Vital Statistics- Part 3 – Ontario and Quebec

In the first two parts of this series we looked at the Maritime Provinces. Now let\’s look at Ontario and Quebec.


One of the oldest settled areas of Canada, Quebec has BMD records that go back as far as 1621. Records up to as late as 1993 were mainly just copies of church entries. By law, churches were required to send copies to government archives. In 1994, the government started keeping their own vital records sets. From about 1926, you did not need a church record to register a life event. As of the 1960\’s, some births and marriages were being registered only in the civil registers.

Records before up to 1915 are held by the Bibliotheque et Archives nationale du Quebec (BANQ).
My own Quebec ancestry is before 1800. My own needs on vital statistics in Quebec has been serviced by the Drouin, so I do not have experience myself in using BANQ. The majority of it is in French, but with the \”Franglais\” I heard as a child and my French classes through school, I was able to navigate it fairly easily. I use Chrome as a browser, and was able to translate some of the pages as well.

After 1915, you must go through the Directeur de l\’etat civil. Here are their guidelines on certificates, or \”acts\”:

Birth certificates:

  • If living, you must be one of the people named on the certificate, or someone representing them. You will need to submit an explanation if you are not the named person, and a copy of a document showing you are acting on their behalf.
  • If deceased, you can apply if you are the spouse, child, or sibling. However, you will have to show proof of relationship.
  • As the applicant, you will also have to verify your own identity with a photocopy of two documents. One must be photo ID and one must show your address. Their website lists all recognized forms of ID.
Marriages Certificates:
The requirements are the same as birth certificates.
Death Certificates:
Requirements are the same as birth certificates.

Unlike some provinces, I did not find anything on their website about doing genealogical searches for a life event. I am assuming they will not conduct searches. If I am wrong, then by all means let me know and I will update.

The FamilySearch wiki on Quebec is here

Ancestry\’s Quebec BMD collection is here

Cyndi\’s List of Quebec BMD links is here

In Ontario, mandatory civil registration began on 1 July, 1869. Records are routinely transferred to the Archives of Ontario for indexing.  As of writing this, they have births 1869-1917, marriages 1801-1934, and deaths 1869-1944 on microfilm. There is also a collection of deaths overseas 1939-1942. Take note though that marriages before 1869 are rather sporadic and incomplete. Due to recent changes in legislation, birth registrations will now not be transferred to the archives until 104 years have passed. This means that we will not see 1918 births transferred until the year 2023. I know, I let out a groan for this too, because the births I\’m interested in happened in the 1920s. Marriages for 1935 and deaths for 1945 have been transferred over, but are currently closed for indexing. Microfilms can be accessed through inter library loan.

Anything after these years are in the custody of the Office of the Registrar General. I\’ve used their service, and it\’s a fairly simple process. Here are their guidelines:

Birth Certificates:

  • If living, only the person named on the certificate, their parents or the guardians can apply. Guardianship must be proved.
  • If deceased, then you must be next of kin, or the administrator of the estate, You will have to provide proof of death.

Marriage certificates:

  • The parties to the marriage, the parents or children of the marriage, or their legal representatives can apply. Proof of legal representation is required.
  • If one or both parties are deceased then next of kin can apply. Next of kin are parents, children and siblings. If they are all deceased then extended next of kin can apply. They are classified as aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and grandparents.
Death Certificates:
There are no restrictions on death certificates. However, only next of kin or extended next of kin can apply for a certified statement of death.
The Registrar General will also do birth, marriage and death searches for a fee. This was a handy tool for me. My aunt and I had thought that my great grandparents had never married (long story). However, talking to my dad, I found out they actually had, but not until my aunt was a very young child. Using my aunts\’s year of birth and my great grandfather\’s year of death I was able to ask for a search of the intervening years. I received a letter stating that a marriage had indeed taken place, with the date of the marriage. We were then able to apply for the marriage certificate. Searches cost $15.00 for every 5 year period. 
The FamilySearch wiki on Ontario BMD\’s is here
Ancestrys\’ BMD collection is here
Cyndi\’s List BMD links for Ontario are here
In Part 4 we will continue westwards and look at Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: