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Notice to masjids and Islamic centres: Licences for transferring human remains are required

As the Registrar of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO), I wrote to you on February 1, 2021 to advise you that masjids and Islamic centres, which are providing transportation and other licensed services to their members, must apply for a licence from the BAO to remain eligible to provide the services in the province of Ontario.

While practising rites and rituals for the deceased at an Islamic centre or masjid are exempt from licensing, a licence is required for the service of transporting (to and from the masjid) of the bodies of the deceased.

Funeral customs, traditions and related health and safety requirements in the Province of Ontario are covered under a law called the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA). The BAO administers this law. We are here to protect the public and the people carrying-out the transportation, to make sure that it is done safely and in accordance with the law and health guidelines.

In requiring that any organization providing these services to its members in Ontario obtain a licence, the BAO has removed many barriers in order assist you in obtaining one.

How do you get licensed?

In the case of an Islamic centre or masjid, each organization is required to apply for a Transfer Service Operator’s licence (TSO2-Restricted licence) and to name the person responsible for the organization’s transfer services. The licences will be limited to providing services only to an Islamic centre or masjid congregation/members, and not to the general public.

The person responsible for transfer services will be required to complete an online training course and write an exam after the course resulting in a personal licence for that individual. The course and exam must be completed within one year of receiving the licence. This is usually required before the licence is issued. But we are providing a grace period to complete the course to make it easier for people to succeed and comply with the law. 

Once the masjid or place of worship receives its transfer licence, it will be subject to annual renewals and inspections by the BAO – as are all licensees.

Failure to obtain a licence and continuing to provide services licence could result in conviction of an offence under the FBCSA which could result in penalties of a fine of not more than $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or both for individuals or $250,000 for corporations.

Please contact BAO Inspector Karie Draper, karie.draper@thebao.ca, to obtain a licence application by May 7, 2021.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Yours truly,

Carey Smith
CEO/Registrar, BAO