Yellowknife formally approves new cremation service

Cremation can now be offered at a Yellowknife funeral home after city councillors amended a bylaw to allow such procedures to go ahead.

Until now, the city’s definition of a funeral home did not include the water-based cremation process being put forward by Janice McKenna, who runs the McKenna Funeral Home.

On Monday evening, that definition was changed to permit alkaline hydrolysis, the technical term for the type of cremation in question.


The move had unanimous support from council and had received widespread backing from members of the public.

McKenna has said offering the process – which uses potassium hydroxide instead of fire – in Yellowknife could save family many hundreds of dollars on the fees associated with sending people south to Alberta for cremation.

McKenna presented studies that convinced councillors, and city staff, that no adverse impacts to the local environment would be generated.

The NWT government introduced regulations this year that formally allow cremation and govern how it is offered. That opened the door for the City of Yellowknife to consider McKenna’s application, which she has been planning for years.

The crematorium will be set up within McKenna’s existing Forrest Drive premises. When the first cremations will now be offered was not immediately clear.