Body Donation to the Anatomy Program

Many people wish to bequeath their bodies for anatomy education and research, thereby making a unique contribution to the advancement of chiropractic sciences.

In recognition of this wish, the Trillium Gift of Life Act and the Anatomy Act allow for such bequeathals, provided that there is no objection by the next of kin.

The Chief Coroner of Ontario supervises the body donation process. Those who donate their bodies to a School of Anatomy and the families of these individuals are assured the dignity and respect that society customarily grants to the deceased.

Students preparing themselves for medical and allied health professions are fully aware of the special privilege granted to them. By both law and obligation, they must conduct themselves in a professional manner during their study of the human body.

The decision to make a body donation for health care education is a challenging one. Your donation will help CMCC students reach their goals of treating all patients to the very best of their abilities and being compassionate and successful members of the healthcare team.

It is a gift that will last a lifetime. Students obtain hands-on experience that brings learning full circle, and they get a better understanding of how all bodies are different. Although all humans have the same basic anatomy, there are wide variations in how that anatomy appears, making each person unique. Learning from body donations provides students with a foundation for their knowledge.

“Having the opportunity to understand the body in such a profound way leaves an indelible impression on the students, who will spend their careers treating patients based on what they have learned here,” Dr. Myra Kumka (Anatomy Department Chair, 2008-2020).

How to Become a Donor

It is important to let the Anatomy Department at CMCC know of your decision to donate. The donor should complete Bequeathal Form (Anatomy Act Part I). Part II can be completed by the next of kin or the person in lawful possession of the body after death.

Please download, complete and mail the original, signed documents to CMCC and keep copies for your records. At this time, let us know whether you would like to have your name included on our Memorial Plaque to commemorate those who have generously donated their bodies for education at CMCC. The plaque is housed at CMCC. Please fill out The Memorial Plaque form.

You can send a facsimile to Body Donation at 647-417-7033.

If you choose to send your documents via email, please sign a Consent to Use Electronic Communication.

The Return of Ashes form should be retained by you to be completed by your next-of-kin or executor at the time of your death. Please download, complete and mail the original, signed documents to CMCC and keep copies for your records. All forms must be returned to CMCC at the address below. You can contact us via phone, email or regular letter.

Who can be a donor?

Anyone above the age of 18 may donate their body. There is no advanced age restriction for body donation. However, illnesses, causes, and manner of death, anthropometric parameters (body mass index and height) will determine who may be accepted. The suitability for acceptance must be evaluated within 24 hours after the death.

The Anatomy Department at CMCC cannot accept a donor’s body until it has been deemed suitable for anatomical studies and is required by the program. All efforts to determine suitability will occur as quickly as possible before transferring the body to the College.

There are several instances when we can NOT accept the body:

  • Post-mortem Examination (Autopsy)
  • Organ Donation for Transplantation
  • Cases under Coroner’s or Criminal Investigation (accident, suicide, homicide, undetermined, and pending manners of death)
  • Infectious Diseases:
      • Active forms of Hepatitis A, B and C
      • Septicemia ("blood poisoning")
      • Meningitis (viral or bacterial)
      • HIV Infection
      • COVID-19 including asymptomatic carriers
      • Surgical Infections including the gangrene and osteomyelitis
      • Tuberculosis
      • Clostridium difficile
      • Methicillin or Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, VRSA) positive

  • Ruptured aortic aneurysm
  • Recent major surgery
  • Please note that BMI screening is in effect. We require accurate height and weight at time of death. Our height restriction is 6’2” and our weight restriction is 220 lbs. BMI Calculator

Downloadable Forms for Body Donation

Please complete all forms from the list below:

The forms are to be completed and returned to the Body Donation Program, Anatomy Department. Please have a copy of your documents available to the next-of-kin or executor, with whom it is strongly advised that the potential donor discuss their wishes. Following a donor’s death, the next-of-kin or executor must be able to act immediately on their behalf. Timing is crucial.

