-A A +A

Cremations & Services Offered

Innisfil Funeral Home | 7910 Yonge  Street | Innisfil, Ontario | L9S 1L5 | 705-431-1717
Innisfil Funeral Home offers a full selection of cremation related services and products. This section was created to explain the process of cremation and to further clarify available options. Although the basic concept of cremation is understood, the related options are not always as clear. Cremation has many misconceptions that we hope will be clarified in this section.

Cremations in Ontario
Until July 1st, 2012, legislation stipulated that a funeral home owner could not own a cemetery and/or crematorium. When legislation changed in 2012, this restriction was lifted allowing the possibility of joint ownership. Since crematoriums in Ontario have always been located on cemetery zoned land, there is currently no funeral home in Simcoe County that completes cremations on-site.  
 
Our crematorium of choice is Riverside Cemetery and Cremation Centre. More information can be found on their website at www.parklawnlp.ca/riverside-cemetery-cremation-centre-2/
 

Cremation - Understanding Your Options

Cremation often carries the misconception that viewing and embalming are not possible. In fact, many families choose to have open casket visitation with the cremation following the service. Cremation offers families additional types of services not often associated with burial.

Facts About Cremation

Cremation is a dignified alternative to burial, or an added step prior to the burial taking place. The process of cremation has been around for many years but is still often accompanied by misunderstandings. We have designed this section to assist families and to ensure that the concept of cremation is truly understood. Here are some important points to consider:

  1. An open casket visitation CAN take place prior to cremation just as with burial.
     
  2. Embalming IS an option even with cremation.
     
  3. All bodies must be placed in a casket even in situations where the casket will not be present at a visitation or service. For this reason, funeral homes offer simplified caskets that may not be considered suitable for public display but are designed to meet health and safety requirements of the crematorium. Prior to a legislation change in 2012, these were often referred to as “cremation containers”. Provincial law now requires that all of these containers be called “caskets” regardless of how simple or ornate that they may be. The reasoning behind this change was related to the fact that some families would confuse the term “cremation container” with the term “urn” which is the container that the cremated remains are placed in after the cremation is complete.
     
  4. When a casket is purchased for cremation, the casket is cremated with the body and only the casket handles are removed. If a family wishes to have cremation follow the visitation and/or service but do not feel comfortable cremating the ornamental casket, we have a rental casket option available. Our rental casket system consists of a specially designed casket that houses a simplified cremation casket that would not otherwise be suitable for viewing. The exterior looks like a regular casket but has an insert that is removed and cremated with the body. A new insert is placed in the shell after each use. The pillow and cloth interior are included with the insert and are replaced after each use. The casket that is available to be rented is clearly identified to families. In addition, a Rental Casket Agreement is signed by the family to ensure they fully understand the concept of a "rental casket. The rental casket option is not available for burial.
     
  5. Cremation can be less expensive than burial however, this is not always accurate. Some families who select cremation will choose not to have visitation or a service. In this situation, cremation would be less than a traditional burial. Cremation however, can be more costly than burial depending on the type of service and casket selected. Costs of cremation will also be influenced by how the family deals with the cremated remains after the fact. There are many variables to this and one of our funeral directors would be glad to explain further.
     
  6. Environmental concerns can often influence a family to select cremation rather than burial.
    a. Polution: There are rising concerns that the cremation process may be releasing high levels of pollutants into the environment. Although we have not seen any conclusive reports, the concern stems mostly from the types of containers that are cremated. Pressboard, particle board or MDF constructed containers/caskets may contain resins that can be harmful to the environment when burned. A common thought that is associated with cremation is to choose a more entry level casket. However, these caskets are often less money because they contain wood alternatives (such as pressboard). Fortunately, we offer products that are less harmful to the environment when cremated. There have been discussions of monitoring the emissions generated by crematoriums. Current environmental laws in Ontario require crematoriums to add devices to reduce pollutants released to the environment. It is a subject that we do not yet have any concrete answers for but will be of great interest over the years to come.

    b. Cemetery Space: A second reason for some families selecting cremation may be related to the thought that we are running out of cemetery land. Related to the increased popularity of cremation, many cemeteries are seeing their life expectancy increase as fewer families are buying full size grave lots. Many cemeteries allow more than one container of cremated remains to be buried in existing family plot. These plots may not have enough space for casket burials but are now able to accommodate ashes.

