Ontario Crematorium Emissions - The Facts

Who establishes the thresholds for acceptable crematorium emission levels?

Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA) is the principal statute governing air quality in the province, establishing standards to regulate air contaminants at levels to prevent harm to human and ecosystem health.

Who establishes and polices the standards under which crematoria equipment is permitted to operate?

Crematorium retorts fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).  Each crematorium in Ontario is assessed independently against provincial safe emission standards.  In establishing provincial standards, the MOE relies on risk assessments developed by their own and other regulatory agencies such as Environment Canada, Health Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), individual state EPAs, and the World Health Organization (WHO), including input from the public.

In order for a crematorium to operate it requires an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).  Before issuing any ECA the MOE assesses each individual project to ensure that it meets all of the province's stringent Environmental Standards and Guidelines in order to protect the public and the environment. An ECA is a legally-binding license issued by the MOE that sets out the conditions under which a facility can operate to ensure that the facility emissions are below the MOE limits. The MOE provincial standards or Points of Impingement (POI) limits are maximum ground-level concentrations of substances evaluated at the facility property line and beyond. The off-property concentrations resulting from the emissions from Mount Pleasant must therefore be below the provincial standards.  Each licensed facility must operate within these safe POI limits, and is evaluated on a case by case basis.