Choosing a coffin or an urn to hold the remains of a loved one is a very personal decision. Did you know there’s a section in BC’s funeral services law that speaks to your rights when it comes to making this type of purchase?

To understand Consumer Protection BC’s role with regards to the funeral and cemetery sector in BC, let’s first take a second to talk about the law. Our office is responsible for regulating the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation – these are laws that are in place to protect vulnerable consumers as it relates to the cemetery and funeral services sector. In this blog post, we’re going to focus on a small part of this law – your rights when selecting a coffin or an urn.

You can supply your own coffin or urn

Your licensed funeral home will have a selection of coffins and urns for you to choose. By law, you are allowed to supply your own coffin or urn (as long as it meets certain specifications). Now whether you choose to purchase it from another supplier or make it yourself is up to you, but do know it has to meet the requirements found in the Public Health Act, has to be strong enough to hold and move the human remains and can’t pose any health hazards. For full details and specifications, check out this part of the law. You will also want to ask the cemetery if they have size restrictions or charge extra fees.

You have the right to pricing information

A funeral provider’s showroom has to display at least six different containers (either as full or partial replicas), and one of them has to be their lowest-priced model. All of the containers must have clear price tags, too. If the funeral provider doesn’t have a separate room to display their coffins and urns, they have to share pricing information about the containers they sell in a public manner, such as in a book, in a brochure or online. Here’s the section of the law if you want to learn more.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Steps to take following a death
Your preneed cemetery or funeral services contract rights
Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?
Have you had “The Talk?” Top 5 things you need to know about funeral services
After-death care: who gets to decide?