Burial and Cremation

Find out how to arrange a burial or cremation, and where ashes can be scattered...

A body is usually released for burial after the death certificate has been issued, or on completion of the autopsy.

A burial permit is usually required for a person to be buried or cremated. Funeral directors normally deal with this process for the family. If the burial is to take place outside the province in which the person died, a burial certificate and a transit or removal permit are also required to move the body. Again, funeral directors normally assist with this. Funerals usually take place within one week of the death.

Burial normally takes place in ethnically and religiously appropriate cemeteries. Cemeteries can be either public or private. A deed of ownership is usually issued for the grave, but plots may be subject to time limits. Rules regarding tombstones, flowers and other grave markers vary according to the cemetery.

Some cemetery bylaws insist that burial takes place in a casket or vault but there is no legal requirement for this in Canada.


The number of cremations taking place in Canada has increased dramatically in recent years. Green cremation, where funeral homes use products that are less harmful to the environment, is becoming increasingly common.

Cremated remains may be kept by the family or scattered on private property or in a designated area of the cemetery. There are no federal laws regarding the scattering of ashes in public places and in most provinces no laws exist regarding this. However, this should be checked with the funeral director as provincial/territorial regulations may exist.