COVID-19: Ready…together

BAO COVID-19 Info Index

  1. FAQ – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Safety Posters
  3. COVID-19 Updates: Directives, Notices, Guidance…
  4. All Registrar’s Directives – including COVID-19
  5. All Notices to the Profession – including COVID-19
  6. Government links
  7. Webinars
  8. News – From government and news media
  9. BAO Media Contact:
  10. Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces



Jan. 19 – BAO supports hospitals in transfer of deceased patients
Jan. 12 – Registrar’s Directive: Modified Expedited Death Response Plan
Jan. 6, 2021 – Notice/News Release – Bereavement sector well within capacity in caring for those who have died during pandemic


Dec. 17 – CEO/Registrar’s Blog – BAO & bereavement professionals met the challenges of 2020 together for everyone’s safety
Dec. 3 – Notice to the Profession: BAO COVID-19 information update
Nov. 23 – Notice to the Profession: Revised BAO poster on COVID restrictions
Nov. 20 – Registrar’s Directive: BAO additional restrictions for bereavement sector
Nov. 16 – Notice to the Profession: New BAO poster on COVID restrictions
Nov. 16 – Notice to the Profession: Don’t use licence renewal portal
until notified by BAO

Nov. 12 – Registrar’s Directive: BAO issues colour code for regional restrictions
that licensees and establishments must follow
Nov. 4 – Notice to Funeral & Transfer Service Operators:
Public health unit inspections not required for licence renewal this year

Oct. 30 – Notice to the Profession: Licence renewal fees waived
Oct. 16 – Registrar’s Directive: Food and beverages prohibited indoors
– Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York
Oct. 9 – Notice to the Profession: Canadian government travel exemptions – re. funerals
Oct. 9 – Registrar’s Directive: Cemeteries to continue interments
as late into the season as safely possible

Sept. 20 – Registrar’s Directive: Province-wide cemetery gathering limits
Sept. 18 – Registrar’s Directive: Cemetery gathering limits for Ottawa, Peel and Toronto
Sept. 10 – Notice to the Profession: Adapting to COVID-19 changes
Sept. 3 – Notice to the Profession: Reminder of COVID-19 Registrar’s Directives still in place
Aug. 10 – Registrar’s Directive: Windsor-Essex Stage 3 gathering limits 
July 30 – Registrar’s Directive: Stage 3 gathering limits / food & beverages
July 20 – Registrar’s Directive: Additions to Stage 3 Attendance Limits
July 15 – Notice to the Profession: Licensees can stop filling in weekly CSE Survey
July 14 – Registrar’s Directive: Stage 3 Attendance Limits
July 6 – Registrar’s Directive: Masks & face coverings mandatory at indoor funerals & visitations

Archive of Updates 2020


BAO links

Government links



BAO Webinar documents


Webcasts hosted by the BAO for its licensees –
Jan. 13 – CEO/Registrar’s COVID-19 Update PDFVideo


Nov. 17 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update – Colour CodesVideo– BAO hosted
Oct. 2 – Registrar’s COVID-19 UpdateVideo– BAO hosted
July 9 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Video-OACFP
June 16 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Attendance Guidance / Video -OFSA
June 10 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Video/ Q&A -OACFP
May 28 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Video/ Q&A -OFSA
May 12 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Video/ Q&A -OACFP
April 28 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Q&A -OFSA
April 10 – Registrar COVID-19 surge presentation /
Removals of Deceased from Hospitals & LTC Guide / Q&A / Video– OACFP
April 1 – Registrar’s Update PDF / Q&A / Video– OACFP
March 27 – How to keep safe while handling remains – COVID-19 -OFSA
March 23 – Presentation / Video/ Q&A -OACFP
March 18 – Presentation; Q&A; Video-OACFP


News – Bereavement sector
re. COVID-19


Jan. 21 – Postmedia – Death response plan from BAO addresses rising COVID-19 toll
The Modified Expedited Death Response (MEDR) Plan was issued last week and is effective immediately, and applies to all regions of the province, with the exception of some communities and areas in northern and western Ontario. Part of the plan, in a Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) news release, has funeral/transfer staff required to attend at hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities within six hours of being advised the decedent is ready for release.

Jan. 7, 2021 – Standard-Freeholder – Ontario bereavement authority: sector not at risk of over-capacity
The bereavement sector’s ability to professionally care for those who have died during the pandemic remains strong and is not at risk of exceeding capacity in Ontario.


Dec. 21 – Government of Ontario – Provincewide Shutdown – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown starting Dec. 26.