Substitute Decision

The Estate Executor or the Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POA) can complete the form on behalf of the donor or rescind it, as per the wishes of the family. Part II of the Bequeathal Form must be filled out by the executor in order to donate the body. The executor must provide a copy of the will or POA to the Anatomy Program.

Body Donation vs. Organ Donation

Can someone donate their body to a School of Anatomy and their organs for transplant? No. Organ donation is impossible if a body is donated for education and research. Organ donation and the body donation program are not compatible.

Further information regarding organ donation can be obtained from Trillium Gift of Life Network (not affiliated with CMCC):

Trillium Gift of Life Network
984 Bay Street, Suite 503, Toronto, ON M5S 2A5
Phone: 416-921-1130 Toll-free: 1-800-263-2833

Body Donation Timeline

CMCC retains the body for a period of three years, based on family consent. Depending on the needs of the Anatomy Department and the number of donations received, families may be asked for an extension of the donation.

At the end of its educational service, the remains are cremated. Should the family wish, the cremated remains can be returned to the family. The next-of-kin can pick up cremated remains for a private burial from St. James Cemetery & Crematorium office, or the remains can be interred in the CMCC plot at the St. James cemetery. When the educational component is completed, the remains are cremated. If the family wishes, ashes can be returned to them at this point. All that is required is that the family, donor or executor fill out the Ashes Returned Form. If the family does not wish the return of ashes, they will be buried in the CMCC plot at St. James Cemetery in Toronto.

St. James’ Cemetery & Crematorium
635 Parliament Street
Toronto, Ontario
M4X 1R1, Canada
Telephone: 416-964-9194

Memorial Service.
A memorial service is held at the end of each academic year to honour those who have generously donated their bodies. Family, friends, students, faculty, and staff are all invited to attend an annual Memorial Service at St. James’ Cemetery in Toronto.
We are holding our services on the last Thursday of June each year. Services are being held at St. James Chappel ( and the CMCC Memorial Tombstone, commemorating our donors’ contributions to chiropractic education and research.

At the Time of Death

Due to the time-sensitive nature of the donation process, a traditionally held funeral service for family and friends, with the body present, is impossible. For those families who wish to have a memorial service at the time of death, we recommend a service without the body.

As soon as possible, the next-of-kin or executor must contact MacKinnon & Bowes Ltd at 416 465 7508 or 1 800 268 6736. Their representatives will work in consultation with the Anatomy Department at CMCC to determine whether the body is suitable for donation and will make arrangements to transport the body to CMCC.

At this time, if the donor has not completed the Bequeathal Form and Memorial Plaque forms, the next-of-kin or executor must fill out Part II of the form, as well as the Return of Ashes form, and send them to the Anatomy Department at CMCC.

A physician or coroner must issue a Medical Proof of Death Certificate upon a donor's death. The estate executor must immediately notify McKinnon and Bowes Funeral Home at 416 465 7508 or 1 800 268 673. They answer telephone calls 24/7.

If the donor’s body is acceptable and required, McKinnon and Bowes will make the necessary arrangements to transport the body from the place of death to CMCC.

CMCC will cover transportation costs within the GTA. If the body is located outside of the GTA, the estate may incur transportation costs payable when billing is received from the Anatomy Department.

The estate executor must provide the donor's documentation to McKinnon and Bowes for death registration.

The Anatomy Department does not deliver the bodies and does not process death registration.

Celebration of Life Memorial Plaque

In 2010, CMCC was approached by the Holtom family, to provide permanent recognition within CMCC to honour those who have made such impactful donations. CMCC is pleased to show its appreciation to those individuals who have helped us in our efforts to produce quality health care practitioners.

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
CMCC Department of Anatomy
Body Donation Program
6100 Leslie Street
Toronto, ON
M2H 3J1

Telephone: 647-805-2042
Facsimile: 647-417-7033

To Report a Death (open 24/7):
MacKinnon & Bowes
416 465 7508
1 800 268 6736

General Inquiries:
Body Donation Program: Body Donation Program