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Vital Statistics

Death Certificate

Who Needs This Certificate?
  Anyone, regardless of where they now live, who needs proof of a death which was registered  in Nova Scotia.

Note:  For information on how to contact another province or territory of Canada to get a death certificate, please visit the Canadian Vital Statistics Offices page or you can contact The Service Nova Scotia Call Centre at 902--424-5851.  (If outside metro Halifax, call 1-800-670-4357, toll-free in Nova Scotia only.).  We also have a list of United States Vital Statistics Offices.
Issuing Department / Agency:
  Vital Statistics Office
Service Nova Scotia
Where can you get this Certificate and / or further information?
  Phone Vital Statistics Office:  902-424-4381
(or toll-free in Nova Scotia only:  1-877-848-2578 
You will get a taped message; please select Option 2 for other types of certificates.
  Write P.O. Box 157, Halifax, NS  B3J 2M9  Canada
  Visit Vital Statistics Office
300 Horseshoe Lake Drive
Halifax, NS B3S 0B7

Hours:   8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except Holidays)

  Fax 902-450-7311
Application Forms & Process:
  There are 3 types of Death Certificates.  To figure out which type of Certificate you need, and whether or not you are eligible to get one, see Additional Information, below.

How to apply

1) You can apply at the Vital Statistics office in Halifax (see address above).  This is the ONLY way to get a certificate immediately.

2) You can submit your application online; it will be processed within the next 10 business days, and then the certificate will be mailed to you.  (You need a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card to apply online.)

3) You can apply by mail.

4) You can apply at any Access Nova Scotia Centre, or any Registry of Motor Vehicles office.

A convenient application form is available.  To get one:

1) Death Certificate Application [ Adobe Reader- 73.23 kb]; or 
2) call the number listed above and press 2 to talk to a customer service representative, who can have one mailed to you; or 
3) write or fax the Vital Statistics office listed above; or 
4) visit the Vital Statistics office in Halifax, or any Access Nova Scotia Centre, or any Registry of Motor Vehicles office.
It is not necessary to use an application form to apply for a certificate.  As long as you give complete information on all the key details of the event in a letter, and pay the proper fee, your application can be processed.

The information you need to provide is explained under Additional Information, below.

To return the application form, you can:

1) mail or deliver it to the Vital Statistics office in Halifax (see address above);

2) take it to any Access Nova Scotia Centre or Registry of Motor Vehicles office.

Process:  After your application and the proper payment have been received by the Vital Statistics office in Halifax, the certificate will normally be processed within 10 business days, and sent to you by mail.  Please allow additional days for postal delivery.

In case of emergency, the certificate can be sent by courier to the applicant.  There is an additional charge of $20 for this service.

Waiting Period:

In person: 15 minutes

By Mail: 10 business days
Provided that all the items that must accompany the application have been received
(Please allow several extra days for mail delivery.)

Expiry :
  These certificates do not expire.
Price and Payment: (No tax is charged)
  The different types of certificates are explained in Additional Information, below.
  Short Form: $33.00  
  Long Form: $39.90 restricted
  Certified Copy $39.90 restricted


Payment at the Vital Statistics officecash, Interac debit card, Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card, or cheque or money order made out to the Minister of Finance.

Payment by Mail:  Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card or by cheque or money order made out to the Minister of Finance

Payment online:  Debit Card (Interac® Online), or
Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

Note:  you can make payment online for previous requests, using "payment on account"

Payment by fax:  Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

Related Requirements:
Additional Information:
  1. Searches
    All certificate prices include a three-year search.

    A three-year search may be requested without a certificate (confirmation of event only) for $6.25.

    The search fee for genealogy is $18.10 for the first-three year period and $12.10 for any three-year period thereafter.
  2. Restrictions:  Release of all long form death certificates are subject to restrictions as set out in the Vital Statistics Act.
  3. All certificates are issued in accordance with information on file and cannot be returned for refund.

Death Certificates:

(a) The Short form death certificate contains this information:
Name (as it was reported to Vital Statistics)
sex and age
date and place of death
registration date & number, and date issued.

(b) The Long form death certificate contains all the information in (a) plus as much as possible of the following: date of birth; place of birth; residence; occupation; marital status; name of spouse; names of father and mother; names of attending physician, and funeral director, disposition and place of disposition; name and address of informant; and relationship to deceased.  (Note: sometimes the informant does not forward all that information to the Vital Statistics office.) Because that is confidential information, this is a restricted document; all applications are subject to review by the Deputy Registrar General.

(c) The certified copy of death registration contains all the information in (b) plus: the cause of death.  Such a certificate is sometimes required by an insurance company, for estate purposes, or for medical reasons.  Because that is confidential information, this is a restricted document; all applications are subject to review by the Deputy Registrar General. 

Certified copies of death registrations containing cause of death are released only to next-of-kin or an executor of an estate in selected circumstances and with the authorization of the Minister or a court order.

To get a Death Certificate, you must know this about the deceased: name (as full as possible); date and place of death; and permanent residence prior to death.  To apply for a Long form, you must also state your relationship to the deceased.  They are usually issued to close family members, next of kin, or the executor of an estate.  If applying in person or by mail, you will be required to provide some identification.

Who qualifies to apply for a Death Certificate
Short Form Death Certificates
may be released to any person who has a valid reason for requiring the document.
Long form death certificates may be released to:
Next-of-kin of the deceased; or
b) Trustee or executor/executrix of an estate.

Legislative Authority:
  Vital Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, Chapter 494

Back to the Vital Statistics

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