How Is a Body Transferred to a Lower Mainland Cremation Facility?

How Is a Body Transferred to a Lower Mainland Cremation Facility?

Not everyone knows what happens after someone dies and, specifically, how a body is transferred to a funeral home or crematorium in the Lower Mainland. We are going to cover this in today’s blog article. The following information applies to British Columbia only. The rules in other provinces and territories will vary.


There are only two ways that a decedent can be transferred to a funeral home or crematorium. One is by the funeral home, and the other is by private transfer company. We will look at both of these possibilities.

Funeral Home

Most often the funeral home or crematoriums transports the decedent, whether from a medical facility or from home. If the death occurred in a hospital, then the hospital registration department will advise your funeral home or crematorium when the decedent has been released.  Who you are having provide cremation services provided by will look after coordinating the transfer of the decedent into their care from medical facilities.

The same is true if the death occurs at home. Most people would call 9-1-1 and ask for the police unless you think the person could still be resuscitated. Several different emergency services will attend. The coroner’s office will be contacted and will also attend.  The coroner then decides if they will transfer the decedent for further investigation or if the decedent can be released to a funeral home.

If death is expected and the decedent was under regular care of a doctor or palliative care nurse then you would be able to contact your cremation provider directly to transfer the decedent, do not call 911 in this situation.

Private Transfer

Private transfers refer to transferring a decedent by persons other than those employed by a funeral home. Some funeral homes and crematoriums use a private transfer company to transfer the decedent to the crematorium.

Expected Death

If a death is expected and imminent, then your family doctor can fill out a Notification of Expected Death in the Home, which would allow a body to be transferred without the pronouncement of death from a medical professional or the need to contact the coroner. This is a form that makes the transfer of the decedent a little simpler when death occurs at home.  However, this form has to filled out in advance of the death.

If you are not sure what to do when faced with a death, call your cremation provider.  Your cremation provider will be able to advise and guide you through the necessary steps to be taken. If the death is expected then you can call your family doctor’s office or the hospice organization you may be working with.  

We believe every family deserves respect, reverence, and compassion. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about cremation services, please call 604-809-2006.


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