Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but what happens if you need to transport some (or all) of the cremated remains across the country? In today’s blog post, learn whether or not you’re allowed to transport cremated remains by mail.
While our office oversees BC’s cemetery and funeral services laws, jurisdiction over the mailing of cremated remains within Canada rests with Canada Post. Here’s what we learned through our research into this subject.
Are you allowed to mail cremated remains?
According to Canada Post, yes you’re allowed to transport both human and animal cremated remains through the mail as long as you make sure:
- You ship them using a trackable parcel service.
- The destination and return addresses are correct and complete.
- The cremated remains are packed in a sealed container and put inside a sift-proof outer container. If the inner container is fragile, you’ll have to protect it with packing material.
- They are accompanied by a certificate of cremation that’s issued by an appropriate authority (such as a funeral director), placed inside a plastic envelope and attached to the top of the parcel.
If you’re shipping cremated remains internationally, you’ll want to check with the International Destination Listing for more information about prohibited and restricted items within specific countries.
More information about BC’s funeral services industry, including consumer tips, is available on our blog under the cremation and funeral services tag.
Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?
Have you had “The Talk?” Top 5 things you need to know about funeral services
Your preneed cemetery or funeral services contract rights
20 thoughts on “Are you allowed to mail cremated remains?”
Hi! It’s ironic, but someone just told me the other day that if I were stopped by a Cop and asked to open my trunk (and I decided to comply) and they happened to see my Mom’s ashes in their ‘peanut butter jar-like” container, that I am breaking the law. Something to do with ‘transporting bodily remains”.
Funny, timing Arlene! This can be a little bit of a uncomfortable subject for some, but I do have some information that I hope will be helpful. After a body is cremated, the law considers the ashes and the other leftover fragments to be “cremains” (cremated remains). By law, “cremains” are NOT considered to be human remains. With that in mind, you’re in the clear to transport ashes in your trunk! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Hi quick question upon reading rules on how to possibly package human cremains the Death certificate that needs to be attached to package, does it need to be open and visabley showing my brothers information?
Hi Stephanie, thanks for your question. For more information about what Canada Post requires for shipping cremated remains, I would suggest contacting them directly. I hope this helps, Stephanie!
Hi Melaina , my son passed away in Mission B C Canada, we are here in Oregon USA , what is the cheapest way to get his ashes sent to us here in the USA by mail. Thanks
Hi Yvonne, I am so sorry about your son – my sincere condolences to you and your family. I’m not sure if I would be the best person to answer your question about international mailing costs. It seems like it might be a question better answered by a professional in this area. You may want to check with a local post office or shipping service to see what your options are for international shipping of cremains.
What if the certificate of cremation is no longer available? If it could be acquired, would a photocopy be sufficient?
Hi Pam, thanks for your question. I’m not sure. I think that would be something you would want to ask Canada Post about, as this is their policy on mailing cremated remains. Best of luck!
I am sending my brother’s remains to his daughter in Australia. Does Canada Post sell the sift proof container?
Is there anything I need to know about mailing these to Australia. Do you know what the approximate cost would be?
Hi Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Regarding your questions, we have listed some things to consider in this blog post but other pieces of information such as sift proof container and cost would need to be addressed by Canada Post. Have a look at their website (here is a link) and this support page may offer more information. Otherwise, you can contact them directly (scroll down to the bottom of the page for more info). I hope you will be able to find the information you’re looking for quickly.
I’m wanting to send a necklace with our dogs ashes. It’s a very small amount and it’s secure
in the box plus another box and the box it’s ship in with other things that belonged to our dog
What more is needed to make it more secure??
Hi Marlene, as far as we know, shipping your pet’s ashes is not regulated in BC. As long as you have the ashes in a secure container (which sounds like you do) you may be ok to ship it. You can perhaps double-check at your local Canada Post office before you send it off to be sure.
Hi there I have been told that you cannot mail pet ashes in Canada. I have read the information above and just have a question. I have both of my beloved pets in a container that is padded inside and soldered closed. I also have the paperwork for both of them from the pet cemetery. I am not sure what is meant by sift proof? The container is placed inside a plastic bag that has been heat sealed and will never be open as that is how they will be placed in my home town between my parents remains in our family plot. Will that be the appropriate way to make the package ready for mailing?
Hi Jaquelyn, thank you for contacting us. As the post suggests, the information came from Canada Post so you may want to take a look at their website (here is the link, click on 2.2.8 cremated remains) and if you have more questions, please call or visit your local post office to talk to someone. As far as we can tell, you are allowed to mail human and animal cremated remains in Canada as long as you meet their requirements. I hope you will be able to get the information you are looking for from them.
My sister’s divided my parents ashes into 5, so we all had some of our parents ashes. My sister mailed me mine thru Canada post cod. It was mailed in a bubble envelope with nothing stating that the contents were ashes. Is this the legal way to mail human remains across provinces? Thanks
Hi Tara, thank you for reaching out to us. You are allowed to ship cremated remains in an envelope within Canada. Some of the requirements by Canada Post are listed on their website here. The last bullet point is about a certificate of cremation issued by the proper authority – the authority would be a funeral director or crematorium. I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact Canada Post directly.
Trying to send ashes from Canada to England.
So many different answers out there. Hope you can help with the right ones.
Hi Nancy – we would suggest speaking to Canada Post if you can’t find the answer you need here. They are the ones who manage this. Thanks
Had a maple ridge bc funeral home send out my mom’s ashes to the east coast. the urn inside wasn’t sealed, the bag of ashes had a gap in the bag where it is supposed to be sealed from the crematorium. plus it had slits 3 around the bag of remains. no packing in the cardboard box and holes in 4 corners of the cardboard box. no paperwork for the cremation on top either. my mother’s ashes were scattered from the west coast to the east coast. certainly NOT what my mom’s wishes were. mine either
Hi Julie, sorry for your loss and to hear that your mother’s cremated remains were not handled properly. While our office oversees BC’s cemetery and funeral services laws, jurisdiction over the mailing of cremated remains within Canada rests with Canada Post. Having said that, if you would like to still submit a formal complaint to us, please feel free to do so. You can use our online complaint submission form here.