Funeral in Canada: How Much Does It Cost To Die?
|How Much Does It Cost To Die In Canada? Average Costs For Burial and Cremation. Photo KnowInsiders
How much does the average funeral cost in Canada in 2022?
The cost of a funeral or cremation is influenced by where it takes place. As with real estate, automobiles, food and pretty much everything else, how much you pay for goods and services varies according to where you are.
Funeral costs in Canada can be as low as $1,000 or as high as $20,000, with the average around $9,150.
The average price varies by city and province, and that cost does not include cemetery property or burial charges.
That cost includes:
-transfer of the loved one from home, hospital or hospice and into the funeral home’s care at any time, on any day
-transportation of the loved one to the funeral home
-embalming and other care and preparation for the visitation
-a metal casket
-the time of a funeral director and other staff to plan and manage a viewing and memorial service
-use of the funeral home’s chapels, family rooms, visitation rooms, outdoor spaces and reception areas
-completing all paperwork, securing necessary permits and death certificates
-basic printed materials, such as service folders and guest book
-use of a hearse
-coordination of bereavement rites, services and ceremony
-coordination and placement of funeral flowers and/or charity donations
-coordination of an online or newspaper obituary
After-death costs and arrangementsDeath certificate ($15-$22) and registration (About $55)
Your death (or your loved one’s death) needs to be legally registered so death certificates can be issued and the process of applying for benefits, claiming insurance, and settling the estate can begin. The registration and certificate costs will vary by municipality and the number of certificates ordered.
Transfer services ($100+)
This fee varies based on how many transfers are necessary and the distance involved with each transfer. For example, transfer services may be required to move the body from its place of death or transport it to a cemetery or crematorium. But keep in mind that you don’t have to use a formal transfer service unless you need to move the body out-of-province, which leads to much higher costs.
Shroud, casket, or urn ($0-$3,000+)
Do you need a casket or an urn? Do you want the container to be simple or ornate? Or do you want to skip both options altogether? Your answers will dictate the price. Depending on the cemetery, you may be able to bury a body without a casket and instead wrap it in a shroud; or, depending on the crematorium, you may be able to use your own container. And while funeral homes already offer a selection of urns and caskets, you’re free to buy one elsewhere. (FYI, Costco and Walmart sell both.)
Body preparation ($125-$525)
This consists of bathing the body, applying cosmetics (if desired), and shrouding or dressing it. As a form of preparation, you can also embalm the body to preserve it between death, visitation, and burial or cremation. However, while embalming is recommended, it’s not always required (depending on the province).
*Formal ceremonies (visitation, memorial, funeral) plus staffing fees (the average funeral cost in Canada is $2,000 and beyond)
Why do funerals cost so much?
Almost like a wedding, a funeral requires a great deal of effort to organize—but it often happens in a very short amount of time. It's no small feat to bring a large group of people together to remember and celebrate. Few would attempt to plan a wedding in less than a week, but the very things that go into wedding planning are all part of funeral planning.
From announcements, flowers, catering, music, transportation, venues, speeches, videos and event planning—not to mention completing paperwork for death certificates and obtaining permits for transportation, burial or cremation—there can be many costs involved in a funeral.
There’s a lot of value in being able to coordinate all those parts while comforting a family who is experiencing one of the worst times of life. In fact, when it's done well, with attention to detail and in a manner that seems effortless, our families tell us it's priceless.
What are average burial costs in Canada?
When it comes to trying to establish average burial costs, the question is more “how long is a piece of string?” There are so many considerations related to the type of casket, casket liner, vault, cemetery plot, grave marker, etc, etc. In the case of a burial, embalming is an additional cost, plus dressing, a viewing, vehicles required, services of a celebrant, and the list goes on.
At a stressful time, all these questions and choices can be so daunting that the bereaved often are so overwhelmed, that the stock answer is “just do a good turnout for her”. A “good turnout” in the case of the price for a traditional burial can start at around $5,000 but can quite easily amount to a cost of $15,000.
What are the average cremation costs in Canada?
As a very general guide, a cremation is likely to cost a quarter of the cost of a burial. The cost of a simple, direct cremation in Canada can start at around $800, whereas a cremation with a service, and extra disbursements (obit notice, viewing, funeral flowers, etc), may cost in the region of $4,500.
As mentioned above, cremation service costs will vary depending upon your province and area. For example, a low-cost cremation can be obtained in some areas of Quebec for as little $587, in Vancouver for $995, and in Toronto for $1,500, whereas in New Brunswick a simple cremation can cost almost $3,000.
