At some point in their lives, many wonder about their funeral wishes and about what they want to do with their bodies or ashes when they die.

Today, the most widely accepted solutions are either purchasing a niche or a plot at the cemetery. However, there are some who want their ashes scattered to the winds.

The recent adoption of the Funeral Activities Act provides a framework for this practice. Thus, Article 71 of this new law states that “no one may disperse human ashes in a place where they could be a nuisance or in a manner that does not respect the dignity of the deceased person”.

So here are two things to consider before asking your loved ones to scatter your ashes to the winds.

First, is it a nuisance to disperse ashes at the location you choose? The term nuisance refers to the power of municipalities to regulate this issue. Thus, before dispersing ashes, even on private land, it is better to consult the municipality concerned which will be able to tell you if the act of dispersing ashes at this place is prohibited because considered as a nuisance within the meaning of their by-law.

Secondly, is the manner in which ashes are scattered likely to undermine respect for the dignity of the deceased? To answer this question is it only the way in which the ashes will be scattered which will be decisive or will it also be necessary to take into account the place of dispersion or will it be judged according to the personal values of the deceased? ? For example, it’s a safe bet that scattering ash in a garbage dump or sewer system will not be seen as respecting dignity, no matter how you do it. But what about scattering them in his yard after a short ceremony? We will have to wait for the interpretation of the courts to answer this question. In the meantime, common sense and caution should guide our conduct.

Another element to consider when choosing the place of conservation of our ashes is that of their burial (or land deposit). For this purpose, the Regulation respecting the application of the Funeral Activities Act stipulates that: “The deposit of ashes in earth contained in a container may only be done in a cemetery.” All human ashes contained in a container, whatever it is, must be buried in a legally established cemetery. It is therefore not possible to bury an urn or any other type of container containing human ashes in its ground.