Typically when someone makes funeral arrangements, they rely on a licensed funeral home to perform the services and the transportation of a departed loved one. However, sometimes we get requests from individuals who want to take personal responsibility for the transfer of remains of a loved one to a funeral home, crematorium or a cemetery. If you are considering the option of a private transfer, there are processes to follow to make sure that the handling of the remains is done in a safe, dignified and respectful manner.

The following information is for the legal representative of the deceased. There are rules in BC that outline who has the final say around what happens to a loved one’s remains once they have passed on. Learn more about who gets to decide.

Have the paperwork in place:

Following a death, the remains must be transferred to their final destination as soon as possible. As the legal representative of the deceased, you will get a Medical Certificate of Death from the medical practitioner or Coroner.

You must also contact Vital Statistics to register the death. You will be given a Burial Permit (officially called a Disposition Permit and Acknowledgement of Registration of Death and a Death Certificate from Vital Statistics. This information must be given to the cemetery or crematorium before they can be buried or cremated.

Get permission for a private transfer:

Then you must submit a Private Transfer Permit Application to our office for approval. This application ensures that all proper procedures are followed. This form must be approved by our office before the private transfer can happen.

Follow the requirements when transferring the deceased:

During transportation, the deceased must be placed in an enclosed rigid, leak-proof container and not visible to the public. Also, the person transferring the remains must be in the vehicle or it must be locked and secure at all times. These rules are outlined in section 12 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and sections 4 & 5 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation

Consider your obligations if transferring to another jurisdiction:

A private transfer permit is only valid while transferring a deceased within British Columbia. If you are going outside of British Columbia, permits must also be obtained from other jurisdictions.

Know what is required if transferring to a crematorium:

Not all crematoriums can receive private transfers so it’s a good idea to check with them ahead of time to find out what is possible. 

A death can often result in many difficult decisions being made in a very short period of time. By knowing your obligations beforehand, a private transfer allows family and friends options on how to bring a deceased to their final resting place. 

Where to go for more information

Certain aspects of funeral services are regulated in BC to protect you during this challenging time. Funeral services are governed in BC under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (and regulations) and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation. We oversee those laws and funeral homes and funeral directors must hold a licence with us.

For more information about the funeral services rules in BC, visit the funeral services section of our website.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific sectors and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.