    Some cemeteries offer urn plots which are much smaller plots that allow two cremation burials. These plots may only be 2 feet by 2 feet rather than a full size grave.

    Niche walls are also becoming very common in cemeteries. These are the small buildings that have multiple compartments which allow for many urns. This allows the cemetery to house many containers of cremated remains within a much smaller footprint therefore freeing up land.

    These are just a few points to ponder. We are always available to discuss these or any other matters with you.

     

Cremation Related Service Options

What Happens to Cremated Remains

After the cremation has taken place, the cremated remains need to be dealt with in a manner that is not only appropriate for the surviving family but should also be done in accordance with provincial law.

Scattering Cremated Remains

We are frequently asked if ashes can be scattered. There are families who decide to scatter cremated remains but are unsure of the appropriateness or legalities. Legislation in Ontario makes it legal to scatter cremated remains. There are acceptable places that this can be done including cemeteries with scattering gardens, private property where permission has been granted, unoccupied Crown land and Crown land covered by water.

If you are considering scattering, remember one important thing; when you scatter ashes, you are in essence closing a chapter on someone’s life forever. Unlike burial at a cemetery, there will be no record to indicate the final resting place of the ashes, no monument that stands throughout time to mark the site of burial and no archived record of what has transpired. Over the years we have seen a strong interest in genealogical research. Many people have successfully traced family roots with the assistance of cemetery records. When ashes are scattered, related records are generally vague, or in some cases, there is no record at all. Another thought is to highlight the plans for the cremated remains in a newspaper notice thus creating a permanent record. Newspaper archives are extremely helpful for genealogical purposes.

Scattering on Land

Private Property: Places like the family cottage can be a tranquil resting place for ashes. it is important to keep in mind that the location that you scatter the ashes becomes a spot that will be remembered for years to come; sort of like a private cemetery. Do you want a "cemetery" in an area that you frequently relate to recreational fun or that place that you retreat to for peacefulness and solitude? Before scattering on your property consider the fact that this land may not always belong to your family. As unlikely as it may seem at the time, property ownership could change. Also keep in mind that what might be considered a tranquil location today may one day become a commercial or residential development. Scattering of cremated remains on private property in Ontario is legal providing the land owner has granted permission.

Cemetery: Some cemeteries offer “scattering grounds” which is an alternative to scattering on private land. Picture a beautifully manicured tranquil garden that has been placed on cemetery property. This area is maintained by the cemetery and designated as an appropriate spot where the ashes can be spread with the knowledge that it is being done in compliance with provincial law. Most importantly, since it is done on cemetery property, a permanent record is created. Many people have used cemetery records as an important resource for family tree research. Scattering outside of a cemetery often means that no public record exists once the cremated remains leave the funeral home.

Public Land: Places such as parks, is not suggested as an ideal location but is still selected by some families. This requires extra consideration and discretion; the last thing you would want to do is offend someone who might just happen to walk by during your "ceremony". If you are considering scattering on public property, this may not be legal and you may want to make some inquiries before proceeding. At present time, the government in Ontario is interpreting the legislation that it is only legal to scatter ashes on unoccupied crown owned land, on crown owned land that is covered in water or, at a licenced cemetery where a scattering ground section is provided.
 

Scatter Over Water

Water is a popular destination, however this should be carefully thought out. Scattering from the shore or a boat can become a problem if the wake is too strong. Parts of the cremated remains may float in the direction of the current. Avoid containers that will float or remain intact for years to come. Consider that a swimmer or diver could locate ashes protected by a container. Urns are available from our funeral home that are made of materials that are designed to float for a short duration before settling to the bottom and naturally breaking down to the elements. For information on these products, please feel free to contact our office.  At present time, the government in Ontario is interpreting the legislation that it is only legal to scatter ashes on unoccupied crown owned land, on crown owned land that is covered in water or, at a licenced cemetery where a scattering ground section is provided.

Scattering at International Destinations

Other Countries: For families wishing to take scatter ashes at an international destination, it is extremely important to ensure that you research the requirements well in advance of the trip. Regulations vary with each country with some being very strict. For example, we have seen countries stipulate that the ashes must be sealed in a metal urn and this metal urn must be housed in a wood container. In addition, you may have to visit the consulate to obtain a permit in advance of your departure and there may be a fee. Sometimes, you must have a certified letter from the cemetery in the destination cemetery confirming specifically where and when the ashes will be buried. Some countries prohibit the scattering of ashes thus the requirement of a cemetery document. It is not uncommon to require both a Death Certificate (Funeral Director’s Proof of Death) and a Declaration of Content. The Declaration of Content is an additional document issued by the funeral home that confirms the content of the urn. By not declaring that you are importing cremated remains, you may risk refusal of entry or potential seizure of the cremated remains. Also keep in mind that if you are caught attempting to circumvent laws in other countries it may be treated far more seriously than Canada.

