Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Unclaimed bodies - claimant searches

Death Investigations in Ontario

Unclaimed Bodies - Claimant Searches

Explanatory Note:

The following information serves as a guide for those professionals and institutions that have a role in identifying claimants in cases where a deceased person has no identified next of kin. Claimants need not be blood relatives. A claimant is a person or organization that is prepared to assume responsibility for disposition i.e. friend, colleague, neighbour, charitable organization, religious institution.

It is imperative that due diligence be carried out with regard to searches for claimants prior to requesting municipal assistance with disposition. The checklist below is intended to assist with these searches so that due diligence can be demonstrated. Once completed, this checklist can be provided to the Regional Supervising Coroner in cases where, despite best efforts, no claimant could be located. Providing this information will assist the Regional Supervising Coroner with the necessary information when considering a municipal disposition.

Information about an unclaimed body can be gleaned from a variety of sources as most people have come into contact with community and government services/organizations during their life time. Below are some examples:

  • hospitals, family physicians, medical clinics, and pharmacies
  • the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
  • social services
  • Veterans Affairs
  • foreign consulates
  • community organizations or outreach programs such as:
  • Good Neighbour’s Clubs
  • shelters
  • mental health service clubs
  • church affiliations
  • Aboriginal Affairs

Note: A list of Regional Coroner’s Offices can be found under Common Questions About Death Investigations.


Checklist for Claimant Search – pdf 204kb