A few weeks ago, I was asked an interesting question: “How do I go about arranging to be buried on my family farm?” I admit I was a little bit rusty on the answer (given that I’ve been away on parental leave), so I thought I’d share what I learned about the steps involved!
First of all, it’s important to understand Consumer Protection BC’s role with regards to the cemetery sector in BC. Our office is responsible for regulating the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act, a law that speaks to the creation of cemeteries in BC and to the licensing of cemetery operators (amongst other things).
In British Columbia, it’s illegal to bury a human body anywhere but in a designated cemetery. So in order to arrange for burial on a private family farm, one would first have to get the property established as a “place of interment” (a cemetery, in this case). Here are the steps to getting this done:
Step 1: Certificate of Public Interest
First, the property owner applies for a Certificate of Public Interest through our office. This process makes sure the land is suitable to be used as a burial site, and triggers a legal notation on the land title. This protects the property going forward (meaning that it can’t be sold, leased or developed in the future, unless special permission is granted).
Step 2: Getting licensed
Once the Certificate of Public Interest is complete, the property owner has to become licensed as a cemetery operator through our office. At a high level, cemetery operators are responsible for the care and maintenance of cemeteries.
Step 3: Renewing operator licence
Every five years, the property owner has to renew their cemetery operator licence (you don’t have to pay renewal fees for non-commercial cemetery licences).
There’s a lot to know about this topic and there is more information on our website about this process, including checklists and forms about establishing cemeteries. General information about the cemetery and funeral sectors in BC (for consumers and business) is available on our website.