Commissioner's directive 530: Death of an inmate, notifications and funeral arrangements

Death of an Inmate: Notifications and Funeral Arrangements

Commissioner's Directives

Number: 530

In Effect: 2022-07-11

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To provide direction following the death of an inmate, with respect to communications, funeral arrangements, financial responsibilities and fingerprinting


Applies to all staff, Elders/Spiritual Advisors, Elder Helpers, Chaplains, and other religious and spiritual leaders working in Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions, including Community Correctional Centres



  1. The Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs, will develop and update policy requirements to maintain consistency in all procedural matters in the event of the death of an inmate.
  2. The Regional Deputy Commissioner will designate the Regional Administrator, Communications and Executive Services (RACES), to fulfill the role of family liaison coordinator.
  3. The coordinator is the key point of contact for sharing of information with families in the event of a death in custody, once the initial notification and arrangements (e.g., disposition of body, personal effects, and finances) have been completed at the institutional level.
  4. The responsibility for the sharing of information will be delegated to site personnel under the oversight of the coordinator. Site personnel may still continue to be a point of contact for the emergency contact or next of kin, with the RACES becoming involved as needed.
  5. The Institutional Head/District Director will delegate staff to develop and maintain a Standing Order detailing procedures to be followed to complete notifications, fingerprinting, and funeral arrangements.
  6. The Institutional Head/District Director will facilitate individuals involved in communications pertaining to the death of an inmate receiving the Notification of Death training in accordance with the National Training Standards.


  1. Following the death of an inmate, the Institutional Head/District Director, or delegate, will promptly notify:
    1. the police
    2. Regional or National Headquarters pursuant to CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
    3. the coroner/medical examiner who has jurisdiction over the area in which the penitentiary is located. This includes situations when an inmate dies outside the penitentiary (e.g., in a community hospital). See Coroner’s/Medical Examiner’s Inquests/Inquiries for explanations of what happens when a provincial coroner investigates a death in custody
    4. the local person designated by the Institutional Head/District Director responsible for the notification, who will in turn promptly notify the inmate’s emergency contact or next of kin, by telephone where possible, and inform them that the designated site personnel and/or RACES will be in contact with them soon. The CCRR does not, however, permit CSC to delegate the responsibility for completing notifications to individuals or groups external to CSC. When a phone call is made, it is considered a best practice to coordinate, where possible, with local resources to provide in-person support. Alternatively, where possible and if appropriate, considering all risk factors and following the direction of the Institutional Head/District Director, the designated local person may advise the inmate’s emergency contact or next of kin, in person
    5. the regional Victim Services Unit
    6. the RACES.
  2. Following the death of an inmate, the Institutional Head/District Director, or delegate, will:
    1. complete the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Notification of Death of a Person Known to Have a Criminal Record (RCMP/GRC c-163) form and provide it to the RCMP for proper offender identification. This does not apply to Community Correctional Centres
    2. obtain a death certificate to complete the inmate record, and in exceptional circumstances where form RCMP/GRC c-163 cannot be completed, forward the death certificate to the RCMP to close off the inmate’s criminal history
    3. contact the local Sentence Management Unit about the death and provide them with official documents related to the death (e.g., death certificate)
    4. send a letter of condolence to the inmate’s emergency contact or next of kin that contains the contact information of the RACES, as well as the designated site personnel. Accompanying the letter will be the document titled “Death of a person in the care and custody of CSC: A guide for family and friends”. This guide can also be shared with the personal representative
    5. wherever possible, facilitate any religious and/or culturally appropriate observances at time of death. To this end, see Chaplaincy: Death of an Inmate which explains how CSC accommodates religious affiliation when an inmate dies
    6. advise the Inmate Committee.

Funeral Arrangements

  1. All funeral arrangements must be done in accordance with sections 116, 117, 118, and 119 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations.
  2. There are various aspects to address when coordinating the deceased inmate’s burial, cremation, or in following the instructions left by the inmate, including the funeral arrangements, discharge clothing (if applicable or the equivalent allowances in the context of a Community Correctional Centre), and the installation of a grave marker indicating the deceased’s name, date of birth, and date of death.
  3. Prior to delivering any portion of the deceased inmate’s estate, pursuant to section 119 of Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations, CSC will obtain a duly executed release/signed statement from the inmate’s personal representative in order to verify receipt. In order to confirm the identity of an inmate’s personal representative, an original document issued by a federal, provincial, or territorial government body will be requested. The appropriate identification must include the name, date of birth, photo and signature. In case of identification from a foreign state, the personal representative has to provide the validation of the appropriate identification from the embassy, high commission, or consulate of the foreign state.
  4. CSC staff will not act as witnesses to, or executors of, an inmate’s will or administrators of an inmate’s estate.
  5. When CSC is responsible for the disposal of ashes, this is to be done in accordance with provincial and territorial regulations/requirements.

