What do to when someone dies

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This section sets out the steps to take when someone is dying or has died and is to be buried in the Denman Island Natural Burial Cemetery and when a funeral home is not being used.

As required by the B.C. government, the steps involving documentation must be carried out by the ‘informant’ of the deceased (the personal representative named in the will or, without such naming, the spouse or family member of the deceased). Contact us if you need help understanding this requirement.

  1. Telephone us at 250-335-1786 to let us know that a burial will be needed either in the next few days or in the foreseeable future. Let the Cemetery Manager know whether or not a Right of Interment has already been purchased for this person.
  2. Meet with the Cemetery Manager to go through the principles of natural burial, confirm eligibility, review the fees, and pay the plot fee and other associated costs.
  3. Once the death has occurred, book the interment date with the Cemetery Manager, providing the approximate time for the burial. The Manager will then arrange for the opening and closing of the grave.
  4. Ensure that a Medical Certificate of Death is submitted to the Vital Statistics Agency as soon as possible after the death.
  5. Obtain the form for Registration of Death from the Vital Statistics Agency, complete the form, fax it to the Kelowna Office of Vital Statistics at 1-250-712-7598, preferably with the Medical Certificate of Death, and include a covering letter providing a fax number where you can be reached. If the Medical Certificate of Death has been submitted already, this should be explained in the covering letter. Within a day or two you will receive the Disposition Permit.
  6. Give the Cemetery Manager a copy of the Disposition Permit. At the same time, obtain a copy of the form entitled Authorization to Allow IntermentComplete the top part of this form and give it to the Cemetery Manager. The Manager will then complete the bottom part of the document, the Permission to Inter, and provide you with a copy.
  7. Ensure that the body of the deceased is not treated with chemical preservatives. Speak with the Manager, if you need advice on non-chemical, short-term preservation (i.e., cooling).
  8. Choose clothing for the deceased that is free of any non-biodegradable material. Speak with the Manager if you need advice on sewing or purchasing a gown of natural fibers.
  9. Choose a container that is made of biodegradable material. Speak with the Manager if you need advice on obtaining a suitable container.
  10. Arrange for transport of the body to the Cemetery, obtaining a Private Transport Permit from Consumer Protection BC for the person who will be driving the vehicle with the body. Also arrange for transport of the body from the gate to the graveside. Speak with the Manager if you need assistance making these arrangements.

See also this information from the government of British Columbia.