Cost should not be a barrier to those wanting their final resting place in nature.

The Ontario Government should lower cemetery fees for natural burial grounds.

Ontario has the highest cemetery fees in Canada. Nationally, the fee per grave averages 13%, so why must we pay 40%? This fee ensures cemeteries have funds for their perpetual care, but natural burial grounds don’t need the same ongoing maintenance that conventional cemeteries demand. Natural burial grounds cost a fraction to care for since there’s no mowing, pesticides, or tombstone upkeep.

We ask that the government to, at a minimum, HALVE the current fee.

In 2022, the Ontario Government raised the fee a new cemetery operator must pay for a license from $100,000 to $165,000. In every other province  and territory (but one) that fee is $0. This fee is anti-small business and anti-competitive. It obstructs the creation of natural burial grounds in Ontario, and prevents our freedom of choice.

The Ontario Government must EXEMPT new operators of natural burial grounds from this fee.

Poll results indicate that 73% of Ontarians want these fees lowered, and 64% would like this issue raised in the election. Yet when the Natural Burial Association met with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in 2021, the government was unmoved.The next government must stop taxing grieving families seeking a gentler goodbye and introduce fair fees that reflect the reduced costs of running natural burial grounds.

PLEASE JOIN US IN ASKING the government to halve the grave fee and eliminate the new operator fee on natural burial grounds. This way, we will have an affordable end-of-life option that aligns with our values, and helps to protect Ontario’s natural beauty.

About Ontario's fees

Every province sets the rate for cemetery’s perpetuity funds. Measured as a percentage, it’s the amount of each plot sale that must be put aside in a fund for long term care. (Eg, in Ontario if a plot costs $1,000, at the 40% rate, $400 is put into the fund).  The higher the rate, the more the price is inflated for families.  For those choosing to be buried in a natural burial ground, Ontario’s high rate is unfair and unnecessary, because natural sites are a fraction of a cost to maintain.

Here are the national rates:

For provinces and territories where the municipality is responsible for abandoned cemeteries: BC 25%,  MN* 30%, SK 15%, NS, 15%, NU 0%, NT 0%, YT 33%, ON 40%. For provinces where the municipalities are not responsible: NB 0%, QC 0%, NL 0%, PE 0%, AB 0%/15%** .

Stand-alone natural burial grounds are opened by people who want to offer a gentler end-of-life option, people who value serving both families and nature. With rare exception, they aren’t opened by operators already in the business of running conventional cemeteries. Yet in Ontario, a new cemetery operator must have $165,000 in their perpetuity fund before they are granted a cemetery licence. In every other province that fee is $0 (except Saskatchewan at $10,000/hectare).   This fee is a barrier to the creation of the expansive stand-alone natural burial grounds that are nestled in nature, independent of the conventional cemeteries.

*no marker
**0% for religious, municipal cemetery, 15% for private cemetery.