Scattering of ashes targeted in Quebec bill modernizing funeral services
Bill 66 would make funeral directors discuss a family's plans for the remains of a loved one
- This bill was passed on Feb. 17, 2016.
The Quebec government is considering a bill that would regulate where a deceased person's ashes can be scattered.
If it becomes law, Bill 66 would force funeral home workers to discuss with grieving families their plans for the remains of a loved one. It would also limit certain places where remains can be scattered.
The point of the bill, a representative for funeral home directors says, is to ensure respect and dignity towards the dead.
"There needs a discussion with the family to make them reflect on what they want to do with the ashes," said Denis Desrochers of Corporation des thanatologues du Québec.
"An absence of legislation permits anything."
The current law governing funeral operations dates back to the 70s. Back then, funeral rites were quite different from today.
"Everyone went to funeral centres, then they went to church, then they went to the cemetery," Desrochers said.
Fast-forward to today and more than 70 per cent of Quebecers opt for cremation. And in some cases, families may not know what to do with the ashes.
"We see ashes being abandoned in all sorts of places," Desrochers said. Most recently, an urn was found in a supermarket in Repentigny, he said.
Desrochers and his fellow funeral directors think a law would avoid extreme cases like the one seen in Puerto Rico, where a man's body was embalmed and placed seated on a poker table with his friends.