Alberta Justice and the Attorney General - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

When a death occurs suddenly or cannot be explained, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducts an investigation. All such deaths in Alberta are investigated under the authority of the Fatalities Inquiries Act. The investigation is held to determine:

  • Who died?
  • Where did they die?
  • When did they die?
  • Why did they die?
  • How did they die?

In some cases, a public fatality inquiry is held and recommendations are made to help prevent similar deaths.

Notification of a Death

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner must be notified when a death is:

  1. An unexplained natural death,

  2. An unexplained natural death, when the decedent appeared to be in good health,

  3. A natural death where the decedent did not have a physician or was not seen by a physician within the last 14 days,

  4. A death occurs during an operative procedure or within 10 days of an operative procedure,

  5. A violent or unnatural death,

  6. A death which is alleged to be a result of negligence,

  7. A death in custody,

  8. A death of an involuntary patient or "ward" of the government, and

  9. A maternal death.

If a death occurs unexpectedly at home the local police department should be called. The police will in turn contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Only the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has the authority to release the names of the deceased in a disaster.

Further information regarding their role in emergency management can be found on the website:   http://www.justice.gov.ab.ca/ocme/default.aspx.



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