Following an investigation into a funeral home incident in December, government will implement more stringent regulations and oversight.
The Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors held an inquiry on Feb. 13 to investigate funeral services provided by Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick.
The board’s decision was released today, March 9, revoking the licence of the funeral director responsible for professional misconduct.
Service Nova Scotia’s Registrar of Funeral Services has also suspended the funeral home’s ability to perform cremations for a 30-day period, beginning on April 1. The funeral home will continue to operate during the suspension. This will ensure those who have arranged funerals with Serenity do not face any unnecessary hardship.
“This was a tragic situation, one that no family should ever have to experience,” said Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan. “What transpired has highlighted the need for more stringent regulations. I have directed work begin immediately, to ensure this never happens again.”
The board’s decision included recommendations for Service Nova Scotia working with the board, which have been fully accepted:
— make legislative amendments requiring all funeral homes and crematoriums to label human remains as soon as they are taken into custody
— increase fine amounts under the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act so they align with other jurisdictions
— review current board bylaws and legislation to consider how consumer complaints and the disciplinary process could be made more transparent
— make legislative amendments around the care and handling of human remains while they are being transported.
“These recommendations give us the opportunity to improve the province’s funeral industry, including processes, and to increase protection to consumers,” said Mr. MacLellan. “Every step is being taken to help ensure no family experiences such a devastating situation again.”