It has come to our attention that the City of Waterloo is considering implementing a bylaw that would ban photography at all municipal cemeteries.

The proposed bylaw: “Photography: No person shall cause or permit the taking of any photographic or video imaging within any Cemetery except with the prior permission of the Manager.”

This would mean that as of September 1st, no one would be allowed to take photographs or video in any municipally owned cemetery operated by the City of Waterloo without prior permission.

In other words, you could not take a photograph or video of a headstone you own without prior permission. Or a photograph / video of a loved ones headstone. Or request that someone take a photograph / video on your behalf without prior permission. The bylaw does not provide guidelines for granting or denying permission, only that the manager would decide.

Approval of this bylaw would also set a precedent for other municipalities in Ontario to follow.

It would have a major impact on genealogy, and not just in terms of projects like ours (think of the number of cemetery photographs you currently use in your personal genealogy research!)

There are also multiple businesses and organizations that use cemetery photographs, including the government.

Luckily there is time to stop this bylaw from being approved, and your help is need to make this happen.

The bylaw changes were submitted to The Bereavement Authority of Ontario for approval. The BAO are the ones who ultimately decide if cemetery bylaws will be approved.

Before September 1st, please take a moment and send them a polite written message to let them know what you think about this bylaw and how it would impact you personally.

Bereavement Authority of Ontario
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 647-483-2645
Toll Free: 844-493-6356
Fax: 647-748-2645
Mail: Bereavement Authority of Ontario, 100 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 505, Toronto, ON M2N 6N5

Need more info? The cemetery bylaws were discussed by the City of Waterloo Council at their July 24th meeting. A copy of the agenda can be read here:

The proposed cemetery bylaws are on pages 101-177, the clause regarding photography is on page 113.