Civil Registration Across Canada

This started out as a simple little project, I thought.  I envisioned one piece of paper with a table.   Provinces and territories across the top and 4 questions down the side.  Then I would paste the information in each square on the table.  It very quickly became apparent that I would find too much information for a simple table!

Please locate the province you are researching, then copy and paste the information into your word processor.  If you really want everything then there is a Print button at the bottom of this article.  Hopefully you find something useful.

I would like to recognize and thank the members of the Red Deer Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society for their contributions and patience with my effort.  Any mistakes you find however are mine and mine alone.  Please use Comments at the bottom of the article to communicate.

Vital Records also known as Civil Registration show information on births, marriages, and deaths.  They are government records.  In Canada each province gathers vital records. Churches gathered birth, marriage and death records before Civil Registration . 

Are there any Canada wide collections?

There is one collection in the Historical Records Collection at FamilySearch that attributes a significant number of names to Canada as a whole (see )

Other FamilySearch Research Wiki Articles to look at:

Canada Vital Records  – which includes links to the articles for each province.

Canadian Vital Records (KP)

For each province I asked 4 questions:

  • Dates Available?
  • Where online?
  • Where to get if not online?
  • Availability? – how old do the records have to be before you can access them?

British Columbia

Dates Available?

“British Columbia became a province of Canada in 1871. Provincewide registration of birth, marriage, and death records began in 1872. A few records were made for events which took place before 1872 but were registered later. Many births, marriages, and deaths were not registered in the early years, and not all British Columbians were included in registration. Vital records began to be kept more systematically in 1920.” ( )

Where online? 

FamilySearch Historical Records – includes images:

British Columbia Birth Registrations, 1854-1903

British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993

British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938 

BC Archives has indexes online

Where to get if not online?

BC Vital Statistics Agency, British Columbia Archives, Church records


Vital records of births more than 120 years old (and up to 1903), marriages more than 75 years old, and deaths more than 20 years old are available online and on microfilm. Vital records that are more recent must be requested on forms available from the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency.


Dates Available?

Alberta became a province in 1905.  Alberta began province-wide registration of births, marriages, and deaths in 1898 while Alberta was part of the NW Territories. Generally complied with by 1930. There are a few records of births between 1850 and 1890.

Where online?

Alberta has the indexes to birth, marriages, and deaths online.  Go to , scroll down and click on Genealogy, and then on the right click on Find Birth, Marriage and Death Records

You will note that The Provincial Archives of Alberta provides access to:

  • birth records that are 120 years or older (from the date of birth)
  • marriage records that are 75 years or older (from the date of marriage)
  • death records that are 50 years or older (from the date of death)
  • stillbirth records that are 75 years or older (from the date of stillbirth)

So you can search the indexes, but notice the link Request Form – which brings a form on the screen to request access to the actual registration of Birth or Marriage or Death with 2 ways to access the information. If you are able to go to Edmonton then you can go to the Provincial Archives or you can have the registration mailed to you for a cost of $0.35/photocopy plus shipping and handling

A few records available on the Alberta Family History Society (AFHS) website:



Look  for local projects to record B, M, and D from local newspapers – like the Red Deer AGS project – also for Calgary

Also  – I was grateful to get this suggestion – On the website  Click on the Genealogy link in the Featured links.. and then scroll down to: “Listings of vital statistics records and indexes available at the Provincial Archives”.  There you will see a large list of records that are available: 

Try the second on: Birth, Marriage and Death Registers (GR1987-0385) this PDF document has 83 pages. You scroll to the location you need and find out what records are available and use the PAA # to order.,%20Marriage,%20and%20Death%20Registers)1872-1965.pdf


Where to get if not online?

Early records available at the Provincial Archives

Read the article “What’s New in Alberta Vital Records ” on Page 20 of the March 2017 edition (vol 39 #2) of the Clanndigger – the Newsletter of the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. 

Order copies of certificates from a Registries Office  – information from Service Alberta

For early Alberta newspapers


Contact a registry agent or Registry Connect for certificates and certified copies of 

  • births that occurred less than 120 years ago
  • marriages that occurred less than 75 years ago
  • deaths that occurred less than 50 years ago 
  • stillbirths that occurred less than 75 years

Be prepared to show that you are an eligible next of kin (parent, sibling, children or spouse). 

Contact the Provincial Archives Of Alberta for copies of

  • birth records that are 120 years old or older (from the date of birth)
  • marriage records that are 75 years or older (from the date of marriage)
  • death records that are 50 years old or older (from the date of death)
  • stillbirth records that are 75 years or older (from the date of stillbirth)


Dates Available?

Saskatchewan became a province in 1905.  Some records as early as 1878.  Systematic registration of BMD since 1920. Partial before that.

Information on BMD certicates has changed over the years – see wiki article for Saskatchewan for details

Where online?

