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Green Burials In Manitoba
Author: 
Philippe Richer
August 25, 2021
Grassy hills and trees

Today’s blog post is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and discussed with clients as they’re going through their estate planning. It’s written by a fellow Winnipegger, Richard Rosin, from Richard Rosin Funeral Director LTD. Green Burials - they may be what you’re looking for as part of your Manitoba estate planning process:

More To Estate Planning Than The Legal Side Of Things

The idea may seem new, but it's rooted in our past.

As our planet warms, we do our part to minimize our carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption, composting, lobbying governments and more. However, as concern grows, so do questions of what our Environmental Legacy will be. 

As a funeral company focusing its attention on creating sustainable funeral practices, folks ask us if Manitoba has alternatives to commonplace burials and funerals.

The answer is yes. Green Burials are becoming increasingly popular alternatives for families who want to have a more straightforward, environmentally responsible way of saying goodbye and creating a positive Environmental Legacy.

The Green Burial Society of Canada certifies cemeteries that have worked to meet or exceed five criteria. At this writing, there are 10 Certified cemeteries from Nova Scotia to BC.

So what are the Green Burial criteria?

  • No embalming, eliminating chemicals that leach into the groundwater.
  • Direct Earth Burial in a grave dug not as deep. The deceased may be wrapped in a shroud and buried in a sustainable carrier or casket.
  • Ecological Restoration & Conservation by maintaining the natural ecology using walking paths, local shrubs, flowers and grasses.
  • Communal Memorials (not rows upon rows of gravestones).
  • Optimized Land Use by minimizing permanent roadways and infrastructure. And if legislation allows, the reuse of graves.

Legislation in Manitoba through The Dead Bodies Regulation of the Public Health Act (CCSM c. P210 Section 2) meets the criteria defined by the Green Burial Society of Canada – (… the body completely covered by earth to a depth of at least three feet level with the ground). Within this layer of soil, Mother Nature provides the best and quickest return to that earth. That means that a typical grave could be around five and a half feet deep.

In Manitoba, there are no Certified cemeteries (yet). However, the three municipal cemeteries in Winnipeg (Brookside, St. Vital and Transcona) allow Green Burials within existing sections and are looking into the potential of developing dedicated areas. As well, other cemeteries are beginning to find interest growing and are making those first steps to learn how to become more environmentally conscious.

A common question that established cemeteries have is, “Where To Begin?”

The simple answer can happen right away. Don't dig as deep. Then begin to look at how to apply the other four Green Burial criteria.

This past February 2021, Green Burial Manitoba was founded and provides resources and information through its Facebook page @greenburialMB. In addition, it works with and through the Green Burial Society of Canada to bring awareness to cemeteries, the public and the funeral industry.

When we were much more attuned to our environment, those generations firmly planted the roots of our stewardship. Please consider your Environmental Legacy. It does not stop when your heart does. You have one more thing to do.

If you have questions about Green Burials or Home Funerals, call us anytime. 204-219-1126, or e-mail richard@richardrosin.ca