Care and Maintenance Funds ensure cemeteries are maintained for their communities

Consumer FYI

By Jim Cassimatis
Interim CEO/Registrar
Bereavement Authority of Ontario

Cemeteries are well maintained in perpetuity thanks to companies, municipalities, religious organizations, and volunteers following the law and serving their communities.
Generational maintenance of a cemetery is reinforced by the legally required contributions to a Care and Maintenance Fund or Account by all owners and operators of licensed cemeteries. All cemeteries must be licensed, as per provincial law.

The fund makes sure that they are all maintained to be in safe and accessible condition for you and your family to have a respectful place to grieve and reflect.

Cemeteries come in all shapes and sizes from modest burial sites for a few family members at a farm to large corporation-owned or city-owned cemeteries, where multiple thousands are buried and grieved by their substantial communities.

Many municipalities operate their own cemeteries and assume responsibility for others that become neglected or forgotten. I thank them for their civic duty.

Scores of those abandoned cemeteries predate provincial legislation, regulations mandating their maintenance, and a long-term funding mechanism to cover costs.

It’s a trust fund

Contributions by cemetery operators to the fund became mandatory in Ontario in 1955.

A percentage of the price paid by consumers for interment or scattering rights is put into the Care and Maintenance Fund or Account, which is a trust fund for the upkeep of a cemetery in perpetuity. That’s why it was once called the ‘Perpetual Care’ fund.

The trust fund’s purpose is to ensure there is money available to maintain the cemetery for future generations, including after a cemetery no longer has new burials nor the revenue that comes with them from the sale of interment rights.

(People buy interment rights to require or direct the interment of human remains in a cemetery lot, or the disinterment of human remains from that lot. ‘Interment’ includes burial of human remains, including the placement of the remains in a ‘lot’ – a grave, crypt or niche in a columbarium. Read page five of our BAO Consumer Information Guide for more definitions of bereavement sector terms.)

Without the fund, cemeteries would eventually fall into disrepair, become unusable and eventually unknown to their communities.

What it pays for

The interest or income from the fund is used to pay for cemetery care and maintenance including:

  • Preservation of columbariums, mausoleums, crypts
  • Seeding and leveling of lots and scattering grounds
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Landscaping
  • Maintenance of roads, sewers, and water systems
  • Maintenance of equipment, buildings
  • Future expansion and development of the cemetery

Establishing a cemetery

When establishing a cemetery, Ontario’s Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA or the Act) requires that operators become licensed by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) and deposit $165,000 into a Care and Maintenance Fund or Account.

The FBCSA also provides exemptions to cemeteries, at their request, to deposit less than $165,000 or nothing, into the trust fund. Certain conditions need to be met for this, such as:

  • The owner provides evidence satisfactory to the Registrar of the FBCSA, at the BAO, that the cemetery will be maintained in accordance with the Act and regulations, despite the payment of a lesser amount or no payment at all  
  • The owner provides evidence satisfactory to the Registrar that the municipality has consented to the request
  • The cemetery to be established is not a commercial cemetery  

How are fund contributions set?

Contributions to a Care and Maintenance Fund or Account must be made based on the lot prices of a cemetery. Cemeteries are free to set their prices at rates covering the cost of maintenance, including the establishment of the trust fund itself.

All lot prices are required by law to be posted on a cemetery operator’s price list, which must be on its public website, if it has one, or in print for consumers.


If you come across what appears to be an abandoned burial site or cemetery, please contact us at

About the BAO

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a government delegated authority and not-for-profit corporation administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) on behalf of the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates, ensures compliance with the law, provides resources and services to licensed:

  • Funeral establishment operators, directors and preplanners;
  • Cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators;
  • Transfer service operators; and
  • Bereavement sector sales representatives across Ontario.

The BAO is wholly funded by licensee fees (not tax dollars).