The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is strongly committed to its consumer protection mandate, and to that end, the BAO supports and expects high professional standards for all licensees.
The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act (FBCSA) requires that Cemetery Operators keep either a “care and maintenance fund” or a “care and maintenance account” to hold a specified portion of the money received from interment sales, in trust. The income generated from that money is used to maintain the cemetery in perpetuity. No expenses can be paid from the capital in the fund/account; only the income generated by the investment of the capital can be utilized.
The BAO has reason to believe that the capital of several cemetery care and maintenance trust funds has been improperly withdrawn by Trustees or their agents to pay administration or management fees. Doing so is strictly prohibited by section 53(18) of the FBCSA: No Trustee of a care and maintenance fund or account shall pay out any of the capital portion of the fund or account except as required or permitted by this Act or the regulations. (Such payment may only be made to purchase adjacent land to enlarge the cemetery and is subject to the consent of the Registrar.)
The misuse of care and maintenance funds represents a broken promise to interment right holders and is a contravention of governing legislation. The BAO takes its oversight role over care and maintenance funds very seriously and is taking immediate steps to help ensure that funds are properly administered and secured.
As Cemetery Operators are responsible for the integrity of their care and maintenance funds, the BAO highly recommends that Cemetery Operators immediately seek confirmation from their Trustees that neither their fees nor the fees for any agents of the Trustee are being taken from the fund’s capital. A Statutory Declaration form has been provided (attached) for this purpose, to be completed by the Trustee. If capital has been depleted from the fund, it must be restored.
Any requests to transfer care and maintenance funds from one Trustee to another must be accompanied by this Statutory Declaration.
Original signed copies of the Statutory Declaration should be mailed to:
The Bereavement Authority of Ontario
Attention: Trust Compliance Unit
505 – 100 Sheppard Avenue East
Toronto, ON M2N 6N5
The BAO thanks all Cemetery Operators for their cooperation. Our conduct as a profession speaks loudly and we must continue to uphold the highest standards.
CEO and Registrar