How to find out if someone died in Canada

by Mark Cluett
5 min read

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Generally, there is some type of public announcement of deaths in Canada, whether an online obituaries, in a local newspaper, or on social media.
  • Causes of death are not always included in online death notices
  • Word of mouth from family and friends is how many learn of deaths of family, friends, and acquaintances

Figuring out if someone died in Canada can seem like a depressing task at times, but it’s a necessity of life that most of us will go through. Whether it’s for insurance policy purposes or alternative reasons, figuring out whether somebody died is much easier now than it was in the past.

Confirming someone’s death is important if you want to know whether you were included in a will, or if you need a copy of a death certificate. There are plenty of ways to figure out if someone died in Canada using the web, even beyond official government resources (sometimes referred to as “death indexes”).

Generally, there is some type of public announcement, especially as online obituaries grow in popularity. One thing that you may have a difficult time determining is the cause of death; that information is usually reserved for members of the family and other close relationships. Word of mouth is oftentimes the main source to learn the cause of death for most individuals.

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The Right Resources: Finding out if someone died in Canada

With so much information at our fingertips these days, one might assume finding out if someone died in Canada is easy. While that’s generally true, there are some situations where you’ll need to some effort into your search for an individual’s status.

Searching online obituaries to see if someone died

Reading through online obituaries and death indexes is a first step you can take to find out if someone died. Most funeral service providers in Canada now include online obituaries as part of the funeral arrangements.

Local newspapers and municipal websites may also have mortuary sections where you can confirm someone’s death.

The advantage of online obituaries is they keep information organized and easily accessible; public death records were once something an average person couldn’t get their hands on. Nowadays, there are dedicated websites and online resources (death indexes) that post obituaries from around the world.

Social media

Social media is a powerful tool and can help you find out if someone died in Canada. If you find the social media account of the person you’re interested in, odds are you’ll see their friends and family posting sentimental messages. If you notice that their account is called a “Legacy Account” on Facebook or that friends and family members are posting memories (and nothing else), this is a sign that they may have passed away.

Local churches, places of worship, or news websites

Local places of worship and news networks that cater to the community will have more information about any potential deaths. A church may have even held the funeral there or even posted an obituary blurb on their website or social media accounts, while the news network is a common place for deaths to be reported, especially if it is a noted community member.

General internet searching (search engines like Google, Bing, etc.)

Conducting a general search may be enough to find out if someone died or not. You can use any search engine (like Google) and type the person’s name, followed by “obituary” or “death”. Google will highlight any information that includes all of these phrases, leading you directly to articles or posts that pertain to that person’s death or some of the obituary listings we mentioned above.

If you know where they lived (or died), their occupation, their partner’s name, or even a guess as to how they passed, you can also include that information in your search to try and get a little closer to the answer.

Try to find their grave

Locating their gravesite is an obvious confirmation that someone died in Canada, as a verified gravesite wouldn’t be required otherwise. It shouldn’t be your first option, as gravesites aren’t updated as quickly as an obituary, but they can still be helpful if you have nowhere else to turn. Instead, gravesites (and their records) are particularly useful if you want to learn more about someone who may have died a long time ago.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal or financial advice.

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