Cremation is an alternative to the burial process and it is chosen by many people because of religious beliefs, the desire to preserve the environment or it was requested by the person who died. Until recently, there was only one means of cremation available to people in North America...namely flame-based cremation. For this to occur, the remains are placed into a combustible container and transported to a local crematorium facility. The container is then placed into a chamber (retort) and intense heat is applied to reduce the remains to bone fragments which are then reduced in size by pulverization. In 2015 an entirely new concept was introduced for families choosing cremation using Bio Cremation technology which is water blended with an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH). The body is placed into a pressurized stainless steel cremation chamber where water and alkali are automatically added and the temperature of the solution temperature is raised to a mere 375 degrees F. Water, alkali, heat and pressure are gently applied over the body, working together to cause a reaction that begins and completes the cremation process. The cremated remains of an average adult body will weigh about 7-8 pounds. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burial or other forms of disposition.
Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn. There are many new and different ways to dispose of ashes today. Cremated remains can be placed in an artificial coral reef in the ocean, they can be launched into space or sent up in helium balloons, or they can be spun into glass pieces of art or diamonds.
Some religions welcome cremation while others forbid it. The Catholic Church had banned cremation up until 1963, and burial remains the preferred form of disposition today. In other Christian denominations cremation was historically discouraged but nowadays it is more widely accepted. In eastern religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism cremation is mandated, while in Islam it is strictly forbidden. Orthodox Jews also forbid cremation; other sects of Judaism support cremation, but burial remains the preferred option.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame or by an all new method called Bio Cremation (please see description above). Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a casket is not required, most provinces require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard. In the case of Bio Cremation, the use of a casket or container is not required, in fact it is forbidden as it is not biodegradable and could not be placed into the cremation chamber.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. In fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, the remains can be viewed at the funeral home prior to departure for the crematorium.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
While there is no specific law governing the disposition of cremated remains in the Province of Ontario, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered. Whatever your ultimate choice as means of disposition of the cremated remains, we encourage you to do so with utmost discretion.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The same time allowances would apply in the case of Bio Cremation however, the temperature would remain much lower while utilizing a fraction of the fossil fuels consumed during conventional flame-based cremation.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Because of the intense heat created during flame-based cremation, the remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. Bio Cremation produces remains that are completely white in colour with a consistency that resembles flour. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.