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Nova Scotia to tighten funeral home regulations after wrong woman cremated in Berwick

Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan, shown here on Nov. 15, 2016 in his capacity as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. 

Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan tabled amendments to the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act and the Cemetery and Funeral Services Act on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. - Herald File
Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan, shown here on Nov. 15, 2016 in his capacity as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan tabled amendments to the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act and the Cemetery and Funeral Services Act on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. - Herald File - The Chronicle Herald

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia has introduced legislation to make the funeral home industry more accountable, following a bizarre mix-up of two women's bodies that resulted in the mistaken cremation of one and the embalming of the other.

Sandra Bennett was mistakenly cremated while Myrtle Wilson was mistakenly embalmed and presented as Bennett to her family during a Dec. 27 visitation at the Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick, N.S.

In the legislature today, Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan tabled the amendments to the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act and the Cemetery and Funeral Services Act.

The changes call for stiffer fines and stricter rules and what the government describes as more transparent rules around hearings, decisions, convictions, fines and penalties.

However, Bennett's husband, Gary, said the changes don't go far enough because disciplinary hearings won't be held in public and bereaved family members won't be able to ask questions of funeral homes under review.

The Canadian Press

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