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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Funeral law fails ethnic groups

Rigid regulations undermine immigrants' freedom to practise final rites, study finds

Oct 27, 2007 Prithi Yelaja, Staff Reporter, Toronto StarVINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR: Pundit Roopnauth Sharma of the Shri Ram Mandir temple in Mississauga has been talking with the province about where Hindus can dispose of cremated ashes.

Death may be the final frontier when it comes to testing the limits of multicultural accommodation in Ontario.

Rigid provincial and municipal regulations regarding funerals and burials, created primarily to accommodate western Judeo-Christian customs, are forcing faith communities to adjust to the law rather than have the freedom to practise their final rites, according to a new study from Ryerson University.

"Along with the mainstream population, the immigrant population is aging and dying, too, in large numbers, so now these issues are coming to the forefront," says study author Sandeep Agrawal, a professor of urban and regional planning. continue reading

See also in the same aisle and shelf:

Ashes to ashes, By Suelan Toye, September 28, 2007

Urban planning Prof. Sandeep Agrawal has studied the barriers faced by ethnic groups who wish to follow their funeral customs.

Ethnic families often face cultural barriers in Ontario when they wish to honour their loved ones' passing with culturally appropriate burial rites, say Ryerson University researchers.

"Since Canada prides itself as a multicultural society and its citizens are committed to sustaining their cultural heritage, we need to find ways to encompass these same ideals when members of our ethnic communities pass away," says Associate Prof. Sandeep Agrawal, the lead author of Funeral and Burial Sites, Rites and Rights in Multicultural Ontario. The paper will be published this month in Citizenship and Immigration Canada's publication, Our Diverse Cities. continue reading

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