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Someone has died. What do I do?

We have staff on standby 24/7. 

You can call anytime, day or night at 613-288-2689, and we will help.

Has there been a death?  You have our sincere condolences on your loss.  While the coming days will likely not be easy, we at the Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa will do everything in our power to make them a little bit easier. 

Typically, the first few steps after a death are to: 

1. Ensure a medical professional (doctor or coroner) has pronounced the death.  Once a medical certificate of death has been signed, a funeral home can then bring a body into its care. 

2. Schedule a time and place to discuss final arrangements with the funeral home of your choice, including where you'd like to meet.  The Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa can meet with you anywhere in Eastern Ontario. 

3. Before meeting with you, the funeral director will provide a list of items and information to bring to the appointment.  A will and marriage certificate, if available, will be helpful to bring. 

4. If there is no will, we recommend determining who the appropriate legal next-of-kin is according to Ontario law.  This will help establish who will be signing the funeral contract and making final decisions. 

From there, the Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa will coordinate, as needed: 

  • Transporting the body into our care
  • Arranging the funeral
  • Looking after legal and administrative formalities
  • Helping you choose a casket or urn
  • Organizing the place and time of visitations, the religious or secular service, and/or the burial (if needed)
  • Placing a death notice or obituary in the newspaper and on our website
  • Holding a catered reception in the funeral home, or arranging a reception at an external location. 
  • Creating photos or souvenir montages
  • Ordering flowers
  • Ordering vehicles, funeral directors, pallbearers
  • Directing donations to charitable organizations
  • Arranging to repatriate a body when a death occurs abroad, or coordinating transportation of a body to another country.  
  • Providing you with an executor's toolkit to guide you through closing the estate
  • Notifying CPP, OAS, and CRA of a death on your behalf
  • Helping you apply for the CPP death benefit and survivor's benefit (if required) 
  • Notifying credit reporting agencies to prevent fraud

To better understand and prepare yourself for the steps involved in organizing a funeral, we suggest reading: 

1. Our Funeral Planning Guide, to help you make decisions about how to honour your loved ones.  

2. The Consumer Information Guide, put together by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, our regulating body.  It outlines your rights and provides valuable information about making final arrangements in the province of Ontario. 

Important Notes

If the death occurs outside a medical facility and was not expected, dial 9-1-1 immediately so that a medical professional can pronounce the death.  A funeral establishment cannot transport human remains without a death certificate signed by a medical professional. 

When the funeral arrangements are made, a close relative must sign a Statement of Death (Form 15), prepared by the FCO staff, in the presence of a witness. It is our responsibility to forward the Form 15 and Form 16 (Medical Certificate of Death) to the Registrar General.

Before going to the funeral home to make the funeral arrangements, it is a good idea to assemble documentation and any verbal indications regarding the funeral wishes of your loved one.  Often the deceased person will have left documents or the names of trusted persons to whom certain tasks have assigned.

Check whether any cards (organ donation, etc.), documents (notaries, insurers, etc.) or membership forms (funeral cooperative, etc.) exist, to ensure that your actions are dignified and respectful. Once you are properly informed, you will be in a position to make the necessary decisions faster, which as a result will less taxing on your already-limited energy.

It can be helpful to have a lawyer if there is a sizeable estate.  A lawyer can advise you regarding the succession, and can guide you through settlement of the succession or do the work for you. If you don’t have a lawyer, we can recommend one for you.