PORT HARDY — The North Island’s only funeral home has been shut down after owners failed to comply with the law, a Consumer Protection BC spokesperson told the Gazette.
Yates North Island Funeral Service has not been allowed to do business out of its 7170 Rupert St. facility since Aug. 2 when its licence was cancelled, said Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC.
“We did this because of repeated issues of non-compliance with the law in British Columbia,” she said.
“The cancellation followed a number of progressive actions we’ve taken in the past.”
Funeral services and cremation are governed in B.C. under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act.
Consumer Protection BC is responsible for enforcing that law, which states businesses doing funeral services must have a licensed funeral director present.
But Chabeaux-Smith said there had been issues with the local funeral home dating back more than a year.
“In April 2010 we issued a compliance order to North Island Funeral Services to properly supervise funeral apprentices and that only licensed funeral directors were to make funeral arrangements,” she said.
In Aug. 2010, following a subsequent inspection, the licensing agency suspended the funeral home’s license for failure to provide a licensed funeral director at location and having unlicensed personnel making funeral arrangements.
“The suspension was lifted when he complied with some addition restrictions we put on his licence,” said Chabeaux-Smith.
At the beginning of this month, following yet another inspection, the funeral home’s licence was cancelled for failure to meet conditions on licence regarding having funeral directors on site and opening times.
“We did this in response to repeated issues of non-compliance with the law and the cancellation follows a number of progressive actions taken by Consumer Protection BC,” Chabeaux-Smith said.
“In this particular instance, we were faced with continuing non-compliance with restrictions placed on the licence regarding having a licensed funeral director being present at the location.”
Ron Yates, owner of the local funeral home, has two others — Yates Funeral Service & Crematorium (Port Alberni) Ltd. and Yates Funeral Service & Crematorium in Parksville — which are not under investigation, Chabeaux-Smith said.
Yates is traveling in “a remote area” in his motor home and not available, said Barry Tuck, general manager of Yates’ operation.
“I’m not speaking for the owner and it’s not my place to comment, but what Consumer Protection said is true … we can’t use our facility,” said Tuck, who added all pre-arranged and immediate need services from the North Island would be handled from the Parksville office.
“Consumers who have pre-need contracts with Yates North Island Funeral Services can call the contact information located on their contract to find out about their options,” said Chabeaux-Smith.
“We also advise consumers to review their cancellation rights in the contract.”
Chabeaux-Smith urged people on the North Island in need of funeral services to call Consumer Protection BC toll-free at 1-888-564-9963 or visit www.funeralrightsbc.ca to identify another licensed funeral provider.