Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's a booming business

So I did a little more research into the legalities and costs around cremation and all ... 

The Board of Funeral Services compiles statistics about the funeral sector based on information provided by licensees, education programs and the Ontario Government. They have quite the informative site and the following information was provided from them based on their fiscal year ending October 31, 2009.

According to their site, the average cost of services based on the current price list for a "direct disposition" is $1,626  This includes "the removal of the deceased from the place of death, the placement of the body in a container or casket, the delivery of the body to the cemetery or crematorium and the filing of necessary documentation. It does not include visitation or services with the body present."   Quite the deal when you compare it to the amount I was quoted by the lovely cemetery director I spoke to last week - but then, it is a business you know.

But wait!  You can get an even better deal at CremationCare Centre.  $1,412.39 will get you:
  • Transfer from place of death
    All documentation including 6 Proof of Death Certificates
  • Cardboard cremation container (but you can't weigh more than 200 lbs so it pays to stay healthy!)
  • A private family viewing room if desired
  • Transfer to the crematorium of choice 
  • Return of ashes to The CremationCare Centre
    All fees and taxes (Cremation Charge at Riverside Crematorium - other crematoria costs will vary, Coroners Fee, Death Registration and H.S.T.)
These guys don't require you to buy a fancy urn and will return the ashes in a small cardboard container at no charge to you.

Now, what do you do once you have the ashes?  The most cost effective thing to do is to scatter the ashes.  The lady I had spoken to had indicated this was illegal, or something to this effect.  However the government has actually gone to great pains to ensure people know that it is legal, stating:
"Any individuals or families who wish to scatter the cremated human remains of their loved ones on Crown land and Crown land covered by water in Ontario can do so.
Individuals and families are permitted to scatter on unoccupied Crown land, and those Crown lands covered by water. There is no need to obtain government consent to scatter on or in such areas, which include provincial parks and conservation reserves, and the Great Lakes. Individuals wishing to scatter on private land, or private land covered by water, should obtain the owner’s consent."  (October 15, 2010)

The next thing I was told was that it would be legally required when selling property to disclose if ashes had been scattered there.  I haven't found any Canadian laws stating this but am awaiting a reply and will update in the comments if this turns out to be true.

So there you have it - you can get your remains taken care of for about $1,500 Personally I would much prefer my family to enjoy whatever money I can leave behind for them than to see them sink it into the ground.  That's me though - and my family knows I'm all about frugal.  I don't need a monument or a graveside to be remembered at once a year - I'd like a Celebration of Life and to be remembered in the small things throughout the year.


  1. If you wanted to save an additional $20 or so, maybe you could provide your own "Cardboard cremation container" -- like maybe if you'd just bought a new fridge or something you could just reuse that box!

  2. Good idea!! That would suck to die right after buying a brand new fridge though...

  3. The genealogist in me cringes at the thought of no monument/headstone/whatever. I owe an entire line of my direct ancestry to the information inscribed on a marker. Now, people don't put as much information on them as they used to which is why I've given Rick specific instructions on what information to include.

  4. Jenn, that is a really excellent point. Back when I was doing a lot of research and visiting cemeteries (not my favourite thing!) I really wanted to have a fabulous headstone myself as I saw the value of it.

    I wonder though with all the technology and electronic traces we're leaving of ourselves everywhere if it will be ok since we can get that information another way? Though of course you'd have to know what you're looking for and wouldn't find more clues about a family because of who all was buried together.

  5. Maybe in the little flower holder you could leave a USB key or better yet a URL or even better a QR code so people could just download everything about you afterwards... That's a great idea actually... Hmm :)

  6. I do think that current record keeping/Internet will make things easier for future generations, but there is something to be said for a physical marker, something you can touch.

  7. Thanks "6cdb83be-7465-11e0-b23b-000bcdcb471e" for the creative suggestion :-) I think it's great to get people thinking outside the overpriced box...

    Jenn, I am absolutely with you when it comes to the genealogical aspect and something physical. I just really don't want to spend what I consider too much money on something like this, it's just my personal preference. I totally respect that most people do want some sort of physical marker to remember them by. I think our kids are very much physical markers of our presence :-)

  8. That's true, but we have nothing for Nanny. She didn't want anything, so we respected those wishes, but I know I would have liked something somewhere that I could visit when I needed to.

    Just don't lose sight of the fact that when you are gone your children might want a different way of remembering you, and as important as your wishes are I'm sure you want them to grieve in the way that feels right for them.

    Thank goodness I have a mini urn with a portion of her ashes. That's my something somewhere for now.

  9. It's definitely a challenge to consider how to balance my wishes with those my children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren??) may have when I pass away.

    I agree that the funeral/celebration of life and interment/scattering of ashes is so much more for the living than for the one who has departed.

    I'm thinking my beliefs about what happens after death play into this a lot for me. Since my body would just be an empty shell, with my spirit gone to Heaven, then I see no need to fuss over it. From my experience with Christian funerals it really has been a celebration of life - with the understanding that not only is the loved one in a much better place, but that we will see them again one day if we have accepted Jesus as our Saviour.

    Hopefully that gives a little more context to where I'm coming from with my final wishes... I'm hoping to spend time writing out the songs and verses I'd like used too and may share that in a post when I get to it...

  10. My plan is to have a Green Burial. I really hated going to funerals in my family and seeing what they had done to them (the bodies).

    There are no markers for this type of burial, but everything is carefully tracked.

  11. Thanks for the natural burial link. I just had a look at the first page and it looks interesting. I plan to read up some more :-)

  12. I think they're awesome. I wish more cemetaries offered this.

  13. Just read through this. What a beautiful way to provide closure for the living in a way that does not contribute to damaging our environment. I'd like to know more about costs though since there is nothing listed on that.

  14. I can't remember exactly. I think the average funeral home costs $7000 but a Green funeral costs about $3000.

    I prefer the principle to follow the natural cycle of life by returning the body to the earth and embracing the Biblical philosophy of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." It sounds a bit silly given I'm not really a Christian like my husband. But it just seems to me that my body should return to the earth.

  15. Thanks. I've sent an email to them asking for an itemized list. You're right, it just sounds more like what should happen to close the cycle of life.