What is the Bereavement Authority of Ontario?
While we may not pause to give it much thought, there is a whole industry surrounding death. From purchasing burial plots and obtaining memorial/funeral services to having a loved one’s remains attended to and ensuring their final resting place is properly cared for, families and estate trustees will interact with various goods and services providers following a loved one’s death.
Often times, these goods and services providers will supply invaluable support at what can be an extremely perplexing and difficult time. Many businesses will guide families in making final arrangements and also help with the process of navigating various necessary but unfamiliar processes such as applying for the CPP death benefit. Like with any consumer goods and services, however, people may have complaints or disagreements with such service providers.
For any consumer of such services who does experience problems, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (the “BAO”) is a regulatory body which exists to provide consumers protections and assistance with complaints. As set out on its website, the BAO administers portions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (the “FBCSA”), regulates licensees under that act, and “ensures that consumers are dealing with qualified and licensed professionals who provide a variety of affordable options.”
For consumers, the BOA provides information regarding consumer rights and services in the bereavement sector, along with a mechanism to submit complaints with respect to services which have been obtained. Once complaints are submitted, the BOA can assist the parties in attempting to resolve the matter, impose certain sanctions on the service provider, or refer the matter to a discipline committee. For those who suffer financial loss as a result of a licensee’s failure to comply with their obligations under the FBCSA, the BOA also administers a compensation fund. Along with these types of consumer protections, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario undertakes a wide array of activities in regulating the bereavement sector such as granting or revoking licenses and initiating studies of alternative technologies and services relevant to the bereavement sector.
While one would hope that the last issue faced by a grieving family is complaints surrounding a bereavement sector service provider, it is helpful to know that a specialized authority exists in Ontario to assist with such complaints, if necessary.
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