Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Organ retention

Death Investigations in Ontario

Organ retention

Did the loss of a family member before June 14, 2010, result in a coroner’s investigation and autopsy?

In the past, organs were sometimes kept for testing after an autopsy to help investigate and determine the cause of death. Before June 14, 2010, families were not always told that an organ had been kept.

Under Regulation 180 of the Coroners Act, these organs were to undergo disposition on June 14, 2013. The organs will now be kept for at least five more years because it has become clear that people need more time to learn about this difficult issue.

Immediate family members and personal representatives (i.e. those responsible for administering an estate) are invited to contact the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner if they wish to learn whether an organ was retained in their loved one’s case.

Some organs may no longer be available due to past practices. In cases where an organ was retained and is still being stored, the organ can be sent to a funeral home for cremation or burial at the expense of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner.

Since June 14, 2010, Regulation 180 under the Coroners Act ensures that, when possible, families are notified and their wishes are sought if an organ must be retained after an autopsy.

Contact us at 1-855-564-4122
Ontario Forensic Pathology Service
25 Morton Schulman Ave.
Toronto, ON M3M 0B1

Please note:
Callers may be asked to provide personal information. This information may be collected pursuant to s. 38(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of processing requests regarding retained organs. Questions about the collection of this information can be directed to the Issues Manager, 25 Morton Schulman Ave., Toronto, ON M3M 0B1, 647-329-1898