Airline Regulations: Each airline company will have their own policies for travelling with cremated remains. Most airlines allow the ashes to be transported as carry-on or they can be checked in with your luggage. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is responsible for screening procedures at Canadian airports and they have specific details about cremated remains. For details specific to travelling with cremated remains, please visit their site. Specifically stated is that all containers containing cremated remains must be able to be x-rayed for content. If the urn provided cannot be x-rayed, transportation by air is not permitted. Related to the previous section Other Countries, this can present an issue as CATSA recommends that ashes be transported in containers made of plastic, cardboard or cloth. They specifically mention that metal, stone and ceramic may be an issue with x-ray and should be avoided. As you can see, in the previous section, some countries may specify the urn be constructed of a material that may not meet CATSA policies. Research well before leaving and have a back-up plan at the airport just should the cremated remains be refused for travel. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you travel with cremated remains in your carry on luggage but it is determined that the contents cannot be x-rayed, the urn will NOT be eligible to travel with checked luggage and will be refused for travel.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries are adapting to the increase in cremation and offer families several options. Availability of the options mention below will vary from cemetery to cemetery. Even some smaller cemeteries are offering options like niche walls and urn plots. Consult the individual cemetery related to the options that they have available and the associated costs.

Niche Walls/Columbarium Niches

Many cemeteries are now offering niche walls (or columbarium niches) which are the structures that have either glass or stone fronts. Most niche walls in this area are exterior walls. Some cemeteries have niche walls which are located inside of a building. The family purchases the rights to use one compartment which is normally capable of holding the cremated remains of 2 people.

Full Size Graves

Ashes can also be buried in full size burial plots. Depending on the cemetery, they may allow as many as 2 to 6 containers of cremated remains in one single grave. People that own family plots that do not have room for full casket burials may still be allowed by the cemetery to bury ashes on top of existing burials. Each cemetery will vary on policy and they should be contacted for their rules and regulations. Cemeteries are required to have by-laws that specify policies and procedures. Permission will also be required by the legal owner of the plot before proceeding. If you are considering the burial of cremated remains in an existing plot, advance planning is suggested to ensure that the legal ownership of the plot is in order and that appropriate permission is on file. Plots that have not had interment rights properly transferred to surviving family members may be ineligible for additional burials. It is more common now for cemeteries to request Sworn Affidavits from all surviving family members who may have an inherent interest.

Cremation Graves/Lots

Some cemeteries have cremation plots available. The size of the plot is much smaller than a full size grave but normally have room for the burial of 2 urns. Related to the size of these plots, the size and style of monument may be stipulated within the cemetery by-laws.

Cremated Remains Placed in a Casket

On occasion, families have inquired about having the cremated remains of one person placed into a casket with someone else.
Example: The husband died and was cremated according to his wishes. The ashes were kept at home by the family until the death of his wife. Her wishes were to be buried in a casket and not cremated. The family has requested that the ashes be placed in the casket so that they could be buried together.
This request can normally be accommodated providing the cemetery gives approval. We will always notify the cemetery of such a request. We respect the cemetery's rules and regulations and the importance that these arrangements be properly documented by the cemetery for historical reasons. The charge for this, if any, will be determined by the cemetery.
 

Scattering Gardens

Some cemeteries offer “scattering grounds” which is an alternative to scattering on private land. Picture a beautifully manicured tranquil garden that has been placed on cemetery property. This area is maintained by the cemetery and designated as an appropriate spot where the ashes can be spread with the knowledge that it is being done in compliance with provincial law. Most importantly, since it is done on cemetery property, a permanent record is created. Many people have used cemetery records as an important resource for family tree research. Scattering outside of a cemetery often means that no public record exists once the cremated remains leave the funeral home.

