By Gerald V. Paul
Citing the skimping on chemicals when embalming hundreds of corpses and clandestine removal of cremated remains at Benisasia funeral homes, the Board of Funeral Services has permanently revoked their licences.
In an e-mail, the board said: “The registrar of the BOFS wishes to give notice that effective Oct. 10, 2014, the licences issued to Benisasia Funeral Home Inc. located at 3263 Derry Rd., E., Mississauga, and 1357 Queen St. W., Toronto, Ontario, have been permanently revoked.”
The regulator accused the homes, owned by Rick Benisasia and Prabhjot (Joyti) Johal, of skimping on chemicals while embalming hundreds of corpses, causing bodily fluids to seep from the deceased as loved ones looked on during visitations. The board also alleged Johal ordered staff to clandestinely remove cremated remains from its Toronto parlour.
The board is also asking that anyone with a prepaid contract with Benisasia Funeral Home Inc., or who has cremated remains under the care of Benisasia, to contact the board immediately, toll free at 1-800-387-4458.
Revoking the licences was the culmination of a probe that began last January as Benisasia, a service primarily to South Asians and Indo Caribbean communities, fought and then last Friday decided to drop all appeals. They have sold their Toronto location and their posh Mississauga headquarters are on the market.
Dropping their appeals was a “business decision,” Benisasia said in a statement.
Benisasia Funeral Home Inc., under suspension since June, dropped the legal battle with the Ontario regulator, who sought justice via their mandate to regulate the practices of funeral directors, transfer service operators and funeral services establishments in accordance with the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act (2002) so that the public interest is served and protected.
The last time The Camera spoke to Guyana-born Benisasia, he claimed it was a witch hunt and he was innocent. He also claims the business had an earlier challenge when a former Mississauga councillor tried to obtain money from him for potential services – work not rendered.