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Export of human ashes out of Québec

General notice

Human ashes certified non-contagious after flame-based cremation

Québec’s Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux certifies that human ashes produced by flame-based cremation in Québec do not present a risk of contagion, regardless of the cause of death.

Certification of the absence of contagious diseases in human ashes after flame-based cremation

This certification is based on the Québec legislation regarding the flame-based cremation process and the following elements:

  • The combustion process eliminates all organs and tissue;
  • The ashes contain only bone residues and non-organic particles;
  • The public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consider that the temperatures reached during flame-based cremation deactivate and destroy all infectious agents, including prions.

Legislation regarding the flame-based cremation process

In Québec, two regulations govern the flame-based cremation process:

  1. The Regulation respecting the application of the Funeral Operations Act This hyperlink will open in a new window.
    Section 117 of this regulation requires that the cremation of a body must be carried out in a manner that completely eliminates all organs and soft tissue, to the centre of the bones and skull. This section is in force since January 1, 2019.
  2. The Clean Air Regulation This hyperlink will open in a new window. (Chapter Q-2, r. 4.1)
    Sections 108, 125 and 127 of this regulation require:
    • that a crematorium have a primary combustion chamber and at least one secondary combustion chamber;
    • that the gases reaching the last secondary combustion chamber must be brought to a temperature greater than 1,000°C for at least one second.

For more information

Last update: April 18, 2019


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