Cemeteries & crematoriums
Thinking about the final resting place for yourself or a loved one? Making end-of-life decisions can be difficult, so it’s important to know that there are certain laws in BC that address cemetery and funeral services. This includes who needs to be licensed with us (funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, as well as individual funeral directors and embalmers).
Looking for a private transfer permit?
Read the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act.
Read the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation.
Definitions and terms
Place of Interment: a cemetery, mausoleum or columbarium.
Lot: a place of interment to be used for human or cremated remains (this Includes a grave, crypt, niche or plot).
Columbarium: a structure or building that contains niches for the inurnment of cremated remains.
Crematorium: a building or a part of a building used for the purpose of cremating human remains.
Mausoleum: a structure or building that contains interior or exterior crypts designed for the entombment of human remains. It may also include niches for the inurnment of cremated remains.
Interment: the burial of human or cremated remains, entombment of human remains, or inurnment of cremated remains.
Disinterment: the removal of human remains and the container in which the human remains are interred, the purpose of permanent relocation.
Memorial: a tombstone, monument, plaque or another marker on a grave or plot, or an inscription or ornamentation on a crypt or niche front used to memorialize a deceased person.
Can a cemetery or a crematorium make their own rules?
Each cemetery and crematorium should have its own set of bylaws. The cemetery must make bylaws in respect to things like the operation and management of the place of interment if it allows multiple interments in one lot, and even the size, class, kind and composition of memorials permitted on site. A crematorium must also make bylaws about its operation and management, and specify if it allows multiple cremations at the same time.
The right of interment
When you purchase a right of interment, you are not actually buying land in a cemetery, you are buying the right to be buried there. This right is sold to you in perpetuity and that means it’s yours forever! This also means that you cannot cancel this purchase. You may be able to transfer your right or sell it back to the supplier. Make sure you ask about the cemetery’s bylaws before purchasing a right of interment. The bylaws will outline restrictions on things like the type of memorial you can use, or if a plot can have more than one interment.
Can I supply my own casket?
Yes, you have the right to supply your own casket for burial or cremation, however; it must meet certain requirements. Generally, containers must be rigid, leak-proof, and also have the ability to close completely.
Can I supply my own urn or grave marker?
Yes, you have the right to supply your own urn or grave marker, but there may be restrictions under the cemetery’s bylaws. It is important to make sure you understand any restrictions before purchasing these items. If you purchase a memorial elsewhere, a cemetery may refuse someone other than their own staff to install the piece, but only if they can offer the service of installation at a cheaper price.
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