Crematorium group issued compliance order

The Fraser River Community Crematorium Society in Abbotsford is working with Consumer Protection BC to resolve issues.

A local group attempting to establish a crematorium on Riverside Road has been issued a compliance order from Consumer Protection BC.

The order was issued to the Fraser River Community Crematorium Society on Jan. 30, and prevents the group from accepting money for future funeral services. Both sides have been working to resolve the issues, which included the lack of a licence.

Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, manager of public relations at Consumer Protection BC, said it came to the agency’s attention that the local society may not have been complying with some aspects of the law.

After opening an investigation, it was determined that compliance was needed in several areas including:

• the requirement to be licensed as a funeral provider and a cemetery services operator;

• provide a price list to consumers for all goods and services;

• provide a pre-need contract; and

• deposit all monies received for the future performance of funeral/cemetery services into a pre-need trust account.

Chabeaux-Smith said in an email, “They have completed the licensing process and are taking steps to comply with the other areas … in the compliance order.”

Satvir Gill, a volunteer member of the crematorium society, said the group has been working hard to meet any outstanding requirements.

“We now have our licence and will soon resolve the remaining issues,” he said.

According to Gill, the investigation began after questions were raised regarding the society entering into pre-need (future services) contracts, which Gill said is not true.

According to regulations, all pre-need contract money received must be placed into trust to ensure it is protected and available when needed.

Gill said the society has only accepted donations for the construction of the facility.  However, the group allowed donors to allocate a portion of the money as a donation and a portion could be entered into a pre-need contract once the society was licensed.

The donors will now be contacted and asked whether they want to turn the entire amount into a donation, have a portion of the money returned, or enter into a pre-need contract.

The Fraser River Community Crematorium Society consists of several members of Abbotsford’s Indo-Canadian community. It was created because cremation is an important part of funeral ceremonies in the Sikh and Hindu religions and Abbotsford does not have a facility to accommodate the large processions with hundreds of guests.

The proposed crematorium is a partnership of all of the Abbotsford Sikh temples, the Abbotsford Hindu temple and the Mission Sikh temple.

A meeting will be scheduled in the coming weeks on the status of the crematorium project.