Funeral director loses licence over mistaken cremation

A funeral director in the Annapolis Valley has had his licence revoked after a bizarre mix-up involving the mistaken cremation of a woman.

The Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors held an inquiry on February 13th to investigate funeral services provided by Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick, and on Friday announced the licence revocation of David Farmer for professional misconduct.

Serenity's ability to perform cremations has also been suspended for a 30-day period, beginning April 1st.

The province says the funeral home will continue to operate during the suspension to ensure those who have arranged a funeral there "do not face any unnecessary hardship".

Relatives of Sandra Bennett say they arrived at the home for a visitation following her death in December, but found the body of another woman dressed in Bennett's clothing in the casket.

They say they were presented with another body in the casket, but it was not their 65-year-old relative, and a family member says they were then told Bennett was mistakenly cremated.

Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan says this incident has highlighted the need for more stringent regulations and oversight to ensure it never happens again and, to that end, the department has accepted a number of recommendations from the board.