How Much Does a Funeral Cost in Canada?

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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on December 7, 2023

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated December 7, 2023

Visit author page

7 minute read

Article Contents
Funeral Costs in Canada

Death is an inevitable part of life, and when it happens, it’s important to give your loved one a proper send-off. However, the cost of a funeral can be overwhelming, so it’s essential to know what to expect when planning one.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the average funeral costs in Canada, the different expenses involved, and the various options you can use to pay for a funeral.

Average Funeral Costs in Canada by Province

The average cost of a funeral in Canada is between $8,000 to $9,000, but it largely depends on a variety of factors, such as your province’s cost of living, special burial requests, and even the season.

For example, the average funeral cost in Ontario is anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000. That figure could be even higher if you live in an expensive city like Toronto, as the cost of living in Toronto is quite high.

Burial requests and the time of year can also affect the cost. For example, a winter burial is, on average, $100 more expensive.

Let’s take a look at the average funeral costs by province. Keep in mind that these are standard costs – any unique requests or expensive burial options will cost more.

ProvinceCost
Ontario$5,000 – $15,000
Quebec$5,000 – $11,000
British Columbia$2,000 – $12,000
Alberta$4,000 – $12,000
Manitoba$5,000 – $10,000
Saskatchewan$7,000 – $11,000
New Brunswick$5,000 – $10,000
Newfoundland and Labrador$5,000 – $10,000
Nova Scotia$6,000 – $12,000
Prince Edward Island$6,000 – $11,000

Breakdown of Funeral Costs

Though money is likely the last thing anyone wants to think about when a loved one dies, funerals can get quite expensive, so it’s best to be prepared. If you’re asking, “How much does a funeral cost?”, take a look at the expenses involved below:

Death certificateCost
Registration$5,000 – $15,000
Transfer service$5,000 – $11,000
Funeral home$2,000 – $12,000
Church ceremony$4,000 – $12,000
Flowers$5,000 – $10,000
Reception$7,000 – $11,000
Cemetery costs$5,000 – $10,000
ESTIMATED TOTAL$5,000 – $10,000

Death Certificate and Registration Costs

When a death occurs in Canada, it needs to be registered with the appropriate local authorities. Usually, the funeral director is responsible for submitting the documents needed for a death certificate.

If you register within a year of the death, it’s free. After that, it costs $20-40.

Transfer Service Costs

Transfer services cover the cost of transporting the deceased to the funeral home. Transfers usually cost around $100. However, it could cost more depending on the area you live in, the total distance travelled (per km), the number of transfers, and whether an out-of-province transfer is required. If the transfer is from out-of-province, the cost is usually much higher.

Funeral Home Costs

Funeral homes can cost $7,000-8,000 if the deceased is cremated. That includes the fee for cremation, a cremation certificate, and registration of the death. It also includes the following:

  • The services of a funeral director
  • One three-hour visitation
  • An average-priced cremation container and urn
  • Online obituary for three months
  • Guest book, thank-you cards, and service orders

Keep in mind that funeral home costs can be much higher if the deceased is buried instead of cremated.

Church Costs

Church ceremonies can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000. The cost of a church ceremony includes fees for the priest, church attendant, musicians, and facilities.

This cost is optional and only applies if you’re holding the funeral in a church. If you’re a member of the church, the cost is often discounted or in the lower range.

Flower Costs

Though flowers are optional, many send or buy fresh flowers for a burial ceremony as a gesture to the deceased, symbolizing the ephemeral quality of life. Funeral floral arrangements typically cost $100-500.

Reception Costs

Families may want to meet with relatives and friends after a burial ceremony. Receptions are typically held either in a church, a separate venue, or at home. A reception at a church or a venue costs $1,500-1,800, while receptions held at home are free (other than the costs of food and drinks).

Cemetery Costs

Burying someone in a cemetery can be quite costly. It’s cheaper if the family already owns a plot in the cemetery, in which case you only need to pay around $1,500 to open and close the plot and add an inscription to an existing headstone. If you don’t own land, expect to pay upwards of $10,000 for a new plot, headstone, and inscription.

Funeral Costs in Canada

Paying For a Funeral

There are a few ways to pay for a funeral for a loved one. If you have the money, you can pay it all upfront yourself. However, the reality is that many people these days don’t have $5,000-10,000 lying around and might not be able to pay for it, especially if the death was sudden.

So, how do you pay for a funeral, and what happens if you can’t afford a funeral in Canada? Luckily, there are some options available. Let’s take a look at what you can do.

Savings

Saving up for death might be a bit of a morbid thought, but it goes a long way in helping your surviving family members deal with it easier.

If you’re able to save up for your or a loved one’s funeral, it would be a great service to your family – they won’t have to think about finding the money for an expensive funeral on top of dealing with grief. It’s also a gesture that shows your family you were thinking of them in the long run.

