[39] Bill 149 Original (PDF)

Bill 149 2009

An Act to protect Ontario's inactive cemeteries


Ontario's cemeteries are unique repositories of human history and the resting places of human remains and associated artifacts like grave markers, tombstones and monuments. They are important elements of our collective heritage, a priceless authentic historical record of the past and witnesses to the continuity of life in Ontario. Many of Ontario's cemeteries also contain significant ecological features invaluable to the natural heritage of Ontario.

The following principles are basic to all the peoples of Ontario:

    1.  The sanctity of the deceased is of paramount concern.

    2.  The deceased have a right to rest in peace in the tradition and custom of their religion or beliefs at the burial site of their choosing.

    3.  Common human dignity must be respected.

    4.  The living must be responsible for the care of the deceased.

    5.  The cultural heritage to which burial sites bear witness must be maintained to ensure the historical record for future generations.

Ontario's rich heritage is at risk due to a lack of action for its preservation. Failure to safeguard one of our last remaining authentic cultural heritage resources, Ontario's inactive cemeteries, would be disastrous for the continuity of the historical record and our collective culture in this province. It is in the public interest that they be protected, preserved and maintained in their original locations.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:


   1.  In this Act,

"aboriginal peoples" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada; ("autochtone")

"cemetery" means land set aside for the burial of human remains and includes a mausoleum, columbarium or other structure intended for the interment of human remains, with or without government authorization or recognition; ("cimetière")

"human remains" means a dead human body or the remains of a cremated human body; ("restes humains")

"inactive cemetery" means a cemetery that,

  (a)  is no longer used for the burial of human remains or no longer accepts human remains for burial,

  (b)  continues to be used for the burial of human remains but the number of burials per year is less than five,

   (c)  consists of land set aside for the burial of human remains of members of a family or interrelated families,

  (d)  is an unapproved aboriginal peoples cemetery, or

  (e)  is or was a cemetery although it does not have markers indicating that fact. ("cimetière inactif")

Prohibition on relocation

   2.  No person shall relocate an inactive cemetery.


   3.  This Act prevails over any other Act or regulation that permits the relocation of an inactive cemetery or provides a process by which an inactive cemetery may be relocated.


   4.  This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

   5.  The short title of this Act is the Inactive Cemeteries Protection Act, 2009.




The Bill prohibits the relocation of inactive cemeteries despite anything to the contrary in another Act or regulation dealing with cemeteries.