Letter From the Minister - April 3, 2019

By: Chris Benesch
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

So here is the latest from the Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth.  This is an excerpt from the letter he wrote in reply to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that we received today.  As you can see the Minister continues to reference the many layers of bureaucracy from worker safety to local government, all of which are currently addressed in existing legislation.  With respect to the review being done in Ontario, one must understand that the lobby in that Province against AH involves very large conglomerates that have a great deal of money invested in carbon generating flame cremation systems… Our Province could save a lot of time and money by using the research that has been done already by the 16 US States and 2 other Canadian Provinces that already allow for this form of disposition.  


I am responding to your February 14, 2019 letter, regarding Mr. Chris Benesch’s wish to offer green cremation or alkaline hydrolysis in British Columbia.


The Province supports the development and use of technology that reduces our environmental footprint.  Alkaline hydrolysis is a form of cremation that is not currently authorized in the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act.  Ministry staff have had several discussions and meetings with Mr. Benesch and other representatives of the funeral services industry to consider how alkaline hydrolysis can be permitted in the province.

A change to authorize alkaline hydrolysis has implications beyond amending the definition of cremation in BC’s legislation. The issues include environmental, local government zoning, worker safety, operator training, respectful handling of human remains, health and consumer protection considerations.  A legislative and regulatory framework for a new form of cremation will need to be carefully considered and established within the current Act.  The ministry is prepared to undertake the required policy work for a new framework, but this work is being prioritized in relation to other requests the funeral services industry has identified for government and other consumer protection priorities in general.

In the meantime, ministry staff are monitoring the experience of other jurisdictions that have implemented this form of cremation.  I understandOntario, which is one of the provinces that permit alkaline hydrolysis, is conducting a comprehensive study and assessment of this form of cremation.  We will be following the outcome of Ontario’s review.

Thank you for writing on behalf of your member.


Mike Farnworth
Minister of Public Safety
and Solicitor General


The Honourable George Heyman

Mr. Andrew Weaver, MLA

Ms. Mitzi Dean, MLA



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