QA EDR and Transfers

Question 1. Does the 12-hour removal time, of the deceased, apply to private residences?

Answer 1. The Expedited Death Response (EDR) does not apply to deaths at private residences. The 12-hour time applies to hospitals and long-term-care (LTC) facilities. Just as before, a person who dies at home should be removed in a timely manner. This response time was revised on May 23. 2020, from the tighter timelines issued on April 14, 2020.

Q2 Can funeral home or transfer service staff open the pouch at the hospital or long-term-care (LTC) home to confirm the identity of the deceased?

A2.  No.  You may rely on the identification tag on the body pouch received at the designated waiting area at the hospital or LTC facility. To reconfirm the identity of the deceased once back at your facility, check all identification tags including those directly on the deceased.

Q3. What happens when a family doesn’t know which funeral home to use?

A3. The Expedited Death Response Team (EDRT) has been instructed to try to obtain funeral home preference within 12-hours of a person’s death in hospital or LTC.
If families don’t choose, the EDRT will have to make that decision. It’s all about moving as quickly to remove the decedent from the hospital or LTC to avoid body storage problems and transfer to the care of the funeral professionals.

Q4. When a person dies of COVID-19, will the cause of death be labelled on the body bag?

A4. Yes. The body pouch will be labelled, by hospital staff, as COVID-19.

Q5. In the COVID-19 surge – Can the two-person requirement for transfer of the deceased be suspended?

A5. If a facility/institution requires the two staff, you must follow their policies. If they do not have a restriction mandating two people at transfer, then you may go with one – but only if the transfer of the body can be done safely and respectfully..

Q6. If the Medical Certificate of Death (MCOD) isn’t provided when doing the removal, how can I get it?

A6. The MCOD can be obtained electronically through the Ontario Chief Coroner (OCC) Team by emailing or by calling
1-833-915-0868 or 647-792-0440.

Q7. Does the time clock start when we receive call or when we receive go ahead that medical certificate is ready?

A7. The time starts when you receive the call from the Expedited Death Response Team (EDRT).

Q8. How do we handle a situation where a hospital/LTC is not adhering to these new protocols?

A8. Contact the OCC Team by emailing  or
by calling 1-833-915-0868 or 647-792-0440.

Q9. Are hospices and retirement homes included in the expedited response plan?

A9. Not at this time. Hospices generally have clinicians available who can supply a Medical Certificate of Death quickly.

Q10. If the family does not know who the executor is, or if the executor is unavailable, is the funeral home protected legally if they transfer based on EDRT directives or next of kin?

A10. Funeral professionals can rely upon the information received from the Expedited Death Response Team and the personal representative of the family who was contacted for the purposes of the initial transfer.

Q11. Should stretchers have all covers removed, or can they be used after the pouch has been disinfected?

A11. Because the fabric cannot be easily disinfected, stretcher covers should not be used. Once the cover is removed disinfect the stretcher.

Q12. Does each and every long-term care (LTC) deceased individual require a body pouch, or only COVID positive cases?

A12. Yes, every death taking place in LTC requires the use of a body pouch.

Q13. How can we be certain that the staff at hospital or LTC will be using proper identification procedures?

A14. It’s your responsibility to reconfirm the identity of the deceased by checking all tags/bracelets upon return to your facility. As usual, you may also take this opportunity to remove any jewellery on the deceased for return to the family.

Q15. How can we be certain the staff at the hospital will be using a bleach solution to wipe down body pouches? 

A15. Hospital staff have been given instructions to do so. You may inquire whether it has taken place before receiving the body.  You should disinfect the pouch again prior to loading the deceased into your vehicle.

Q16. Why are we (funeral homes, transfer staff) being prevented from entering hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities?

A16. This measure is in place to reduce the risk of exposure to you, and to prevent the spread of the virus to others within the LTC facility and/or to your facility.

Q17. Are hospitals/LTCs staff removing jewelry from the deceased?

A17. You may request the Expedited Death Response Team to arrange that jewelry be removed prior to receiving the deceased.

Q18. Does the one-hour turnaround time for hospitals, and three-hour turnaround from long-term care (LTC) facilities, still apply when it occurs in the middle of the night?

Q18. Yes, every attempt should be made to meet this timeline.

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