January 27th, 1910

Thursday, January 27, 1910

Registration of Births and Deaths.

In the early sixties the Legislature of Nova Scotia enacted a law for the registration of births, marriages and deaths. This law remained in force until Confederation, when its operation became a subject of dispute between the federal and the provincial governments. The law was not repealed but its operations became optional, and the keeping of statistics was neglected more and more and finally given up.

In 1908 the provincial legislature passed an act to Provide for the Registration of Births and Deaths, which act came into force on the first day of October in that year. Under this act a department of statistics as established of which the provincial secretary is, ex-officio, the head, holding the office of Registrar-general. The Secretary of Industries and Immigration – now Mr. Barnstead – is Deputy Registrar-general, and District Registrars are appointed in all parts of the province.

Under this act the birth of any child must be registered by the parents within thirty days and by the duly qualified medical practitioner, if such was in attendance, within ten days after such birth.

A fine of ten dollars is the penalty for a failure to comply with this provision of the act.

The occupier of a house in which a death has taken place must notify the district Registrar of such death. The District Registrar shall then issue his certificate, without which, under ordinary circumstances, the burial of the body is forbidden.

This notification of death must also be given by the medical practitioner last in attendance upon the deceased person. It shall be accepted by the district Registrar, and a certificate issued, if given by an undertaker who has personal knowledge of the facts, in lieu of the householder.

The penalty for neglecting to register a death is ten dollars.

Any "clergyman, minister, undertaker, sexton, householder or other person," who buries or assists in burying, or performs any religious service for the burial of a dead body without a certificate of registration being first given, is, under ordinary circumstances, guilty of an offence against the act, and apparently liable to a penalty of twenty dollars.