It’s way past time to make the funeral industry transparently accountable to the public in this province.
Despite his 2013 promise to make Nova Scotia “the most open and transparent province in Canada,” Premier Stephen McNeil and his Liberal government have done little to nothing to match how some other provinces have opened up the funeral service business to much-needed scrutiny.
It’s outrageous, in this day and age, that the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors — principally made up of industry representatives, with one government official — can meet behind closed doors to hear public complaints about funeral homes and not even be required to publish any results from such sessions.
A CBC investigation found at least 11 cases investigated by the board since 2013 that were never publicized.
That’s simply unacceptable.
The issue is in the news again after an Annapolis Valley family in December discovered the Berwick Funeral Chapel, owned by Serenity Funeral Home, had mistakenly cremated their mother and at least twice dressed other corpses in their mother’s clothing for a visitation.
Last week, that family refused to participate in a closed-door board hearing into a complaint about what happened after they learned they would only be allowed to attend temporarily as witnesses. According to their lawyer, family members could have been questioned by Serenity representatives while they would get no equivalent opportunity.
Read the rest of the editorial here.