We get this question a lot. We’re going to tell you what’s allowed, what’s not allowed, and how to make sure your ashes are spread where you want them to be.

How do I ensure my wishes are followed?

Under BC law, if there is a written preference by a deceased person about the disposition of his or her ashes, the wish is binding. For example, if you specifically request in your will that your ashes be scattered by the ocean, there is an obligation to follow your request (if it’s not unreasonable, impracticable or will cause hardship).

So, if you have specific wishes on how you would like your ashes kept or spread, detail those wishes in your will.  If you have not made a will, we have some info that goes over the benefits of writing a will and how to get started.

Can my ashes be kept in any container or urn I want?

Yes. After cremation, your ashes can be put in any container you want. It can be a fancy urn, a simple old coffee tin, or any container of personal significance to you.

Where can my ashes be spread?

Anywhere, but you must have permission. Many people don’t know that as long as you have permission of the landowner or local government, there are no limitations as to where your ashes can be spread.

Can my ashes be mailed?

According to Canada Post, human and animal cremated remains can be transported through the mail as long as:

  • The destination and return addresses are correct and complete
  • The cremated remains are packed in a sealed container and put inside a sift-proof outer container. If the inner container is fragile, it needs to be protected with packing material.
  • The cremated remains are accompanied by a certificate of cremation 
    • The certificate should be inside a plastic envelope and attached to the top of the parcel

Other countries have different rules. You’ll want to check with the International Destination Listing for more information about prohibited and restricted items that apply to the country that the ashes are being sent to.

Did you like this? You might like these posts too!

Writing your will
Do you need to update your will?
Do you need a container when you are cremated?
Why it matters: knowing your options when picking out a casket or container
Grandpa’s wishes

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at dev.consumerprotectionbc.ca.