N.S. to Tighten Rules on Handling of Remains after Mix-Up of Women's Bodies

By Tutton, Michael | The Canadian Press, March 9, 2018 | Go to article overview

N.S. to Tighten Rules on Handling of Remains after Mix-Up of Women's Bodies


Tutton, Michael, The Canadian Press


Funeral director's licence revoked after mix-up

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HALIFAX - Rules on the handling of corpses will be tightened in Nova Scotia following a bizarre mix-up at a funeral home that resulted in an accidental cremation.

The Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors determined Thursday that the funeral director was responsible for the snafu and revoked his licence.

The board said David Farmer didn't check the identities of two women laid out in the same vehicle outside an Annapolis Valley crematorium.

As a result, 65-year-old Sandra Bennett was cremated, while 96-year-old Myrtle Wilson was embalmed and presented as Bennett at a family visitation on Dec. 27.

The report found the owner of the Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick, N.S., Anthony Facey, was not at fault because he had adequate identification procedures in place.

However, the report calls for legislative changes "to ensure that there is a system in place" at all of the province's funeral homes.

The report asks the province to require all funeral home staff to identify a body before its transported, calls for fines that align with other jurisdictions, and recommends more open hearings for professional misconduct.

Geoff MacLellan, the provincial minister responsible for Service Nova Scotia, said Friday he hopes to bring in legislative changes during this session.

"We're going to get working immediately on the legislative piece and any other regulatory aspects so we've fully implemented what they (the board) have asked us to do," he told reporters. …

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