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News Release - Manitoba

November 9, 2013

FAMILIES NOW HAVE CLEAR RIGHT TO SCATTER CREMATED REMAINS OF LOVED ONES ON PROVINCIAL LANDS, WATERWAYS


Manitoba Government Clarifies Policy to Ensure Families Can Fulfil Last Wishes, Follow Religious Customs: Premier

Families that wish to honour the last wishes of a loved one or follow cherished cultural or religious traditions now have the clear right to scatter the cremated remains of loved ones on Crown lands and waterways in Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger said today.

“Thanks to the work of my colleague, Mohinder Saran, the MLA for Maples, the Manitoba government has clarified the rules surrounding the scattering of cremated human remains,” the premier said.  “Families can rest assured they have the right to scatter cremated remains on lands and waterways owned by the province.”

In May of this year, Saran introduced a motion in the legislative assembly noting that cremated remains may be easily scattered on Crown lands and waterways in other provinces, but there was no clear policy for Manitoba families.  This is especially important for Manitoba’s growing immigrant communities and inspired the provincial government to clarify the policy, said the premier.

Under the policy, human remains that have been properly cremated may be scattered on unoccupied provincial government-owned Crown land or water, including provincial parks, without official government approval.  Care must be taken to ensure that cremated remains are not scattered near drinking water or recreational water activities, such as swimming areas.

“While it was never against the law, families were uncertain about their rights at a time when they were mourning the loss of loved one,” Saran said.  “Now they can be true to their cultural and spiritual heritage and honour their deceased family members without worrying whether they are breaking the law.” 

Manitobans are encouraged to consult a licensed funeral director about cremation options and the acceptable practices of handling human cremated remains.  Options include:

  • buying a compartment (niche) in a cemetery columbarium;
  • buying a cemetery plot for burial of the remains;
  • scattering the remains in a cemetery with the cemetery operator’s approval;
  • scattering the remains on private land with the landowner’s permission; and
  • scattering the remains on unoccupied, provincial government-owned Crown land or water (including provincial parks) with no need for government consent.

The new policy only applies to provincially owned lands and waterways.  Manitobans wishing to scatter ashes on municipal land or water should first consult their local governments.

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