Notice to the Profession: Licence renewal fees waived
– Applies to all classes of BAO licensees – business and personal licensees
Licence renewal fees for all Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) licensees are being waived thanks to funding from the provincial government.
Bereavement sector fees will be waived for routine licence renewals, due between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, for all BAO licensees.
This support is intended to relieve some of the financial burden the bereavement sector faces as it takes necessary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly as the province deals with a second wave.
“I would like to thank the bereavement sector and the Bereavement Authority of Ontario for the important role they have played in facilitating a timely response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our government recognizes the financial hardship that the bereavement sector continues to experience and is providing financial assistance to the BAO for them to provide some financial relief to licensed bereavement service providers during this difficult time. This support recognizes the important contribution that licensed bereavement service providers continue to make every day under these challenging circumstances,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar of the BAO, said, “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.”
“The measures from government and BAO directives and guidance have provided the safety families and the public need. By implementing the measures, licensees made that safety a reality. The measures included months of reduced attendance at funeral services (down to a 10-maximum from March 28 to June 13) and 24/7 readiness by licensees in order to avoid potential stockpiling of bodies*, which occurred in several countries,” Smith said.
“These necessary measures have been a hardship for families and, at the same time, have significantly restricted the bereavement sector’s range of services and sustainability,” he said.
“Funding from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, provided to the BAO, is being utilized to allow the waiving of licensee renewal fees. I know this will provide some welcome relief to the licensees, who have incurred increased costs and smaller funeral services since the pandemic safety measures were introduced.”
Licensure reporting still required
Licensees will still be required to do annual licensure reporting to the BAO, but without paying the licence renewal fees. Annual reports and renewal applications must be received complete and on time, by the due date for each licence class.
Licensees who do not submit these documents by the due date will not be eligible to receive the fee waiver and full fees will be due.
The BAO will issue a refund to licensees who have already paid all or part of their licence renewal fees prior to this announcement.
The fee waiver applies to renewals of existing licences only. A licensee applying for renewal must have had a valid licence in 2020. This renewal fee waiver applies to renewals that would have been due between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
The fee waiver does not apply to:
- First-time or new applicants for any licence class;
- Students who haven’t yet passed their licence exam; and
- Bereavement sector staff who are not licensed by the BAO.
*From April 14 to May 25, 2020, bereavement service providers helped to implement the BAO and Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario’s Expedited Death Response (EDR) process to deal with the anticipated increase in fatalities resulting from COVID-19. The EDR stipulated extended and expedited service timelines with 24/7 readiness to transfer decedents from hospitals and long-term care facilities to funeral homes for services and disposition.
About the BAO
The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a government delegated administrative authority administering certain provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates and supports 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.
Please note: The views expressed in this Notice to the Profession are the views of the CEO/Registrar of the BAO, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.