Government of New Brunswick

Today, most human burials in the Province take place at religion-based or community cemeteries regulated under the Cemetery Companies Act.  But numerous other places, such as ancient burial grounds, abandoned cemeteries and small family plots, where humans were once buried exist throughout the Province.  For the first time, the Heritage Conservation Act provides a means of protecting these important heritage places, which may also include objects directly associated with the death of person as well as their remains.


Reporting Required when a Burial Ground is Discovered

Any place that has been used for the placement of human remains or related objects is considered a burial ground under the Act.  Anyone discovering such a site must report the nature, date and location of the discovery to the Heritage Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture as soon as possible.

Following notification, the particulars of the discovery will be reviewed, including an assessment of its heritage aspects. Based on the result, the Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture may undertake to direct the burial of any human remains discovered or the implementation of further measures to conserve the site’s heritage value.


Permit Respecting Burial Grounds

The legislation stipulates that no person is allowed to excavate, alter, or disturb the ground, or remove or disturb a burial object or evidence of past human activity, knowing that the place is a burial ground.

Individuals wishing to undertake heritage conservation in burial grounds may be allowed to do so, subject to the specific conditions of a permit.  While a permit for the alteration of a burial ground may given in exceptional circumstances,  maintenance activities such as grass cutting, access upkeep, and marker conservation in known sites would generally not require a permit.

Enquiries on the new provisions of the Heritage Conservation Act regarding burial grounds are welcome at the Heritage Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.