COVID-19: Ready…together

All COVID-19 restrictions and BAO Registrar’s Directives remain in place, until further notice. Learn more on this page.

BAO COVID-19 Info Index –

* Updates: Directives, Notices, Guidance, EDR…
* List of Directives , especially COVID-19
* List of Notices to the Profession – especially COVID-19
* Links
* Questions & Answers by topic
* Webinar documents
* News – Government and news media
BAO Media contact:
* FYI: Coroner’s Documents to hospitals and LTC
* Worth Repeating

EDR Revised timelines – May 23, 2020 / PDF with legend
Read Notice to the Profession


May 26 – Registrar’s Directive:
Organized groupings of visitors at funerals & visitations

May 23 – Notice to the Profession:
Changes in Expedited Death Response (EDR) hours
/ PDF with legend
May 8 – Reminder: COVID-19 cemetery restrictions
May 4 – Sunday, Mother’s Day – Cemetery restrictions
April 30 – Notice to the Profession: COVID-19 Fees
April 22 – Addendum – Registrar’s Directive:
In-Person Witnessing at Cremations Prohibited

April 21 – Registrar’s Directive:
In-Person Witnessing at Cremations Prohibited

April 17 – Registrar’s blog – Tough changes for grieving families
April 15 – Chief Coroner MCOD & Other Updates
April 14 – Expedited Death Response (EDR) Plan begins today
April 14 – Coroner’s Documents to hospitals and LTC
April 12 – Expedited Death Response Process description
April 11 – Registrar’s Reminder: To all Crematorium Operators
April 10 – Removals of Deceased from Hospitals & LTC Guide 
April 10 – Calling on former licensees
April 7 – BAO operating over Easter long weekend
April 7 – **Registrar’s Directive: 10 max at entire funeral home
April 6 – Ontario Government – Death Registration & Burial Permits
April 3-6 – More Qs&As for family and bereavement sector professionals
April 1 – BAO COVID-19 Q&A
April 1 – Registrar’s Update: Ministry of Health Guidance
March 28 – Registrar’s Directive – 10 MAX or LESS at funerals, visitations
March 27 – Registrar’s Notice to Muslim Community – COVID-19 PDF
March 27 – Guidance: Handling human remains – Mosque volunteers PDF
March 24 – Registrar’s Directive: Cemeteries open for interments
March 23 – Registrar’s Notice: Bereavement – Essential Workplaces
March 23 – Registrar’s Directives: COVID-19 – Max at funerals…
March 20 – Notice to the Profession: Interns available now
March 17 – RPF Extension for Funeral Establishment & Transfer Service Operators
March 17 – ALR Extension for Cemetery & Crematorium Operators
March 17 – Notice to the Profession: Guidance 2 on COVID-19
March 14 – Notice to the Profession: Guidance on COVID-19
Feb. 28 – BAO COVID-19 blog


BAO links

Routine Practices in the Bereavement Care Setting PDF
Additional Precautions in the Bereavement Care Setting PDF

Government links

Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance:
Funeral and Bereavement Services PDF

Public Health Ontario
Ontario Government Self-Assessment
Ontario Palliative Care Network:
Expected Death in the Home – COVID-19 – April 24, 2020 – PDF

Toronto Public Health: COVID-19 Guidance for Funeral Homes
City of Toronto – Burial Permit Issuance – Online Portal

Public Health Agency of Canada


World Health Organization 
Infection Prevention and Control
for safe management of a dead body in COVID-19 PDF


Questions & Answers by topic

We’ve posted many Qs&As about COVID-19 as it relates to the bereavement sector for our licensees, and made them available to the public. Here is a collection of them sorted by popular topics.
10 max rule at funerals, visitations, burials
Expedited Death Response (EDR) and Transfers of the deceased
Death registrations
Services Offered
Ready to operate 24/7

BAO Webinar documents

May 28 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Audio / Q&A -OFSA
May 12 – Registrar’s COVID-19 Update / Audio / 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 / Audio – OACFP
April 1 – Registrar’s Update PDF / Q&A / Audio – OACFP
March 27 – How to keep safe while handling remains – COVID-19 -OFSA
March 23 – Presentation / Audio / Q&A -OACFP
March 18 – Presentation; Q&A; Audio -OACFP
March 13 – NFDA Webinar Notes


News – Bereavement sector re. COVID-19

June 2 – Ontario Government – Declaration of Emergency extended to June 30
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature earlier today. More

May 12 – Ontario Government – Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2
The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely. 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

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.


Implications of the Ontario government’s
“A Framework for Reopening Our Province”
for Ontario funeral homes

April 27, 2020 – All COVID-19 restrictions and BAO Registrar’s Directives remain in place, until further notice, during the Government of Ontario’s phased framework for reopening the province. The 10-max rule at funeral homes, and all directives, are still in place.

Key points
• The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s top priority.
• To help ensure the safety of Ontarians, the government has taken the advice of the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and prohibited public gatherings of more than five people.
• Funerals are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.
• The Registrar of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO), the administrative authority responsible for regulating bereavement service providers, has released Directives requiring funeral establishments to:
– Limit the number of individuals in the entire funeral home to a maximum of 10 people at one time (not including staff); and
– Further limit this number to less than 10 people at one time if the funeral home cannot allow people to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet) apart from each other at all times.
• For information on the BAO’s recommendations to the bereavement sector relating to the impacts of COVID-19, please visit our website.
• On April 27, 2020, the government released “A Framework for Reopening our Province”, which lays out the government’s approach to the next chapter in the ongoing fight to defeat COVID-19.
• This document sets out certain conditions which must be met before the government takes steps to responsibly lift public health measures and restart the economy.
• Until further notice is provided by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the BAO, the existing restrictions on the number of people who may attend funerals remain in place.


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