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 year, 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.

Did you like this blog post? You might like these too!

Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?
Grandpa’s wishes: scattering ashes
Green burials
Are you allowed to mail cremated remains?

About Consumer Protection BC

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific consumer transactions in British Columbia. We will use the tools at our disposal to assist you if your concern is captured under the laws we enforce. If we can’t help you directly, we will try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.