Do you have dead bodies on your land?

Posted: March 23, 2010 | Last Updated: February 06, 2016

Posted: March 23, 2010

Written by: Edward Brown

If you buy land in rural Manitoba, you may be surprised to discover that human remains may have been buried under the surface of the land.  Most likely those who have been buried in rural acreages are persons who have had a long and close connection with the land, such as homesteaders or others who have farmed and raised families over a lengthy period of time.

Although this practice is not as common as it was in earlier times, some people continue to request burial in the land with which they have had a long-standing connection.  The problem with older burial sites is that over time, the grave or memorial markings have disappeared so that someone currently looking at the land, perhaps with a view towards buying it, will not be aware that the land may be, in part, a graveyard.  The current owner of such land, even if he/she knows the situation, will in many cases be reluctant to point out to a potential buyer the existence of one or more grave sites on the property. 

Two particular problems may arise for those purchasing rural property without knowing of the existence of one or more human burial sites: 

  1. The obvious unease which some buyers may feel when they discover the fact that there are human remains on the property; and
  2. the fact that current Manitoba law (The Cemeteries Act) imposes certain obligations on owners of land on which human remains have been buried.