Information Sharing

  1. The Institutional Head/District Director, the RACES, or designate, will collect and share relevant factual information (pursuant to CD 701 – Information Sharing) with the deceased’s emergency contact, next of kin or personal representative within the parameters of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act, unless it would interfere with an investigation that could lead to a criminal charge.
  2. The RACES, or designate, will document the information shared and with whom it was shared.
  3. In the event there are multiple requests for information about the deceased, these will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Information Sharing

  1. The RACES will oversee coordination with relevant Offices of Primary Interest regarding status of investigation(s), information gathering, etc., in addressing specific questions/needs of the emergency contact or next of kin in keeping with the Facilitated Disclosure Process, which includes sharing information with the next of kin from notification through to the completion of the investigative process.


  1. Strategic Policy Division
    National Headquarters


Anne Kelly

Annex - A
Cross-References and Definitions


CD 001 – Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
CD 022 – Media Relations
CD 041 – Incident Investigations
CD 048 – Information Sharing and Provision of Support Services Associated with Coroner’s/Medical Examiner's Death Investigations or Inquests/Inquiries
CD 081 – Offender Complaints and Grievances
CD 087 – Official Languages
CD 228 – Information Management
CD 234 – Claims for Staff Personal Effects and Inmate Personal Effects and the Offender Accident Compensation Program
CD 566-9 – Searching of Cells/Rooms, Vehicles and Other Areas
CD 566-12 – Personal Property of Offenders
CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
CD 568-4 – Preservation of Crime Scenes and Evidence
CD 701 – Information Sharing
CD 703 – Sentence Management
CD 705-1 – Preliminary Assessments and Post-Sentence Community Assessments
CD 710-1 – Progress Against the Correctional Plan
CD 714 – Community Correctional Centre Standards
CD 730 – Offender Program Assignments and Inmate Payments
CD 750 – Chaplaincy Services
GL 750-1 – Inmate Religious Accommodations
CD 784 – Victim Engagement
CD 860 – Offender’s Money

Death in custody
Death of a person in the care and custody of CSC: A guide for family and friends
Hospice Palliative Care Guidelines for Correctional Service Canada


Appropriate identification: picture identification from a recognized official agency.

Chaplain: a Qualified Professional Official Representative (QPOR) of a religious or spiritual community who provides and/or facilitates religious/spiritual services and care in a secular or institutional context (i.e., health care, military, correctional, police, fire, etc.). In the CSC context, a Chaplain, while a QPOR of a specific tradition, is responsible to ensure the religious and spiritual needs of all inmates are met.

Elder Helper: an individual other than an offender designated to assist offenders to benefit from traditional healing and contemporary treatment interventions by supporting the work of the Elders/ Spiritual Advisors and the Interdisciplinary Team.

Elder/Spiritual Advisor: any person recognized by an Indigenous community as having knowledge and understanding of the traditional culture of the community, including the physical manifestations of the culture of the people and their spiritual and social traditions and ceremonies. Knowledge and wisdom, coupled with the recognition and respect of the people of the community, are the essential defining characteristics of an Elder/Spiritual Advisor. Elders/Spiritual Advisors are known by many other titles depending on the region or local practices. An example is Angakuk who is an Inuit shaman or medicine man. (This definition does not apply to inmates who may have ceremonial knowledge.)

Emergency contact: the person identified by an inmate who will be contacted by CSC representatives in the event of an emergency or death. If the inmate did not identify an emergency contact, then a next of kin will be contacted.

Inmate: for the purpose of this policy, an inmate refers to a person incarcerated in a federal penitentiary, including an offender on day parole or statutory release in a Community Correctional Centre with a Parole Board of Canada residency condition and to offenders incarcerated in a CSC operated Healing Lodge/Healing Village. Because a provincial/territorial facility is not operated by CSC, an individual in a provincial/territorial facility on an Exchange of Service Agreement does not meet the CCRA definition of an inmate. An inmate on day parole or statutory release with a residency condition that is suspended and temporarily detained at a provincial/territorial facility does not meet the definition of an inmate and this policy does not apply in such case.

Next of kin: relative identified on the inmate’s contact list.

Personal representative: the person (or persons) appointed to administer and distribute the estate of a deceased person in accordance with the terms of the will or the law of intestate succession.

Annex - B

Facility Type and Release Status

In addition to inmates who are incarcerated, the following table identifies the individuals in the community to whom this policy applies:

Facility Type and Release Status Is CD 530 Applicable?
Community Correctional Centre
Day Parole Yes
Statutory Release with Residency Yes
Long Term Supervision Order No
Full Parole No
Statutory Release with Voluntary Residency No
Community-Based Residential Facility (excluding CCCs)
Day Parole No
Full Parole No
Statutory Release No
Long Term Supervision Order No
Healing Lodge/Healing Village
CSC Operated Yes
Section 81 – Community Operated No

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