Funerals and anything related to this topic are a difficult thing to talk about, and there are many choices to be made when it comes to planning. It seems like more and more British Columbians are considering green burials when it comes to after-death disposition, so we thought we would share a little information about this option.

What are green burials?

Generally speaking, a green burial is considered to be an ecologically sound method of burial that avoids the use of chemicals and non-biodegradable objects and products (such as caskets and headstones) in the burial process. Bodies are traditionally wrapped in biodegradable shrouds or placed in a biodegradable casket before being buried in a protected green space within a cemetery.

What does the law say about green burials?

There are no laws in British Columbia to prevent green burials. In most cases, the chemical process of embalming is not a legal requirement. Funeral services and cremation are governed in BC under the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act (and regulations), and green cemeteries are considered no different than any other place of interment. It’s important to note that operators still have to follow all the requirements outlined in the Act.

What’s the process of opening a green burial cemetery?

As green cemeteries are not considered to be different from any other place of interment, any new cemetery must be appropriately zoned and must be found to meet community needs before receiving approval. Should an existing cemetery operator wish to extend their place of interment to include green burials, they would have to meet the same requirements as any other cemetery wishing to expand their land. In order to designate a certain area as “green,” the operator would need to amend their operating bylaws.

Did you know that by law, cemeteries, crematoriums, funeral service providers and funeral directors are required to be licensed in BC? Find a licensed provider on our website and learn about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to funeral services in BC.


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