Indexes online at eHealth Saskatchewan Work in progress. Births entries available for more 100 years ago, deaths up to 1917.  No marriages yet. Births show date and place and names of parents.

Saskatchewan Birth Records online at the Alberta FH Society

Where to get if not online?

eHealth Saskatchewan ( )offers Genealogical Copies of vital event registrations, such as birth, marriage and death. 

$50 a copy.


Births registered in Saskatchewan more than 100 years ago

Deaths registered in Saskatchewan more than 70 years ago

Marriages registered in Saskatchewan more than 75 years ago


Dates Available?

Manitoba became a province in 1870.  Civil registration of births, deaths, and marriages began in 1882 in Manitoba. Because many individuals in the early years of registration did not comply, the records are somewhat incomplete up to around 1920

Where online?

Index at Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency

Order Certificates from the Vital Statistics Agency

Where to get if not online?

Order Certificates from the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency.

Use .


  • Births (more than 100 years ago)
  • Marriages (more than 80 years ago)
  • Deaths (more than 70 years ago)


Dates Available?

Ontario became a province in 1867.

“Registration of marriages began as early as 1801 in various districts and in counties formed from those districts. Province-wide registration by civil authorities of births, marriages, and deaths officially began in Ontario on 1 July 1869. A substantially complete registration was achieved by 1930.” (wiki) From 1858 to 1869, the province required the counties to keep marriage registers.

Where online?   

Birth Registrations, 1869-1911

Marriage Registrations, 1869-1927

Death  Registrations, 1869-1937    

Birth Registrations, 1869-1913

Marriage Registrations, [ca. 1801]-1928 and 1933-1934

Death Registrations, 1869-1938 and 1943-1944

Go to the Ontario Genealogical Society website – particularly look under the Resources menu

Also try Ontario Vital Statistics Project if you don’t have access to .

Where to get if not online?

Ontario Archives has details of what is available on microfilm

For Births 1918-present, Marriages 1936-present, and Deaths 1946-present, you must contact: Ontario Registrar General to order certificates


Births  to 1918,  Marriages to 1936, and Deaths  to 1946

Consider Gretna Green marriages


Dates Available?

“From 1679 to 1993, most vital records for Québec were copies of church records. The province required churches to send copies to government archives. On 1 January 1994, the government began to keep separate vital records. Vital records could be registered civilly without a church record as early as 1926. Beginning in the 1960s, many births and marriages were recorded only in civil registers” (wiki)

Where online?

Quebec Births and Baptisms collection at This is an electronic index for the years 1662 to 1898. This index is not complete for any particular place, region or time period.

Try BMS 2000 at  ($) or Genealogy Quebec  or PRDH

Quebec Notarial Records at This collection contains notarial records dating from 1800 to 1920. This collection contains vital records including births, marriages, deaths, and a card index. These images are provided with the cooperation of Bibliothèque and Archives Nationales du Québec.  In Québec, notaires (notaries) have registered contracts since 1626. The persons involved in the contracts received the originals. The notaries kept copies. The copies are called “minutes.”

Where to get if not online?

Direction de l’État civil


“Records before 1900 – Church records and civil copies of church records prior to 1900 are available on microfilm from the Family History Library and at several archives and libraries in North America. Learn more about Church Records….

Records after 1900 – Only the person named in the record or that person’s legal representative may have access to civil registration and civil copies of church records after 1900. Application forms for information from civil registration after 1900 must be obtained from:  Direction de l’État civil “ (wiki)

New Brunswick

Dates Available?

“The provincial government of New Brunswick began recording births, marriages, and deaths in 1888. For 1810 to 1887 records, there is a “Late Registration” compilation which is indexed. It is located at the Provincial Archives. These records were registered after 1888.” (wiki)

Where online?

Provincial Archives  – site has more than BMD historical records – – show FamilySearch Historical Record collections for NB including image only collections:

New Brunswick Births and Baptisms, 1819-1899

New Brunswick, Provincial Returns of Births and Late Registrations, 1810-1906

New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950

New Brunswick Provincial Deaths, 1815-1938

Where to get if not online?

Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1


Online vital records search available free at New Brunswick Provincial Archives.

Online New Brunswick death certificates for years 1920-1938 and Provincial Returns of Deaths for years 1818-1919 are available at  .

Vital Records from 1888, although incomplete up to 1920, are available from:

Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 6000 , Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1

Nova Scotia

Dates Available?

“In 1864 an attempt was made to register vital statistics in Nova Scotia. From 1867 to 1874 these records are fairly complete. In 1877 birth and death registration was discontinued and in 1908 it began again”

“Births, marriages, and deaths are recorded in township books beginning in about 1760, when settlers from New England came to Nova Scotia. The township books began in 1760 and were discontinued beginning about 1860.Townships were never established on Cape Breton Island, and the township books covered only part of the rest of the province.  Marriages recorded in the books may be as early as 1702 and as late as 1920..”

