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Aquamation: BC Women’s Institute Supports Legislative Change

Options for British Columbians: Bring Water Cremation to BC

Photo from the CBC Archives

Ngaio Davis’ has always had a passion for eco-friendly funeral and end of life options. This drive is what led her to join the Aquamation BC Coalition. The goal is to motivate the BC government to make aquamation a legal alternative to flame-based cremation and burial.

Her desire is to educate others about this eco-friendly cremation process as a viable choice and encourage them to lend their voices to the cause. Little did she know that she didn’t have to look far afield to find that support.

Mothers Supporting Daughters

When women get involved, things get done! This lesson was reinforced with me months ago when, after listening to her daughter express her frustration about the lack of eco-friendly end of life options in BC (I’ll be honest, I was ranting quite heavily!), my mom, member of a local chapter of the B.C. Women’s Institute (also referred to as the BC W.I.), said, “Tell me more about what needs to be done. I think I may know how to help.” And help she has.

My rant was spurred on by the unbelievable news from our neighbours to the south in Washington State who were on the cusp of announcing state support and legalization for not only a brand new form of disposition for a deceased corpse through natural organic reduction , but also for aquamation (using the process of alkaline hydrolysis). I was elated for our neighbours for being so incredibly progressive with their new end of life legislation and trying to be hopeful that we too could see innovative change in BC. Truthfully though, I was frustrated that we are not even having these discussions at a province-wide level. 

Green burial is a great option for those who want to be buried and follow their environmentally conscious values to the end. The fact is though, overwhelming, most BC residents choose to be cremated rather than buried. Knowing this, I think it’s imperative that our provincial gov’t provide us with legal cremation options that are also eco-friendly. The best option for this is aquamation. Other provinces in Canada allow it and twenty other American states, including Washington State allow it. How can we get our gov’t to consider aquamation? 

My Mom, the change maker.

My mom not only listened to my grievances, but she learned about the issue, finding out what was currently legal, what barriers existed and what the possibilities could be. She took all of that information and introduced it to the members in her local chapter of the BC W.I. and asked what they thought. Could this be something that the many other BC W.I. chapters should know about? Could they ask their members at large to commit to advocating for change?

It turns out that the answer to both of those questions is “yes”. The British Columbia Women’s Institute  passed a momentous resolution in their recent annual AGM to lend their tremendous influence and energy in the petitioning of the BC gov’t to make legal aquamation (Alkaline Hydrolysis). Wow!

Thank you, mom!  And a big thanks to the members of the BC Women’s Institute for taking up this important and, for some, difficult topic. Being willing to be a leader for and educator to BC residents about our end of life options could be just the impetus that finally brings much needed change to our province.

With gratitude, Ngaio

Support efforts to bring aquamation to BC, click here to sign the petition.



The Update on the B.C.W.I. efforts?

To date, they have written two letters to government ministers (George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Mike Farnworth, Solicitor General of BC) and received a response back that alluded to the need for more “research, public policy analysis and stakeholder engagement”. Also noting that while the BC Government is contemplating future changes to CIFSA (Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act), aquamation is not a priority for them at this time. The B.C.W.I has also written letters to other environmental organizations requesting their help to bring this very needed environmental approach to our disposition choices in B.C. and they continue to spread the word to their membership and followers through emails and social media posts. Thank you again, B.C. Women’s Institute!!

Video: KORU and Heritage Gardens Aquamation Conversation

A video made in collaboration with KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony and Heritage Gardens Cemetery, a green burial in cemetery in Metro Vancouver, to shine a light on the benefits of aquamation for BC.


  • Nicola Finch
    Posted June 14, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Fantastic! Onward and upward!

    • Ngaio Davis
      Posted June 14, 2020 at 11:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing the post and the petition with your folks, Nicola! This is our time to make a change.

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