Pension and Benefits

If you’ve been paying a pension in Canada, your pension may cover the costs of a funeral. Here are some options for those with pensions:

Canada or Quebec Pension Plan Death Benefit

The Quebec Pension Plan (QCC) or the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) pays a one-time death benefit of $2,500 plus monthly payments to its contributors. The amount, paid either to eligible family members or the estate, can be used to help pay for a funeral.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

If your spouse died due to a workplace injury in Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will pay survivor’s benefits, which could help you cover the cost of the funeral. The benefits paid out vary depending on the plan.

Here’s what WSIB covers:

  • Survivor payments
  • Funeral costs
  • Transportation costs
  • Counselling
  • Burial awards
  • Support for a spouse looking to rejoin the workforce

Funeral Planning

Planning for a funeral can be overwhelming, especially if a loved one passes unexpectedly and their funeral arrangements aren’t taken care of. Whether you’re planning for your or a loved one’s funeral, here are some things you’ll need to think about:

Funeral Home

Finding the right funeral home is one of the first steps to planning a funeral. The right funeral home would be in a good location and provides services like arranging a memorial and coordinating with the cemetery. The funeral home director can also help you with the legal documents required, including getting the death certificate, requesting social security benefits, and filing for life insurance benefits.

Some homes even offer funeral planning services where they take care of all the arrangements for you. Though an expensive option, it’s the easier choice if you can afford it.

Cremation or Burial

You’ll need to decide whether you want a cremation or a burial. Direct cremations are the cheapest burial option available and involve cremating the deceased directly (or shortly) after death.

According to statistics from the Cremation Association of North America, cremation rates have risen drastically in the past 20 years. This is largely due to rising funeral costs and the added flexibility of cremations.

If you’re opting for a burial, you’ll need to secure a burial plot and headstone in your cemetery of choice. Also keep in mind that there are other fees involved in burying someone, such as fees for the funeral home, reception, one or more visitations, church, flowers, and the cemetery itself.

Coffin or Casket

The main difference between a coffin and a casket is that a casket is a rectangular box with hinges to lift the lid, while a coffin is a box with six sides and no hinges.

Both caskets and coffins can vary in price depending on the size and the materials used. Cheaper ones may be made from materials like cardboard. More expensive materials (like rare wood) naturally increase the cost.

Cemetary

If you’re opting for a cemetery burial, you’ll need to either buy or reserve a plot. Depending on the cemetery location, this can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Also, there are additional fees involved for digging, covering, and maintaining the grave.

Grave Marker or Headstone

You’ll also need to choose between a grave marker and a headstone. The main difference between the two is that a grave marker is laid on the ground on top of the grave, while a headstone is a traditional type that stands upright at the “head” of the grave.

Headstones are usually a lot more expensive than grave markers, but it depends on the materials and engraving used. For example, marble is more costly than granite, and specialized engraving costs more than a simple one.

Funeral Costs in Canada

Affordable Burial Options

Burial costs can quickly shoot up. Because of the rising costs of burials in Canada, more and more people are choosing direct cremation or expedited burials.

If you’re choosing the burial route, you have the following options:

  • Expedited burials: The body is buried immediately after securing a death certificate. It typically costs $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Direct cremation: The deceased is immediately cremated and the ashes are sent via mail. It is the cheapest option, costing $500 to $1,000.

What If You Can’t Afford a Funeral?

If you can’t afford a funeral in Canada, there are many Funeral Assistance Programs available to help you cover the costs.

If you’re not eligible to claim those benefits, your municipal or provincial government will help cover basic funeral costs. That includes paying for cremation or a casket and cemetery fees.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Bury Someone?

The cheapest way to bury someone is direct cremation, which costs up to $1,000. This covers the cost of cremating the deceased and does not include funeral services or a ceremony.

Alternatives to Traditional Burials

You’ve possibly heard about people being buried at sea or shot into space. These are considered unique end-of-life requests.

Below are some alternatives to traditional funerals:

Tree Burial

The most eco-friendly (and cheap) option, tree burials involve burying the deceased in a biodegradable pod and then growing a tree on top of it. Another option is cremating the body and burying the ashes in a biodegradable urn.

Ocean Burial

An ocean burial, or a burial at sea, is when a boat is chartered to take the deceased and the family out to sea and perform a burial there.

Space Burial

Likely the most expensive end-of-life request (by far), a space burial involves launching the ashes into space aboard a space shuttle.

Vinyl Compression

Vinyl compression is a relatively new concept. It involves pressing the deceased ashes into vinyl and recording a song or a message on it.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, funerals can be quite costly. However, with the right planning, they don’t have to be. For example, putting money aside monthly is one way you can prepare for end-of-life scenarios.

If you’re looking for a way to help cover funeral costs, prepare ahead of time. You can even buy a life insurance policy that ensures your family will be taken care of when you pass.

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