“Marriage bonds began in parts of Nova Scotia from 1763–1864, with a few for later years to 1871. Marriage licenses began in most Nova Scotia counties in 1849.”  Otherwise use church records

Where online?

Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics

Births – 1864-1877, 1908-1915 (delayed registrations 1830-1915)

Marriages – Bonds 1763-1864  Registrations 1864-1940

Deaths – 1864-1877, 1908-1965 , City of Halifax 1890-1908


Early Acadian records including censuses are available online at

Where to get if not online?

Vital Statistics, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations  – for Births 1917 to present, Marriages 1942 to present,  Deaths 1967 to present

Availability? Don’t know

Township books at Nova Scotia Archives –

Prince Edward Island

Dates Available?

Official registration of births and deaths began in 1906.

Where online?


The FamilySearch Wiki also has numerous links to online resources

Also try  for early records.

Where to get if not online?

Director of Vital Statistics, Department of Health & Community Services Agency

P.O. Box 2000, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

or use microfilm:

Master Name Index of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation (FHL films 1490091–1490150.) These are names extracted from census returns, marriage bonds, land and church records, passenger lists, newspapers, and so forth

Prince Edward Island. Division of Vital Statistics. Marriage Registers, 1832–1888. FHL films 1630091–95

Prince Edward Island Card Index to Deaths Prior to 1906  FHL films 1487741–44 and 1487754

Marriages, 1843–1892, Prince Edward Island. (FHL fiche 6048786.)

Availability? Don’t know

Government records can be searched for a fee


Dates Available?

Official registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1891. Until 1948, most vital records were copies of church records. Didn’t join Canada until 1949.

Where online?

No complete set of information.

FamilySearch Historical records includes two collections: (1) called Newfoundland Vital Statistics that includes images of church record transcripts from 1753 to 1893, and (2) Newfoundland Vital Records – births 1840 to 1915, marriages 1891 to 1922, Deaths 1891 to 1949 also has an Index of Birth, Marriage, and Death Notices 1810-1890

Where to get if not online?

Most official vital records of birth, marriage, and death for Newfoundland and Labrador from 1891 to the present must be requested on forms available from the Vital Statistics Division., Service Newfoundland, Vital Statistics Division, P.O. Box 8700, St. John’s, Newfoundland A1B 4J6, Telephone: 709-729-3308

Some records of birth, marriage, and death after 1891 have been microfilmed. They are at the Family History Library and at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Fort McMurray Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society is a good source for resources on Newfoundland.

Look for newspaper B,M,D collections

Availability? Don’t know – Contact government Vital Statistics Division


Dates Available?

“Yukon became a separate territory in 1898. Some birth records began to be made about 1896, when the Yukon was part of the Northwest Territories. Birth registration continued when the Yukon Territory took over the responsibility in 1898. Marriages and deaths began to be recorded in 1899.”

“Vital records began to be kept more systematically in 1925. A substantially complete registration of vital records of births, marriages, and deaths was achieved by 1930.”

Where online?


Where to get if not online?

All vital records of birth, marriage, and death must be requested on forms available from the Vital Statistics Agency.

Availability? – don’t know

“On application, any person furnishing information satisfactory to the registrar and paying the prescribed fee, may, if the registrar is satisfied that it is not to be used for an unlawful or improper purpose, obtain a certificate in the prescribed form, ie:

The person whose birth is recorded;

Individuals recorded as parents on the birth record;

An agent, or any other person, on the written authorization of the person named above;

Guardian (copy of court recognized legal guardianship must be provided);

The executor of the person’s estate (copy of death certificate must be included with the application).”

Northwest Territories

Dates Available?

“Records of births, marriages, and deaths for what is now the Northwest Territories began in 1925. All vital records of birth, marriage, and death must be requested on forms available from the Division of Vital Statistics.”

Remember that “Earlier records labeled for the Northwest Territories were made for areas now part of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory.”

Where online?


Where to get if not online?

Northwest Territories, Health and Social Services, Vital Statistics, Bag #9, Inuvik, Northwest Territories X0E 0T0 Telephone: 867-777-7440

Availability? – don’t know


Dates Available

Nunavut was established in 1999 as a territory of Canada.

It was part of the Northwest Territories before that.

Where online

Go to for links to online records

Where to get if not online

Because of the recent creation of Nunavut you will probably be contacting the government of the North West Territories


Probably only for family members

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2 Responses to Civil Registration Across Canada

  1. Pingback: Indexes to Alberta Births, Marriages, and Deaths are Online | Peter's Family History Notes

    • Peter says:

      I agree with you Gord – I was trying to help someone find a marriage in 1917 last night – wasn’t quick! But at least it is available.
      I notice that the British government has been testing a service where they email certificates. Perhaps they will work it out and then the idea will spread.

      I am so old that I remember my first birth certificate request – I had to actually go the the registration office – and the person copied the information out by hand – saying “are you really sure you want this?”

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