply for a death certificate.

Applying Online

Apply from the comfort of your home by filling out the online application form. Ensure the data you present is correct and order the certificate to be shipped to your home. You can pay for the delivery services through a credit card, and then monitor the status of your order online.

Applying at Service Ontario

Service Ontario is the only government institution authorized to give away death certificates. You can apply for a death certificate either in person or via mail. In both cases, you’ll need to fill out the Request for Death Certificate Application. If you want to apply in person, you’ll have to go to the ServiceOntario center in Toronto or Ottawa. If you want to apply by mail, you’ll have to send your application to:


189 Red River Road, PO Box 4600

Thunder Bay, ON

P7B 6L8

ServiceOntario will also help you acquire a certificate if the death occurred long ago, or if you’re unsure about the exact date of death. However, these orders may take longer.

How Long Does Delivery Take?

Regular delivery of your requested death certificate may take up to 15 business days. Canada Post delivers your certificate at the cost of $15. Online applications are processed faster than paper ones, so opting for an online application will save you some time.

How can I speed up the process?

You can speed up the delivery process by paying $45 for expedited service. This premium service lets you receive the death certificate within five business days. If the certificate is urgently needed, especially during probate, you can request it through emergency services.

Emergency services require you to present yourself in person with proof of urgency. Service Ontario reviews your application to evaluate your eligibility for emergency service.

Does the Estate Executor Need a Death Certificate?

You must obtain a death certificate if you're an estate executor since it will be required to complete your application for probate. Get your certificate early enough to ensure that probate doesn’t take any longer than necessary.

If you're looking for help with probate or any other aspect of the estate settlement process, contact ClearEstate. At ClearEstate, we help guide you through the estate settlement process with transparency and compassion. Curious? Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more.

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