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Government Aware of Unclaimed Bodies for Years, ATIPP Shows

For Immediate Release

July 9, 2024


NDP Leader Jim Dinn (St. John’s Centre) continues to call on government to address the unclaimed bodies accumulating at the Health Science Centre after an ATIPP request revealed that government and NL Health Services knew about the issue for four years.


An ATIPP request made by the NDP Caucus shows that government not only knew about the issue of unclaimed bodies since 2020, but also refused to take meaningful action to address the multiple issues causing the pile up. These issues, discussed in the correspondence in the ATIPP, include the struggle to afford a burial and the delay with the Public Trustee seeking the next of kin and authorizing the release of a body.


“I’d like to say that I am shocked by this report, but it shows exactly what I have heard from families and funeral directors since 2020,” said Dinn. “Government only chose to take action to address this issue after they were embarrassed by media making it public. A trademark of this government.”


Dinn says as long as government continues to use their ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, sticking more freezers in parking garages of health care facilities, and not addressing the root causes for people being unable to claim their loved ones, we will continue to see the numbers rise.


“Reading through the correspondence, it is clear to me that the root cause for the bodies piling up is not the lack of space, that’s the effect,” said Dinn. “Government must review the policy to make funding for burials more accessible, and to make the claiming of bodies easier for everyone.


“Do the work. Listen to what staff are telling you. Focus on meaningful solutions that address the antiquated policy so that families can give their loved ones a truly dignified resting place.”




For further information, contact Stephanie Curran, Media Relations Manager, NDP Caucus at 330-0328 (o), or  

NR 792024 Government Aware of Unclaimed Bodies for Years ATIPP Shows
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