Nov. 27 – Government of Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework – Here is the province’s colour code of restrictions, which change with the state of the pandemic in public health unit zones.

Nov. 13 – CBC – Marketplace tested over 20 different masks. Here’s what will best protect you and others during the pandemic
Wearing a mask is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19, but rigorous tests conducted on behalf of CBC’s Marketplace found that while some work very well, others offer little protection from the particles that transmit the novel coronavirus…Top Performers – 3-layer masks… More

Nov. 4 – The Standard – 2020 a hard year for Niagara funeral homes, grieving families 
…Recently, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, an arm of the provincial government that regulates the funeral industry, waived licence renewal fees for a year. “The BAO’s licensees have shown leadership in continuing to provide uninterrupted professional, safe and caring services to families across the province during COVID-19 pandemic measures,” said the agency’s chief executive officer Carey Smith…It was welcome recognition for what his industry has gone through, says George Darte (funeral home operator in St. Catharines). “I know most people don’t understand our world … but we do know what we do, and we have had a number of our families thank us as well,” he says…He has talked with funeral home operators in the U.S., which has 11 times the population of Canada, but 23 times more COVID deaths.  More

Nov. 3 – TVO – Ontario unveils new colour-coded COVID-19 control system
The province is abandoning its “Stage 2/Stage 3” framework and adopting a colour-coded one that it hopes will allow for faster and more targeted responses. Read the full plan here.

Oct. 16 – Government of Ontario – York Region placed in modified Stage 2
Effective Monday, October 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., York Region will join Ottawa, Peel and Toronto public health regions in a modified Stage 2, as a result of their trends in public health indicators, including higher than average rates of COVID-19 transmission. More

Oct. 15 – BBC – Coronavirus: France reports more than 30,000 new infections
France has reported a large jump in new Covid-19 cases ahead of a night-time curfew being imposed on Paris and eight other cities on Saturday. A further 30,621 infections were confirmed on Thursday, up from 22,591 the day before. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that tough restrictions are “absolutely necessary” to save lives. Millions in Europe have been told they must live under strict new measures as governments battle a second wave. More

Oct. 9 – Government of Ontario – Ontario Implementing Additional Public Health Measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region
Government Taking Further Steps to Support Small Business in these Hotspots. More

Sept. 28 – Government of Ontario – Ontario Investing $52.5 Million to Recruit, Retain and Support More Health Care Workers
The Ontario government is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge in demand, while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents. This investment is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. More

Sept. 17 – Government of Ontario – Lower Limits for Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto Regions
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and local municipal leaders, the Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, setting a new limit reducing the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. (Funeral services are not mentioned.) More

Aug. 23 – Bloomberg – Italy Lockdown Success Challenged by New Europe Virus Surge 
After suffering one of Europe’s earliest and fiercest outbreaks, Italy emerged as an unlikely role model for its handling of the pandemic…As cases flare in Europe — many linked to young travelers returning from summer holidays — Italy’s success may now be in jeopardy…The intensity and duration of Italy’s lockdown is widely seen as one of the reasons why cases continued to fall after curbs started to be gradually lifted in early May. Restrictions were maintained for a full six weeks after new infections peaked, and schools never reopened unlike in France or Germany…Images such as those of army trucks loaded with coffins in the northern city of Bergamo started circulating at the height of the infection in March, and played a role in driving home the gravity of the situation. More 

Aug. 10 – Government of Ontario – Windsor-Essex to Join the Rest of Province in Stage 3
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer Health and the local medical officer of health, Windsor-Essex will be allowed to move into Stage 3 on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. More

July 29 – Government of Ontario: Ontario Moving Toronto and Peel Region into Stage 3  
Additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the Ontario government allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m. More

July 26 – Toronto Sun – Saying goodbye in the time of COVID
…The early weeks of the pandemic were a nightmare of trying to cope with a death when the whole world was shut down — no places of worship, no contact with friends for support, no traditional funeral possible.…Verburg credits the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, the government body that oversees the profession, for guiding everyone through this. More

July 20 – Government of Ontario – Ontario Moving More Regions into Stage 3
The Ontario government is allowing seven more regions to enter Stage 3 on Friday, increasing the number of businesses and public spaces that will reopen across the province…The following regions will remain in Stage 2 until local trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 3: Peel Public Health; Toronto Public Health; and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. More

July 13 – Government of Ontario – Nearly all businesses and public spaces to reopen in Stage 3
The Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place…
New Gathering Limits: (with physical distancing)
– Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people.
– Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people
…gathering limits apply to higher risk settings and activities where people congregate, including…parties, fundraisers, fairs, wedding receptions, funeral receptions…People gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies or funeral services, can continue to fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of the particular room, as introduced in Stage 2. (Outdoor funeral services can have a maximum of 100 people in attendance.)   More

