The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a not-for-profit corporation, responsible for administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 and associated regulations on behalf of the Ontario government. The BAO oversees the entire bereavement sector in Ontario, including funeral establishments, funeral directors, funeral preplanners, transfer service operators and transfer service sales representatives, and cemetery and crematorium operators and sales representatives.
The BAO was established as a delegated administrative authority (DAA) on January 16, 2016, under the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act, 1996. The delegation to the BAO occurred as a result of the mutual desire of the Ontario government and the bereavement industry to enhance professionalism, increase consumer protection and provide an effective, efficient and responsive regulatory framework.
The BAO is not a government entity; it is governed by an independent Board of Directors. Like other DAAs, the BAO is wholly financed by the fees paid by the industry sector it oversees. The transition to the BAO does not mean that the bereavement sector will be “self-regulating”. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services maintains a strong oversight role in the sector and continues to be responsible for policy decisions under the FBCSA. The ministry also retains responsibility for cemetery closures, abandonments and burial sites of the FBCSA.
Effective April 1, 2016, the licensing and enforcement responsibilities previously exercised by the Board of Funeral Services (BOFS) was transferred to the BAO and BOFS was dissolved as a corporation. The BAO provides a more effective one-window approach for both licensees and consumers. Consumers now have a single point of contact for any questions or complaints they may have about funeral and transfer services or cemetery and crematorium services.
Functions of the BAO
The BAO will:
- – Offer a convenient single point of contact for the funeral, transfer service, cemetery and crematorium sectors
- – Inspect and license funeral establishments, transfer services, and cemeteries and crematoriums, and individuals who work in these sectors
- – Provide more efficient service delivery and enforcement
Stakeholders from the cemetery/crematorium and funeral/transfer services sectors, religious organizations, municipal organizations and other interested stakeholders were consulted on the establishment of the BAO.