Responsibilities and Structure of the New Bereavement Authority
The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) has been created by the Government of Ontario to oversee the funeral, transfer service, cemetery and crematorium sectors.
Starting April 1, 2016, the BAO will administer provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act (FBCSA) that relate to funeral and transfer services, which was previously the responsibility of the Board of Funeral Services (BOFS). This will complete the move to a single regulator of the sectors. The transfer of responsibility for cemeteries and crematoriums took place on January 16, 2016.
The government is responsible for burial sites (including early European and Indigenous peoples' burial sites), war graves, cemetery closures and abandoned cemeteries, and will provide oversight of the new BAO.
Functions of the BAO
The BAO will:
- Offer a convenient single point of contact for the funeral, transfer service, cemetery and crematorium sectors
- Inspect and license funeral establishments, transfer services, and cemeteries and crematoriums, and individuals who work in these sectors (before the BAO, these sectors were licensed and inspected by two different regulatory bodies - the Board of Funeral Services and the Cemeteries and Crematoriums Regulation Unit)
- Provide more efficient service delivery and enforcement
Stakeholders from the cemetery/crematorium and funeral/transfer services sectors, religious organizations, municipal organizations and other interested stakeholders were consulted on the establishment of the BAO.
Structure of the BAO
The BAO has a registrar and 16 staff members. It is organized into two units - Licensing, Education and Outreach and Compliance. The role, responsibilities and duties of the registrar are set out in the FBCSA.
The BAO's three stakeholder advisory committees will provide expert advice to the registrar and the board of directors on sector issues and matters of faith as they relate to the bereavement sector:
- Funeral and Transfer Services Advisory Committee
- Cemetery, Crematorium and Municipal Advisory Committee
- Faith-based Advisory Committee
Benefits of Delegated Administrative Authorities
The Government of Ontario currently oversees 10 not-for-profit Administrative Authorities that deliver regulatory programs in sectors such as real estate, electrical safety and travel. Six of the authorities, including the BAO, are Delegated Administrative Authorities (DAA) authorized under the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act. The DAA model has a long track record as an efficient and cost-effective means of delivering regulatory programs. DAAs also help enhance program outcomes including consumer protection and public safety. Experience shows that DAAs:
- Reduce costs for government and are fully funded through the fees and other charges collected from the regulated sector
- Allow for independent financial and operational decision-making by an independent board of directors, which results in greater flexibility
- Strengthen relationships with industry
- Improve regulatory outcomes by enabling more strategically targeted sector-specific inspections
- Increase industry and consumer engagement