Common Ground Burial

For families that want a dignified, but less expensive method of dealing with the remains, some cemeteries offer "common ground burial". For a nominal fee, the cemetery accepts the ashes and buries or stores them in a section that is unmarked. Although the family would not know where they are located and are unable to place a monument, they can find comfort in knowing that the remains have been taken care of in a dignified manner. There will also be a permanent record created for future reference, often used for genealogy research. If the family changes their mind in the future, it may be possible to have the ashes retrieved for an additional fee depending on the cemetery’s policy. If you are considering common ground burial and feel that you may want the ashes back at a later date, check with the cemetery as to their retrieval policy.

International Destinations

Other Countries: For families wishing to take ashes to an international destination, it is extremely important to ensure that you research the requirements well in advance of the trip. Regulations vary with each country with some being very strict. For example, we have seen countries stipulate that the ashes must be sealed in a metal urn and this metal urn must be housed in a wood container. In addition, you may have to visit the consulate to obtain a permit prior to your departure and there may be a fee. Sometimes, you must have a certified letter from the cemetery in the destination cemetery confirming specifically where and when the ashes will be buried. It is not uncommon to require both a Death Certificate (or Funeral Director’s Proof of Death) and a Declaration of Content. The Declaration of Content is an additional document issued by the funeral home that confirms the content of the urn. By not declaring that you are importing cremated remains, you may risk refusal of entry or potential seizure of the cremated remains.

Airline Regulations: Each airline company will have their own policies for travelling with cremated remains. Most airlines allow the ashes to be transported as carry-on or they can be checked in with your luggage. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is responsible for screening procedures at Canadian airports and they have specific details about cremated remains. For details specific to travelling with cremated remains, please visit their site. Specifically stated is that all containers containing cremated remains must be able to be x-rayed for content. If the urn provided cannot be x-rayed, transportation by air is not permitted. Related to the previous section Other Countries, this can present an issue as CATSA recommends that ashes be transported in containers made of plastic, cardboard or cloth. They specifically mention that metal, stone and ceramic may be an issue with x-ray and should be avoided. As you can see, in the previous section, some countries may specify the urn be constructed of a material that may not meet CATSA policies. Research well before leaving and have a back-up plan at the airport just should the cremated remains be refused for travel. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you travel with cremated remains in your carry on luggage but it is determined that the contents cannot be x-rayed, the urn will NOT be eligible to travel with checked luggage and will be refused for travel.

The Process of Cremation Explained

Although the modern-day equipment used for cremation is quite technical, simply put, cremation is the process of reducing the body to ashes by means of fire. The body is placed in a cremation retort; the mechanical device where the cremation takes place. The interior of the retort is constructed of flame resistant brick and is heated to temperatures around 2000 degrees F. The intense heat and flame reduces the body to ashes leaving mostly calcium (bone matter). Any metal particles remaining are later filtered out using magnets. The last step is to process the ashes into smaller particles allowing the ashes to be more easily handled when transferring into urns, scattering etc.

Concern & Questions About Cremation

How Do We Know That We Have Received The Correct Ashes?

It is not uncommon for people to ask if the ashes received back from the crematorium are really their loved one. There are several steps in place to ensure that there is never an issue. We attach a sticker to the exterior of all caskets or cremation containers prior to leaving our facilities. This sticker includes the name of the person and our information. Riverside Cemetery & Cremation Centre also follows strict procedures to ensure that there is never a need for concern. Upon arriving at the crematorium, the funeral home must deliver the required paperwork to the administrative office before removing the casket or cremation container from the vehicle. The paperwork is promptly assigned a unique number which will follow the body throughout the entire process. A metal tag stamped with the assigned number is placed in the cremation retort with the body. This unique tag is designed to withstand the cremation process. Should there ever be an issue where the ashes were to become separated from the paperwork, the correct identity can be found by locating the metal tag in the cremated remains and referencing it with the paperwork. After each cremation, a Certificate of Cremation is provided confirming the identity of the cremated remains. This is provided to the recipient of the cremated remains, whether it be the family or a cemetery. This certificate provided also includes the unique identifying number. By locating the tag that is inside with the ashes, families can verify on their own that everything matches.

Can Jewellery Be Cremated

Jewellery can be cremated with a person if requested by the family. Since metal is destroyed, we recommend that jewellery be removed prior to cremation. Any of these items can be returned to the ashes after the process is complete. This also gives families a chance to reconsider their decision to ensure that they have made the correct choice.

Can Ashes Be Scattered

Please see our section titled 'Understanding your options' above for “What Happens to the Cremated Remains?”