Nova Scotia

Sydney funeral home has licence suspended after suspicious fire

The provincial government has suspended the licence of a funeral home in Sydney, N.S. The suspension follows a suspicious fire at Chant's Funeral Home last weekend.

Province says Chant's cannot operate until repairs are complete

Fire was reported in a section of Chant's Funeral Home on Alexander Street in Sydney on Feb. 2. (Submitted)

The provincial government has suspended the licence of a funeral home in Sydney, N.S., pending completion of repairs.

The suspension follows a suspicious fire at Chant's Funeral Home last weekend.

Service Nova Scotia said the funeral home no longer meets the minimum requirements for a funeral home licence.

One of those requirements is having a physical premises, said Rodger Gregg, the registrar of cemetery and funeral services in Nova Scotia.

"You need a place where you can comfortably meet with families, to provide services and to receive human remains,"  said Gregg.

The department also said the business is not permitted to offer or provide merchandise or services during the suspension.

It remains in effect until repairs are completed.

Gregg said the damage is believed to be "extensive" and there's no indication when the home might reopen.

People with funeral contracts with Chant's are being told to contact Service Nova Scotia.

Gregg said Chant's was permitted to carry out a couple of services that were already scheduled before the fire. They were held at other locations.

But he said other customers are being directed elsewhere.

"So even if you had a pre-arrangement already with Chant's, at this point, you would have to transfer that to another funeral home," said Gregg.

The province said it will inspect the building and the business before it is allowed to reopen.

This is not the first time Chant's has faced a suspension.

Last year, the province disallowed the home from selling prearranged funerals in trust, citing careless behaviour, poor record-keeping, poor bookkeeping and lack of managerial oversight.

The government also stopped the business from selling prearranged funerals through insurance plans for six months.

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