According to the Cremation Association of North America, the cremation rate was around 73% in 2019, and with this continuing to rise it appears that cremation is by far the more popular choice for families today.
Cremation is generally cheaper
The lower cost of cremation could be one of the factors influencing Canadians' changing end-of-life decisions.
Research from Tom Niebuhr's InMemory database suggests that on average, a burial costs between $5,000 and $10,000 in Canada. A cremation, his team found, costs considerably less — from $2,000 to $5,000.
"Cost definitely plays into that decision," said Turgeon, who worked in the funeral home industry for 16 years before transitioning to cemeteries.
Just because cremation tends to be less expensive than burial doesn't mean it's cheap, said Kirstie Smolyk, a funeral director and vice president of Park Memorial Funeral Home in Edmonton.
"We see families come in here that choose cremation and they have a visitation beforehand, they're embalming their body and spending time with their loved one because that's important to them," she said.
At Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a single niche in an outdoor columbarium costs more than $6,000. Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery charges $55,000 for customized family columbaria.
Even families who choose to keep remains at home can spend hundreds of dollars on urns made of materials like marble, copper and bronze.
What happens if you can’t afford a funeral in Canada?
There’s some financial assistance for that. If you cannot pay for a loved one’s transfer, funeral, burial, or cremation on your own, you can apply for aid from your local municipality.
For example, the city of Toronto offers a funeral expense benefit to deceased Toronto residents “who pass away while receiving assistance from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).” Deceased residents who can’t cover their funeral costs with the money in their estate may also qualify for this benefit. Just remember that if financial assistance is required, the arrangements will have to be simple, basic, and budget-friendly.
But oftentimes, that’s all we need anyway.
Average Funeral Costs Per Province in Canada
|Burial Costs in Canada
British Columbia – $1,000 to $12,000. The professional service fee funeral directors charge usually covers transportation of the deceased, death certificate, registration and all the necessary documents.
Alberta – $4000 to $12,000, with the majority costing about $6000.00 – $8000.00.
Saskatchewan – The average cost is about $7,775. This includes a traditional funeral, casket and vault. Cemetery costs, the plot, opening and closing the grave and a grave marker can easily cost another $1,500 to $2,500.
Manitoba – A traditional burial (including a casket, funeral and cemetery costs) averages about $7,000 to $10,000. A $100 surcharge applies to graves dug during the winter.
Ontario – $1,500 to $20,000. Personal preference plays a big role in how a funeral will cost.
Quebec – A typical traditional funeral and burial costs about $9,000.
New Foundland and Labrador – Average funeral costs about $8,000, not including cemetery costs, plot, marker or opening and closing the grave, which can all add up to about another $1,500 to $2,500.
Nova Scotia – The average cost of a traditional funeral is $10,495.
New Brunswick – Funerals in New Brunswick cost about $9,000.
Prince Edward Island – Typical funerals and burials are about $9,000.
Does funeral insurance exist in Canada?
Either you, your insurance company, or those who survive you, like your spouse/partner, children, or parents, will be responsible for covering your funeral expenses in Canada.
If you plan with a life insurance policy, the death benefit paid out by your insurance provider can help cover your funeral and after-death costs. Just pay your premium now, and you can spare your family the stress of handling those funeral bills later — unless you want your life insurance benefit earmarked for other expenses. Like your mortgage. Or maybe your children’s education.
In that case, you have another option: plan and pay for your after-death arrangements in advance of your death. So, right now.
“Only about 10-15% of people pre-plan and pre-pay for their funeral costs,” says Vandermeersch. “But it’s definitely something that people should do more often. Get the information ahead of time and even pay ahead of time to alleviate the stress on the people they leave behind.”
But you’ll probably have to pay for everything on your own if you take this route, and you may even need to opt for a financing plan. In other words, this is one time when being proactive may not benefit you.
Do I need to purchase a casket for a cremation?
A casket is NOT required for the purposes of a cremation. Most provinces stipulate that a ‘rigid, combustible container’ must be used. To minimize costs this basic container can be a rigid cardboard or simple wooden container. It is going to be cremated anyway.
A simple cardboard container is generally charged at anything between $50 and $400. Some cremation providers include this in their direct cremation price, but others do not, so be sure to check.
If you are opting to hold a service and require a casket, it is possible to rent a casket. Many funeral homes offer this service and charge a fee for the rental. This helps them cover cleaning and maintenance costs for the rental casket. The cost to rent a casket is anywhere between $300 and $800.
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