Is a Funeral Home Needed When you Opt for Cremation in Canada?

I only want cremation so I don’t need a funeral home, right?

No, actually that is incorrect.  Many people think that if they simply want their body to be cremated when they die, there is no need to involve a funeral home.  This is not correct.  The closest next of kin, legal representative or Estate Trustee needs to call a Funeral Home.

Let us take the most common scenario as 73% of deaths occur in a hospital setting. When a person dies, after the Estate Trustee has called the funeral home, then the funeral home will call the medical facility and ask if the decedent has been “released”.  This is the language used to ask if the medical certificate of death has been signed by the attending physician and that the hospital has completed the necessary paperwork to release the body to the funeral home.

The funeral home will provide a release form to the hospital for their records to certify that the funeral home is authorized to take charge of the remains and bring the decedent into the care of the funeral home.

Once the decedent is at the funeral home the legal representative or closest next of kin will provide the personal information of the decedent.  This information is required under the Vital Statistics Act for the province or territory in order to register the death.  During this appointment they will also sign a contract, a Cremation Application and a Statement of Death.

The funeral home will register the death with the local municipality, and in turn the municipality registers the death with the province or territory. The medical certificate of death is submitted along with a Statement of Death and neither of these documents may be copied.

During this time the funeral home will contact the Coroner to come to the funeral home, view the decedent and sign a completed Cremation Application.  As the Coroner has the highest authority in the Province or Territory, they are signing off that there is nothing suspicious that would require further investigation through the Coroner’s Office.

Once this paper work is completed, the decedent is placed in a cremation casket and then driven to the crematorium.  The cremation casket is placed into a gas retort. The retort is at 870 – 980 degrees C or 1,600 – 1,800 degrees F and takes between 3 – 4 hours to reduce the body and cremation casket to ash.

Families are welcome to transport their loved one from the place of death to a funeral home, make their own cremation container, and register the death, call the coroner, pay the coroner and deliver the deceased to the crematorium, wait for the cremation to be completed, pay the crematorium and then take the cremated remains unto their possession.

Most people do not want to do this themselves.  For a modest amount paid to the funeral home, all of these details are looked after for the family.  Their obligation is to provide the information, sign documents, pay the account and receive the cremated remains and proof of death certificates, unless of course, if the arrangements were made and prepaid ahead of time, then the legal representative’s obligation is to call the funeral home, make an appointment and sign the required documents.  Wow that sounds so much easier.


Kat Downey, 905-399-5341 or 905-717-9197

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