Addendum to Registrar’s Directive: In-Person Witnessing at Cremations Prohibited

**Rescinded June 15, 2020

April 22, 2020

This addendum reinforces yesterday’s Registrar’s Directive – effective today.

  • No in-person, real-time witnessing of cremations is permitted.
  • Licensees are not allowed to book “holds” – as this would delay cremations.
  • No pushing of buttons to start cremations by anyone other than the crematorium operator’s staff.
  • Upon arrival at the crematorium, crematorium staff are advised to take control of the body from the funeral home staff and are reminded to follow all disinfecting procedures.
  • Crematorium staff and funeral home staff, like everyone, must observe physical distancing throughout all transfer procedures.

For greater clarity

  • In-person witnessing means being present at the facility to witness the cremation, and is not permitted, regardless of there being a viewing window or waiting area at the facility.
  • Remote viewing of cremation is permitted if available, as stated yesterday. Remote viewing means just that – viewing off-site by recorded video playback.
  • Booking scheduled holds – time slots allocated to specific cremations – is prohibited.

Why has witnessing of cremation and scheduling holds been banned?

It isn’t safe. Allowing non-staff into a crematorium presents an opportunity to spread the coronavirus, which could shutdown the crematorium for weeks and severely reduce capacity in the entire Province.

Witnessing in real-time and booking scheduled holding periods delays cremations, which can quickly lead to extensive storing of bodies as is occurring in Quebec. These delays have led to massive stockpiling of bodies in Italy and New York State.

Cremations must proceed as expeditiously as possible as in keeping with the Provincial Expedited Death Response Plan.

Not following this directive can, and will, have serious consequences on licensees, as is the case for non-compliance with all Registrar’s Directives.

For your quick reference, here is a link to my Registrar’s Directive issued yesterday.

-Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar, BAO