Civil Registration in Canada
Genealogy 107: Record Groups as Building Material, Lesson 5
As the land which came to be known as Canada was settled and the population grew, each province was really an independent colony of the British or French crown. As late as 1867 (when Canada was formed through Confederation of 4 independent colonies), there was considerable resistance to a powerful central government in Canada. Whatever could be handled by local or provincial governments were, for the most part, handled in that manner.
As in many of the states in its neighbor to the south, Canadians recorded marriages earlier than they did births and deaths. Many of those records were kept by the town or county clerks and were recorded by that level of government. So the earliest records of marriage are found in the county courthouses.
Eventually, the provincial governments recognized the importance of recording the vital events of their population and began recording births, marriages and deaths.
When are records available for each province? The following table summarizes the status of vital registration in the provinces of Canada.
Province, Date, Fee, Address, Phone, Fax, E-mail
|Health Division of Vital Statistics|
10130, 112th Street
Canada T5K 2P2
|Province of British Columbia|
Ministry of Health Division of Vital Statistics
818 Fort Street
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada V8W 1H8
|Vital Statistics Dept. of Family Services|
254 Portage Avenue
Canada R3C 0B6
|Dept. of Health and Community Services|
Division of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Canada E3B 5H1
|Office of the Registrar General|
189 Red River Road
P.O. Box 4600
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Canada P7B 6L8
Vital Statistics Reference
Archives of Ontario
77 Grenville Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2R9
|Department of Health & Social Services|
Vital Statistics Division
P.O. Box 3000
Montague, Prince Edward
Island, Canada COA 1RO
|Le Directeur de líétat civil Service à la clientèle|
205, rue Montmagny
Quebec, Quebec, Canada G1N 2Z9
Requests before 1885 to:
Archives Nationales du Quebec
1210 Ave de Seminaire
St. Foy, Quebec, Canada
Bibliothéque de la Ville de Montreal
1210 Sherbrook East
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Or write to the parish where the event took place.
|Vital Statistics Saskatchewan Department of Health|
1942 Hamilton Street
Canada S4P 3V7
|Yukon Health and Human Resources|
Division of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 2703
Canada Y1A 2C6
|International Vital Records Handbook , 4th Edition, by Thomas Jay Kemp which includes copies of the actual forms required by each province and any unique ordering information required for these records such as proof of identity.|
Is it apparent that each province in Canada is treated individually? To be sure this is understood, perform the short assignment at the end of this lesson and see if your answers agree to those provided.
- In what year are birth records available for Alberta, Canada according to the chart above?
- In what year are marriage records available for Prince Edward Island?
- In what year are death records available for New Brunswick?
About Genealogy Research Associates
Karen Clifford is the Founder and President of Genealogy Research Associates. She is an Accredited Genealogist, an instructor in an Associates Degree program in Library Science-Genealogy and Computers at Hartnell College (Salinas, California) and Monterey Peninsula College (Monterey, California). She has authored several family histories and textbooks including Genealogy & Computers for the Complete Beginner; Genealogy & Computers for the Determined Researcher; Genealogy & Computers for the Advanced Researcher, and Becoming an Accredited Genealogist.
Karen currently serves as Vice-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and Vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA). She is a member of the California State Genealogy Alliance, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. In 1998 and 1999, Karen served as Director of UGA's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.
She has received several awards for her volunteer work in the genealogy community including the FGS Award of Merit and the FGS Outstanding Delegate Award.