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Can You Scatter a Deceased’s Cremated Remains On A Golf Course?

I was recently asked this question.

The answer is less straightforward than at first blush.

The answer depends on who is disposing of the ashes and in what circumstances.

The new legislation, the Funeral, Burial and Cremations Services Act, 2002, (the “FBCSA”) which comes fully into effect on July 1, 2012, has various provisions governing scattering. This act governs the disposal of remains by licensed cemeteries and therefore if any executor or next-of-kin, internment rights holder, or scattering rights holder were to seek the services governed by this Act, the scattering provisions would apply as set out within the Act.

Click here to link to the Act

  • The FBCSA defines “scattering grounds” as: land within a cemetery that is set aside to be used for the scattering for cremated human remains.
  • The FBCSA defines “scattering rights” as: the right to require or direct the scattering of cremated human remains on the scattering grounds of a cemetery.
  • The FBCSA defines “scatting rights holder” as: the person who holds the scattering rights with respect to a scattering ground whether the person be the purchaser of the rights, the person named in the certificate of scattering or such other person to whom the interment rights have been assigned.
    The FBCSA further at section 4 states: “no person shall scatter cremated human remains at a place other than a scattering ground operated by a person licensed under subsection 1(1), unless the person is permitted by regulation to scatter cremated human remains in such circumstances, at such a place or in such a manner as may be prescribed.”
    The FBCSA at section 5 in respect of land for scattering states: “no person shall maintain or set aside land to be used for the purpose of scattering cremated human remains unless the person is licensed as a cemetery operator and the land is within a cemetery.”

There are other provisions in respect of scattering in the FBCSA relevant to the disposal of cremated ashes which should be reviewed. Under the FBCSA scattering on a golf course would not be permitted unless falling within the various definitions defining land, cemetery land, and so on.

The answer to the question however is quite different if the disposal of remains is not being conducted in a manner in which the legislation would apply. In other words, if not using the services of an organization licensed to dispose of remains, the scattering of cremated ashes in Ontario appears to be governed by practice alone. The website of the Ministry governing the disposition of ashes which is the Ministry of Consumer Services provides guidance on its website, answers this question in the following manner:


It states: “The practice of scattering cremated ashes is an integral part of religious burial ceremonies for several faith communities in Ontario. Any individuals or families who wish to scatter the cremated ashes of their loved ones on Crown land and Crown land covered by water in Ontario can do so.

Individuals and families are permitted to scatter cremated ashes on unoccupied Crown land, and those Crown lands covered by water. There is no need to obtain government consent to scatter cremated ashes on or in such areas, which include provincial parks and conservation reserves, and the Great Lakes. Individuals wishing to scatter cremated ashes on private land, or private land covered by water, must obtain the owner’s consent.

In all cases of scattering cremated ashes, it is expected that ceremonies will be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. Individuals and family members who scatter cremated ashes should ensure that only a handful of leaves and flowers – if they are a necessary component of the religious burial ceremony – accompany the scattering of these ashes.”

So it would appear that the scattering of cremated ashes on at a golf course on privately owned land would be permitted if the owner’s consent was obtained. If the golf course is Crown land, then ashes may somewhat surprisingly be scattered without any specified permission according to the website.


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