Why We Formed
Members of FTPC have worked for years to encourage MPGC to acknowledge its public status and public accountability to its legislation and status as a charitable institution. We have also asked the Attorney General and the Public Guardian and Trustee to recognize their supervisory jurisdiction over MPGC.
Over the past ten years there has been wide ranging concern raised by the community regarding the actions of MPGC:
This list is not exhaustive, but provides examples where MPGC continues to act without regard for the opinions and wishes of the public for whom the trust was created.
Why You Should Care
The ‘Trustees of the Toronto General Burying Grounds’ (as it was then known) was incorporated by the Legislature of Upper Canada in 1871 by an amendment to its Special Act to act as trustee for the benefit of the public to operate a general burying ground for the Town of York.
Today the trust is now known as Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries (MPGC) and holds ten cemeteries in and around the City of Toronto, including the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and the Necropolis, three funeral homes and five visitation centres. The cemeteries comprise over 1,200 acres of land and over 600,000 people are buried in them. Revenues from these cemeteries and related activities are upwards of $80,000,000 per annum.
The Special Act which governs the trust has been amended eight times, as recently as 1989, and has not been repealed.
MPGC denies that its cemetery lands and other assets are subject to a trust; that it is still subject to the Special Act incorporating it; and that it has any accountability to the public or the province.
And yet, due to a provision in their Special Act, MPGC pays no taxes of any kind: property, business or income tax. Nor do they return a ‘dividend’ to the province of Ontario like the OLG or the LCBO, although their 'Excess of revenue over expenses' for the year 2017 was stated at $45,572,000, and 'unrestricted reserves' are listed at $183,310,000. (2017 MPG annual statement)
Why The Changes?
In 2012 ‘Mount Pleasant Group’ put its first set of financial statements on their website. These financials were for a company called ‘Mount Pleasant Memorial Services' (MPMS). MPMS is a private corporation created in 1997 by Diane Chabot, Alan Bond Hockin & Blossom Temkin Wigdor and has no legal relationship with ‘Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries’ (MPGC), which holds the assets of the public trust. However, this corporation was named very similarly to 'Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries' and had no assets of its own. In these financial statements, the new corporation MPMS, claims to operate 10 cemeteries, 3 funerals homes and 5 visitation centres - those belonging to the public trust.
In 2013 ‘Friends of Toronto Public Cemeteries’ initiated a legal suit regarding the legal status of the public trust 'Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.’ Later in 2013, there was a restatement of the 2012 financials which gave the assets back from the private corporation, MPMS, to 'Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.' The business registration name 'Mount Pleasant Group' was relinquished by MPMS and then applied for by 'Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries'. By the end of 2013 the private MPMS corporation was dissolved.
The 2012 financials which state ownership of the public trust by the private corporation MPMS have now been removed altogether from the 'Mount Pleasant Group' website. However, they have been entered as evidence in Friends of Toronto Public Cemeteries’ legal suit at Superior Court.
Please note that 'Mount Pleasant Group' (MPG) is a trade name that was applied for by the private corporation MPMS in January 1998. This is in conflict with their recent statement to the City that MPG was created in 1826.