The Public Health Regulation 2022 (the Regulation) allows the Secretary to approve, generally or in a particular case, the burial of a deceased person in a grave without using a coffin.
The culture, beliefs, traditions, and religious practices of deceased persons and their families are important considerations in granting an approval to bury a deceased person in a grave without a coffin.
A shrouded burial is an example of a burial where a coffin is not used. In this case, the body of a deceased person is wrapped in a shroud (for example, cotton or linen sheeting) and placed in direct contact with the earth.
The Regulation section 89 allows the Secretary to grant a general approval (that is, an ongoing approval), or an approval for a particular case (that is, an individual approval).
An application can be made to the local health district public health unit (PHU) for an approval to bury a person in a grave without a coffin.
General approvals granted under the Regulation do not need to be re-applied for and are considered current if the approval conditions are being complied with and there is no change since the initial application (for example, no change to the agreement with the cemetery authority). However, an individual approval is granted on a case-by-case basis.