June 17 – Government of Ontario – Extends Emergency Orders
The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19. More

June 8 – Government of Ontario – More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days
…Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers. More

May 6 – Toronto Star – PPE fees for cost recovery only
“Use of PPE or any other COVID fee must be itemized for families to see and understand,” said (the BAO‘s David) Brazeau. “Funeral homes and transfer services did not previously have a standard way of showing this in contracts with consumers. The notice we issued provides them with a standard way of doing this.” More

April 27 – Maclean’s – How grieving has changed during coronavirus: A funeral director’s experience
…All churches have since been closed and the Bereavement Authority of Ontario has instructed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, all funeral activities, whether inside a funeral home or outside at a cemetery, are now limited to 10 people in total. In Nova Scotia, the maximum is five people. In Newfoundland, because they can trace most of the province’s COVID-19 cases to a funeral visitation that happened in March, the chief medical officer of health ordered a complete provincial ban on funerals and wakes. More

April 21 – CBC – Coroner orders sweeping changes to avoid ‘sad scenes’ like those in Italy, U.S.
Ontario’s chief coroner says the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing his office to make major changes to how hospitals and funeral homes deal with the dead…(Dr. Dirk) Huyer said the goal is to move “everything more quickly” as the coronavirus continues to reap its deadly toll in the province’s hospitals and nursing homes…”We are not going to see the scenes that we’ve seen in Italy, or in the United States, in other parts of the world, where loved ones, the bodies of loved ones, are in essence being stockpiled in arenas and community centres and so on. And that’s not going to happen here because of the proactive measures we’ve put in place,” (the BAO‘s) Brazeau said. More

April 15 – Ottawa Sun – Crematoriums ordered to be ready to run ‘all day, every day’
The Bereavement Authority of Ontario, the agency that licenses and regulates funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, issued the directive earlier this month as part of its wide-ranging response to COVID-19. “All crematoriums in Ontario must be ready to operate all day, every day, seven days a week,” said the order signed by bereavement authority chief executive Carey Smith. More

April 14 – CTV Ottawa – New rules for Ontario funeral homes during the COVID-19 pandemic
Under the new rules, a funeral home will need to pick-up the body of a deceased loved one from a hospital within an hour of being contacted, and within three hours from a long-term care facility. This is to prevent a back-log at the facilities during the pandemic. More

April 14 – Ontario Government – Declaration of Emergency extended to May 12
The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as the closure of all non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas, public places and bars and restaurants, as well as restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and prohibitions against price-gouging. More

April 13 – Ontario Government Ontario Secures Critical Medical Equipment & Supplies
The Ontario government continues to ensure that patients, frontline health care workers and first responders have the critical equipment and supplies they need to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the last five days, more than 13 million surgical and procedural masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators have been delivered to Ontario’s pandemic stockpile warehouses. More

April 11 – Ontario Government – Province Extends Emergency Orders until April 23
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people across the province, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place…
1. Subject to subsection (3), no person shall attend,
(a) an organized public event of more than five people, including a parade;
(b) a social gathering of more than five people; or
(c) a gathering of more than five people for the purposes of conducting religious services, rites or ceremonies…
Subsection (1) does not apply to the following:
A gathering of members of a single household.
A gathering for the purposes of a funeral service that is attended by
not more than 10 persons. O. Reg. 99/20, s. 3. More

April 10 – The Globe and Mail – ‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best’: Canada’s funeral industry
Contingency plans are being made across the country to avoid the fate of places like New York, where mass graves on public land are being considered to accommodate the deceased…David Brazeau, the communications manager with the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, said that’s not going to happen in the province, because the industry has been taking steps to avoid this for weeks…Families are being encouraged to proceed with disposition, meaning burials or cremation, as soon as possible. More

More news at the COVID-19 News Archive


Worth repeating

July 14 – CDC calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread
Americans are increasingly adopting the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the latest science may convince even more to do so. In an editorial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CDC reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

April 1 – Stop looking for loopholes! – Rick Mercer’s COVID-19 rant says it very well for all of us.


March 22 – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) in the US provides this advice concerning funerals for people who have died following COVID-19:

  • You can still have a funeral or visitation.
  • Bodies can be embalmed using proper PPE.
  • Decedents can be buried or cremated.
  • Read more from the NFDA here.

March 13 – NFDA Webinar Notes