Episode 6 of #Talkdeath featured two experts who are well versed in Canadian funerary practice, Nathan Romagnoli and Janet McCausland. Nathan is the owner of Eco Funerals and Janet is chair person for the Natural Burial Association. They spoke with Qeepr LIVE on September 27th and answered all your questions about Canadian funeral law, burial alternatives and your legal rights after you die. This was by far one of our most popular #TalkDeath episodes and we received a number of great questions.
You may not be aware of how frustrating Canadian funeral law can be. Every province has different statutes, laws and practices and navigating what is legal in Quebec will tell you nothing about what is legal in British Columbia. Regulations, provincial boundaries, federal legislation, all this means is that Canadians in general now know little about what they can and cannot do after death. Luckily Nathan and Janet, with their backgrounds in green burial and the funeral profession, helped us move through the legal minefield of Canadian funerary law.
Canadian Funeral Law:
The Biggest Stopping Block For Green & Natural Burial?
Is the biggest stopping block for green and natural burial the big, evil funeral profession? Are there shadowy figures who want to stop alternatives at all cost? Well, as it turns out, the biggest stopping block is municipal zoning regulations. You need to be zoned as a cemetery in order to start your own green burial site. This isn't all and you'll need to watch the video to find out more.
Can I Scatter Ashes Anywhere in Canada?
Yes and no. It's a complicated answer but you can scatter cremains on crown land. Crown land is public land that is accessible to everyone. And if you want to scatter on private property, you'll need to get permission. But chances are the Blue Jays won't be too happy to have you throw ashes on the field in the bottom of the 7th.
How Can I Donate my Body to Science?
When we think of donation we often think of donating our organs when we die. But medical schools and labs are often in desperate need of bodies. But actually donating your body is NOT easy! And when Canadian labs or medical schools are full, the bodies have to go somewhere.
Can You Be Embalmed AND Have a Home Funeral?
Home funerals probably attract a certain crowd that likes to keep things 'natural.' So can you have a home funeral and use a chemical preservative like embalming fluid? If you don't want to be embalmed, your family will need to keep your body preserved another way and that can be time and labor intensive.
Can I Leave my Corpse for Birds to Consume?
We were asked this question before and like in America, leaving your body for animals to consume brings up a whole host of issues. Not least of which is the fact that your body might be mistaken for a crime scene.
Do Funeral Professionals Support Alternative Practices Like Death Doulas?
It's no secret that the funeral profession has a bad rep. And sometimes the relationship between funeral professionals and alternative providers can be a bit antagonistic. But is this always the case? How do funeral professionals like Nathan feel about alternative providers and how do alternative providers really feel about funeral professionals?
What Provinces Allow Home Funerals?
The consensus seems to be that every province allows home funerals, but how easy it is to have one will depend. In Quebec you have to have a body embalmed after 18 hours if you want a viewing and in Ontario, having to register a dead body means that unless you are well prepared, you may have no choice but to use a funeral home.
How Can Someone Start Their Own Green Burial Space?
As we mentioned in another video, the biggest stopping block to starting your own green burial space are municipal zoning regulations. Although it may not be as hard as you think (anyone want to crowdfund to buy a church?)
How Many Green Burial Grounds Are in Canada?
We might think we are a progressive country but the United States has us beat. Green burials are still an emerging process says Nathan. And while there are a handful in Ontario, one in Quebec and at least one in British Columbia, many natural burial sites tends to be part of larger, traditional cemeteries instead of free standing grounds.
Can I Shoot my Body or Ashes into Space?
Like green burial, here is another instance of the United States being well 'ahead' of Canada. There are so many companies that offer so many alternatives and we are only now catching up. So can you be shot into space? Watch the video to find out.
Can I Bury a Body in my Backyard?
Well, the answer is no. But our guests have some novel ideas for how we might be able to get around those pesky laws. Watch the video to find out how!
How Can Canadians Better Understand Their Rights?
Talk! Talk to your family, talk to funeral professionals, talk to a lawyer or talk to your neighbors. The best way to be informed is to ask questions and to give your family answers. You need to know your rights and you need to let your family know what you want when you die.