Did you know there’s a section in BC’s funeral services law that speaks to your rights and responsibilities when it comes to cremation? There are also requirements in place when it comes to containers if you or someone else is taking personal responsibility for transferring the remains of a loved one. We’re going to go over what information you should know about containers if you or a loved one has decided to be cremated and you choose to do a private transfer.

What is a private transfer and why does it matter?

Typically when we make funeral arrangements, we 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 wish to take personal responsibility for the transfer of remains of a loved one to a funeral home, crematorium or cemetery.

If you are considering the option of a private transfer, there are requirements in place to ensure the handling of the remains are done in a safe, dignified and respectful manner. For more information on this, take a look at our blog post on private transfers. Let’s explore how these requirements apply when it comes to containers for cremation:

You do NOT need to worry about specifications for containers if a funeral provider is handling the transfer of remains

Funeral providers are licensed professionals and they are obligated by law to follow certain regulations to ensure the proper transfer of remains.

You DO need to ensure you follow the requirements for a container for cremation if you are doing a private transfer

If you or a loved one has chosen to be cremated and you’re doing a private transfer, it is important to remember that the law in BC requires that remains are enclosed in a container. The law also has specific requirements for the containers that hold remains. Funeral homes will often have these containers available for purchase, should you choose to do a private transfer. Funeral providers are licensed professionals and they will ensure that the container you purchase meets all the regulatory requirements.

You can provide your own container

According to the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act, you are allowed to provide your own container. Funeral providers must not refuse to accept or handle a container that you supply to them (as long as it meets the requirements).

What are the requirements for containers?

These are the requirements for containers according to the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation:

  1. Must be strong enough to contain and move the remains
  2. Must prevent the remains from posing a health hazard
  3. Must be capable of being closed so the public cannot see the remains
  4. Must be constructed so that it does not leak
  5. Must be combustible and rigid

Containers used during cremations must also not contain: plastic, fiberglass, foam/styrofoam, rubber, polyvinyl chloride, or zinc.

Consumer Protection BC licenses and regulates funeral providers in BC, if you have any questions about any of the information we’ve provided above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries 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.


How to privately transfer your loved one following a death
Why it matters: knowing your options when picking out a casket or container
Have you had “the talk”? Steps to take & 5 tips about funeral services
Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?
Steps to take following a death