A group of people walking in a park.

Notice to the Consumer: Be aware of replicated or ‘pirated’ obituary notices

By Jim Cassimatis
Interim CEO/Registrar, BAO

The company names may be different, but it’s the same old game.

They copy, paste, rewrite a little, and pretend it’s a death notice or obituary approved by the family of the deceased.

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is alerting the public again about companies that are ‘pirating’ or copying obituaries to their websites and accepting donations or selling gifts allegedly on behalf of grieving families.

A company called Afterlife.co was doing this until 2019 when a federal court judge ordered it to pay $20 million as the result of a class action lawsuit. The company later ended its operations. In recent years, Echovita was formed by one of the directors of the Afterlife.co. Echovita is doing a similar thing, and there are others.

Such companies often seek “in memoriam” donations, solicit flower purchases and candle-lighting in memory from unsuspecting bereaved people.


Before you spend any money on in-memoriam gifts, donations or services, verify the seller.

Only trust death notices and obituaries posted on BAO-licensed funeral establishments. They will be the funeral homes you know in your community.

To be doubly sure, scroll to the bottom of the funeral establishment’s homepage and you’ll see the ‘Licensed by the BAO’ badge, that only licensed businesses are allowed to display.

Call the funeral home if you like. They will welcome your call, as they despise the practices of the bad actors out there.

Still not sure? Check out the BAO’s Public Register to see whether a business is licensed by the BAO, or email us at Licensing@TheBAO.ca.

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).