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The Law concerning Cremation and scattering ashes in Alberta Canada


The law in Alberta in Canada is quite relaxed and sensible, the one nice aspect is that expressly says you can use a homemade casket as long as it’s rigid and has handles.


Before a body can be cremated, a Medical Examiner must examine the Medical Certificate of Death signed by the attending physician. The appropriate form is then issued, giving approval for cremation. In Alberta, a casket is not legally required to be used in cremation, but funeral homes and crematoriums require that the body be enclosed in a rigid combustible container that is equipped with handles. It can, however, be homemade. This should be discussed with the service provider. Following cremation, the cremated remains are returned to the family usually within two or three days. They are normally in a container previously chosen by the family.
Cremated remains generally weigh about five to seven pounds and can be buried in graves, in a columbarium or scattered. Some cemeteries have special areas for cremation urns.


Some people want to have their ashes scattered in a location that is meaningful to them; however, you should be aware that there may be some restrictions on where cremated remains can be placed. Scattering of remains is usually permitted on Crown and publicly owned lands; however, there are some restrictions for national parks (such as Banff or Jasper), provincial parks, and forests and wilderness areas (such as Kananaskis). There may also be municipal restrictions. Be sure to obtain permission ahead of time in all cases. Please ask your funeral director for further information.

Several important issues to consider before scattering ashes are:
• There is no fixed location to visit and, if done on private property, consider that it may be sold in the future.
• There will not be a marker or headstone.
• The location may not be accessible or it may not be in the same condition in the future.

I still find it odd they have Crown land in Canada, presumably the HRH the Queen does not derive income from this… but who knows (well I am sure someone does, but not me).

8 thoughts on “The Law concerning Cremation and scattering ashes in Alberta Canada

  1. Reply
    Nicole Lightfoot - 27th November 2019

    So can you BURY ashes on property in Alberta without a permit? I know you can scatter them, but what about burying them on your own property?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 28th November 2019

      Dear Nicole
      Burying is always more complicated. And as yet I am unaware of the specific rules in Canada. As a first step if I was you I would speak to your funeral director as they will have more accurate local knowledge.

  2. Reply
    Ivan gramlich - 8th August 2018

    Must a deceased have will instructions to their executors before being cremated

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 8th August 2018

      In Britain often no will is left, so it is down to the next of kin. If a will has been left the executor should follow the last wishes (although I understand they are not legally obliged to eg there may not be enough money in the estate to carry out the last wishes)

  3. Reply
    Name - 7th September 2017

    Why do funeral homes have to sell you a casket, if your burning it anyway? Just another way to gouge the poor relatives of the deceased. Pretty soon people will be carrying around their dead loved ones because a burial is too expensive. Shame on the funeral homes.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 7th September 2017

      Like any industry there are good ones and bad ones. All the funeral directors I have meet are very professional, but some businesses are more focused on making money out of their clients than others. Here in the UK there are a number of funeral directors whose cost are completely transparent, so I would always advise people to look around and do some research before using a funeral director.

  4. Reply
    Edward Munton - 29th April 2017

    a. It’s HM (Her Majesty) the Queen, not HRH (Her Royal Highness).
    b. Crown Lands simply means lands owned by the government.

    1. Reply
      Richard - 2nd May 2017

      Thank you Edward we really appreciate it when people help us to correct any inadvertent mistakes.

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