Your riding can be found with your postal code here.
Let's clear the way for natural burial grounds!
Ontario has the highest cemetery fees in Canada. We are asking the next government to lower fees for natural burial grounds, so cost is not a barrier to a final goodbye in nature. This election, let’s generate some buzz about natural burial and find out where the candidates in your riding stand on the issue of our high fees.
Three things you can do to help:
EMAIL the candidates in your riding, asking if they will commit to lowering the fees for natural burial grounds. (Please share responses at email@example.com)
ATTEND virtual and live all-candidate meetings and ask where each candidate stands on this issue. (Please record responses and forward to firstname.lastname@example.org)
SPREAD THE WORD by sharing this with your friends, colleagues and neighbours and so they can help clear the way for natural burial grounds.
Thank you for volunteering.
In 2021 the government told us “interest in natural burial is anecdotal”. With your help, the next time we knock on the government’s door, they can no longer use this excuse.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or ideas. email@example.com
How to find your riding+
How to find your riding candidates' email addresses+
To find the email address of your local candidate, first visit the Liberal, NDP and Green party websites, then your candidate’s individual website, and you’ll find their email near the bottom of the page. The Ontario PC‘s don’t provide email addresses, but with a little fun and creativity it has to be out there!
Elevator pitch for all-candidates meetings+
We can’t assume the candidates know about natural burial or that Ontario has the highest cemetery fees in the country. The same goes for the public who’s attending the meeting. A couple sentences to set up the question will do the trick. Please record the response, whether over zoom or live, and forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be invaluable when we meet with the next government. Here’s an outline you can customize:
Set-up: It’s my wish that at death, my body is cared for naturally, and buried in a natural burial ground. These sites don’t resemble today’s modern cemeteries. Manicured lawns and rows of tombstones are replaced by untamed meadows and woodland.
Ontario has the highest cemetery fees in Canada. With each grave sale, we are charged a 40% fee for the maintenance fund, compared to the 13% national average. To get a license, a new cemetery operator must have $165,000 in their fund, compared to $0 in every region except Saskatchewan.
Ask: Natural burial grounds are a fraction of the cost to maintain compared to conventional cemeteries, and the fees should reflect this. Will you commit to lowering the fees for natural sites, so Ontarians have this gentler end-of-life option?
Content and attachment for the email to candidates+
Here are some templates you can follow when you write each candidate. Please attach this one-pager to your email. It provides an overview of natural burial and the fees. Ontarians Want Lower Cemetery Fees For Natural Burial Grounds.
Please follow-up, or include within your email, this one question survey, and ask if they can respond within a week. Candidate Survey on Cemetery Fees for Natural Burial Grounds
Forward the survey response to email@example.com. If the candidate blocks emails with attachments, let us know and we can help.
Cover letter template #1:
Ontario has the highest Care and Maintenance Fund (CMF) rates in Canada, and these high rates make burial in a natural burial ground unaffordable for many. We are charged a 40% rate for each grave purchased in Ontario when the national average is 13%. Natural burial grounds don’t cost nearly as much to maintain as manicured cemeteries. I call upon the next government to, at a minimum, halve the fee for plots at natural burial grounds, so natural burial is an affordable end-of-life option.
In the case of prospective natural burial grounds, please eliminate the enormous $165,000 fee that a new cemetery operator must deposit in their cemetery fund in order to acquire a cemetery license. The Ontario Government should encourage the establishment of natural burial grounds, not impose barriers. In all but one province, there is no initial fee.
Many of us are looking for ways to help the environment. With natural burial grounds, our last act can be a legacy of nature for future generations. Will you commit to lowering fees for natural burial grounds?
Cover letter template #2
Regarding the need for natural burial grounds (which I wish for myself).
Without the need for mowing, irrigation, pesticides and tombstone maintenance, natural burial grounds are a fraction of the cost to maintain.
I request that rates for burials at natural burial grounds should be reduced, so this natural end-of-life option is more widely available.
In addition, in 2022, the Ontario Government increased the fee for a new cemetery operator by 65% to $165,000. This fee restricts the creation of stand-alone natural burial grounds and end-of-life options.
A recent poll (Angus Reid Online Forum) revealed that 73% of Ontario citizens want these fees lowered, and 64% would like this issue raised in the election. I agree.
The next government must help grieving families seeking a gentler goodbye and introduce fair fees that reflect the reduced costs of running natural burial grounds.
Please commit, this election, that you, and your party will halve the family fee and eliminate the new operator fee for natural burial grounds.
Cover Letter template #3
The idea of a natural burial makes a lot of sense to me. But I’ve learned that the cost of burial is much more expensive in Ontario. We contribute 40% towards the cemetery perpetuity fund; the average among provinces and territories is 13%. Natural burial grounds are much less expensive to maintain. There’s no manicured lawn, no tombstones to worry about, no paved roads, irrigation, pesticides, annual plantings, etc. During this election, could you please commit to halving this fee at natural burial grounds, so this gentler end-of life option is affordable.
Of course the first step is to create natural burial grounds. In Ontario, unlike every other province (but one), a new cemetery operator must deposit $165,000 in their cemetery’s perpetuity fund before they are granted a license. I don’t imagine we’ll see natural burial grounds in Ontario with that barrier. Given the significantly reduced costs of maintaining natural burial grounds, please pledge to eliminate this fee for those hoping to establish a stand-alone natural burial ground.
Natural burial grounds are a wonderful way to protect nature. I hope you will embrace this issue and clear the way for something that resonates with alot of people. Again, please pledge that, if re-elected, you will halve the plot fee and eliminate the new operator fee for natural burial grounds.
How to find the all-candidates events+
The best bet is to reach out to your preferred candidate and sign up for their e-news. With the election just underway, not many events have been formalized yet.