Death outside region

When the death occurs outside the region, local authorities generally notify the Canadian consulate, which communicates the death to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Department then dispatches two police officers to inform the family of the death. The person accompanying the deceased may also notify the Canadian mission.

It is important to contact the deceased’s travel insurance company, where applicable, as well as a funeral director in order to bring the body back into the country. If the family is first to learn of the death, it must inform the Department as quickly as possible (at the emergency day and night number) and relay instructions concerning the remains.

The family must decide between embalming and on-site cremation. Cremation is the less costly option (repatriation of the ashes costs $3,000 to $5,000). Repatriation of a body is much more expensive, depending on the country where the person died.

Standards

The costs to bring a body back varie greatly depending on various reasons as:

  • Transport
  • Embalming fees (international standards prohibit transportation of an unembalmed body)
  • Sealed container (to prevent any danger of contamination)
  • Purchase of a casket once in Quebec

The bill will have to be paid by the family, the estate, or the travel insurance company.

The declaration of death

Once all the steps have been completed, the body will be sent to the designed funeral director, who will dispose of it in accordance with the family’s wishes. A declaration of death may be completed and sent to the office of the Directeur de l’état civil together with the original certificate of death issued where the death occurred. 

The personal effects of the deceased will be brought back to Canada and delivered to the family. The executor will have to settle the estate abroad if, for example, an automobile was leased.

The country’s local authorities may decide to conduct a criminal investigation if the death occurred under unusual circumstances (e.g. murder, etc.).

References

QUÉBEC, LE CURATEUR PUBLIC, Bien planifier votre succession, 2nd edition, Collection Protégez-vous, Québec. Office de la protection du consommateur, 4th quarter 2000, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, National Library of Canada.