Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about Cremation.
What is cremation ?
Cremation is a step in the preparation of the deceased for memorialization. Only one cremation takes place at a time. Caskets or containers used for the cremation must be made of wood or other combustible material. The enclosed body is placed in the cremation chamber where through heat and evaporation the body is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as cremated remains. Cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes. They are, in fact, bone fragments. These fragments are then mechanically pulverized into minute particles and placed in a permanent urn or in a temporary container that is suitable for transport.
Is a casket necessary for cremation ?
The body must be enclosed in an acceptable rigid container. This container, or casket, must be strong enough to assure the health and safety of those who must come in contact with it. The casket should meet minimum requirements for proper respect and consideration, and should be composed of a suitable material which is environmentally safe.
Is it possible to place personal items in the casket with the deceased?
The following items are not allowed to be placed with the deceased for cremation to prevent the risk of explosions and the release of carcinogens or fumes:
Items that are volatile
Alcohol, Oxygen tanks, ammunition or explosive materials like batteries or lighters
Items that contain polystyrene foams or PVC (in all forms)
Footwear made from PVC/rubber, soft toys, stuffed toys or mattresses
Items that contain fibreglass
Crash helmets and hard hats, surfboards or skateboards, prosthetic limbs
Items made of plastic or glass
Mobile phones, laptop computers, wetsuits, toys, mirrors, picture frames
Pacemakers or radioactive implants
Hazardous or non-flammable materials
Die cast metals, garden spades, forks, tools, military medals, medallions
Please make sure that any of these items are not included, or are removed by the Funeral Director before delivery of the deceased to the crematorium. The applicant will accept all liability for any damages or injury in the event these items are not removed.
Personal items are permitted if they pose no health and/or safety risk during cremation and are composed of materials that are environmentally safe.
Personal items are not recoverable after the cremation. In many instances, families choose to place jewelry or other small items in the urn with cremated remains after the cremation is complete.
Is embalming necessary?
Generally, if there is no viewing (closed casket) embalming is not necessary.
However, embalming is necessary for viewing if an open casket is part of the funeral service. Also the factors of time, repatriating the deceased in the case of death occurring out of country, health, and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary.
Are there any regulations on what cremated remains need to be placed in if they are going to be buried?
There are no regulations. When no urn is purchased, the cremated remains are placed in a temporary container at the crematorium that is acceptable for burial.
Are cremated remains allowed to be buried in an existing grave space?
Cremated remains may be interred in a family plot where a burial has previously taken place. Permission must be obtained from the current Interment Rights Holder and any type of memorialization is limited by the markers already on the plot.
The number of cremations allowed in an adult grave is regulated by our cemetery by-laws, as well as the sizes and types of markers, so consideration should be given to memorialization as well.
What authorization is required for cremation?
An application for cremation must be completed and signed by the executor or next-of-kin. A burial permit and a coroner’s certificate are also required prior to cremation.
Is a Funeral Director Necessary?
Pursuant to the laws of Ontario, a Funeral Director or Transfer Service Operator is not legally necessary, however an immediate family member would then have to obtain the necessary permits, place the deceased in a suitable container for cremation and transport the deceased to the crematorium. We recommend the use of a funeral director because most of us have never planned a funeral before and have no idea what is legally required. Therefore we need the help of these licensed professionals who are experienced in all the necessary procedures and paperwork. Also not all containers are suitable for cremation due to the content of the woods and glues. A funeral director knows what is acceptable and will eliminate the stress of being turned away from the crematorium.
What is the difference between a Transfer Service Operator and a Funeral Director?
A Transfer Service Operator is licensed only to remove the deceased from the place of death to the crematorium (or place of final disposition) and obtain the required legal documents. The funeral would need to be arranged and conducted by the family without the guidance of a funeral director. This is referred to as Direct Disposition.
Funerals are usually arranged and conducted by licensed and trained funeral directors who coordinate all the technical arrangements of a funeral and provide guidance that includes applying for all the death benefits to which you are entitled. Although a funeral director can provide direct disposition, he is also licensed to prepare the body for viewing (if desired) and for arranging the final disposition, providing facilities for the visitation and funeral service, and transporting the deceased and the mourners to the place of final disposition.
How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?
It isn’t. At least it doesn’t have to be different. The extent and the content of a cremation service is entirely subject to the wishes of the family. They may choose as much formality or as little as they wish. The family is given more options when cremation is chosen. Quite often a memorial service is held after cremation has occurred hor perhaps the family will want to gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the cremated remains. The options are yours.
Isn't cremation an end in itself?
Cremation is not a disposition. It is a method of preparing the remains for memorialization. Most families feel that the cremated remains of someone they love should be given a special place that can be identified with their name and dates. This is memorialization. Families find great comfort and peace of mind in knowing that they have arranged a perpetual tribute, regardless of its size, because it serves a basic human need to remember and be remembered.
What choices of memorialization are available?
This depends of the wishes of the families. Urns can be placed in a columbarium, which is a building or structure where single niche space or family units may be selected. Niches are recessed compartments enclosed by ornamental fronts upon which the name and dates are featured. Of course, family lots may be used and cemeteries often permit the interment of more than one person in an adult space if cremation has occurred. Lakefield Cemetery has in-ground cremation lots that may be used for 1,2, 4, or 6 interments of cremated remains.
Some families wish to keep the cremated remains with them for a while before disposition. There are limited edition works of art that can hold the remains. These can be placed in a place of honor in the home until it is time to place the urn in a more permanent location in a columbarium.
What about scattering cremated remains?
Individuals and families may scatter cremated remains in Ontario on private land or private land covered by water providing you have the consent of the owner of the property. However, keep in mind that a favorite place today may change ownership and development may take place. A dedicated place within a cemetery assures the site chosen will not be developed for other use at some future time. A Scattering Garden is available in the Lakefield Cemetery where a bronze name plaque may be placed.
For information on scattering cremated remains on Crown land, refer to the Province of Ontario consumer guide Scattering Cremated Ashes in Ontario. Please keep in mind that some municipalities have by-laws in place that prohibit the scattering of cremated remains on public areas within their jurisdiction.
How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?
The basic charge for cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial. However, with so many items of service available to the family both in the funeral service before and in the mode of disposition after, it’s not possible to make an accurate comparison. Again, the family has the option to select as much or as little as they wish and with cremation they have more options for disposition.
Are more people choosing cremation today?
Yes. In recent years the percentage of cremations to deaths has been increasing steadily in both the United States and Canada. Cremation is accepted by followers of most religious faiths today.
Is it advisable to arrange for cremations in advance?
Yes. The subject should certainly be resolved among family members since that determination will have to be made at the time of death. The family should visit the cemetery to learn what is offered in the way of services and memorial property. The family should consult together ahead of time to decide what is best for all. Arrangements for memorialization also should be made at this time. This way one of life’s most difficult decisions need not be made alone at a time of grief and confusion.
If you want to be cremated…..
If you want to be cremated, there are certain steps you should take in advance:
1. Make your wishes known. Advise your family members. Your will is usually not read until after the funeral so don’t leave important funeral related information only in your will.
2. Consult with an experienced professional about arrangements than can be made in advance.
3. Select the final disposition: columbarium, urn garden, family plot or scattering garden.