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Cemetery & Funeral Services

Posted on
06 February 2014
  • Comments (12)

Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?

Written by  Melaina

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Death: it’s a sensitive topic that many of us shy away from until we’re forced to make difficult end-of-life arrangements. In this blog post, prepare yourself for the future and discover some of the rights you have when it comes to cemetery and funeral services – for instance, did you know you can supply your own casket, as long as it meets certain requirements?

Determining who has rights of disposition
In BC, a hierarchy exists for the control of rights of disposition when someone passes away. For example, the law states that first rights go to the personal representative named in the will, next is the spouse and then to an adult child of the deceased (oldest first). For the full list, visit our website.

Who has the right to move of your loved one after death?
Before transferring a body, by law, a funeral home must have verbal or written authorization from the person who has the rights of disposition (see the paragraph above). You can also find out about private transfers on our website here.

Spreading of ashes
By law, if you’ve stated in a will that you’d like your ashes spread in a certain location, that wish must be honoured (as long as your request is not unreasonable). Cremated remains can be scattered on private or public property, although permission should be granted by the landowner or the government body who oversees those lands.

Pricing disclosures
Funeral services providers operating in BC are required, by law, to display a current price list of all the offered services and products. This list must be accessible by the public and a copy must be provided to any consumer who asks for it.

Supplying your own casket or urn
Under BC’s cemetery and funeral services law, you have the right to supply your own casket for interment or cremation as long as it meets certain requirements (such as the ability to be closed, hold weight and be sufficiently sealed). Similarly, you also have the right to supply your own container to hold the cremated remains of your loved one.

There is more to learn about BC’s cemetery and funeral services industry, and your rights as a consumer. For more information, visit our online web portal at

Last modified on 14 July 2015


Melaina works in communications and marketing for Consumer Protection BC. She is our regular blogger and is always looking for topics of interest to BC consumers.  Feel free to ask a question related to any of our posts by posting a comment!




12 February 2014
What are the legalities of being buried on private property? My ideal resting place would be on my families land, but I get the impression that there must be a law against it, as I never hear of anyone doing this.


12 February 2014
Hi Shirley, In order to bury remains on private property, the land would need to become a licensed cemetery. If you have more questions, please visit the "Help for Business" section of our website andor feel free to call our Licensing department at 1-888-777-4393.

hilda lehto

26 April 2016
My parent prepaid their funeral expenses...or they thought they did they told us all we had to do was contact this certain place and everything was done.... except when our father passed away I had to go pic our the plot and order the head stone and put the notice in the paper...and pay an extra $3500..... this company basically did nothing that was agreed to except pic up my fathers body and have it cremated.....I would like to take my mothers arrangements somewhere else when she passes...but apparently it can't be done.... What I am wondering is why can't these people be made to do what they agreed to do on the y info would be a great help thanx...Hilda Lehto


27 April 2016
Hi hilda, thank you for your question. It's our understanding that a pre-need cemetery or funeral services contract may be cancelled at any time by the purchaser or by the personal representative of the deceased; however, you may lose up to 20% of the total cost of the contract. We do have more information on pre-need contract on our blog posts, here and here

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at our toll free number, 1-888-564-9963.

Hilda Lehto

28 April 2016
they have told us the contract can not be stopped or changed cause the funds are in trust till they pass on...but mainly my question is "can these people be made to do what they were paid to do" as this firm only picked up body and had it cremated and for that they took $1200.....and we had to do everything else and pay another $ really left us feeling like my parents were taken advantage of this funeral home...for instance they charged my father $150. for a news paper advert...then told me I had to do it myself and pay for it....and it came to $275.00...they charged for the plot and then we were told we needed more money for that and more money for head stone etc etc


28 April 2016
Hi Hilda, Can you call us at our toll free number, 1-888-564-9963? We would like to get more details from you so we can assist you better. Thank you, Hilda.


16 May 2016
when I die ,I wish to be cremated, I live in bc.
I wish my ashes be sent to be interned in my wifes grave in ontario.
if I pay for the cremation before I die,Will the funeral home charge me for sending my ashes to the cemetry where my wife is.
or will I have to arrange other means.
thank you.


17 May 2016
Hi Jim, thank you for posting this question. We have a blog post that covers the topic of mailing cremated remains, the link to the post is here - I’m not certain if a funeral home would mail cremated remains or not, you may want to ask them directly. Your wish may have to be specified in your will, however Consumer Protection BC does not have any authority over this topic so you may want to check all of the details with a lawyer. I hope this information helps.


06 December 2016
36 years ago my first baby died shortly after birth. My husband and I were in shock and in a hospital away from our home. Since then I have been suffering ptsd from this event. With my psychiatrist's support I have tried several times, many different ways, to find out how the hospital "disposed" of my baby's body. I have birth and death registrations and an autopsy report. I've been through the proper channels with the hospital (who thinks my file got lost) as well as with the coroner's office. Is there anything else I can do to find out?


06 December 2016
Oh Elizabeth, I am so very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you've gone through all the proper channels, and the only other thing that comes to mind is seeking legal advice. I'm so sorry I don't have a better answer for you, Elizabeth.


25 February 2017
A simple cremation of my mom is costing us about $2500. Is there any way we can reduce these costs? Are we forced to pay, for e.g. the meeting with the funeral director $350. registration $375. "sheltering' the body $375. Cardboard box instead of an urn for ashes $150. it goes on and on. thanks.


28 February 2017
Hi Catherine, thank you for your questions and I'm sorry about the loss of your mother. The laws that we oversee only speak to the disclosure of pricing. If your region has multiple funeral homes to choose from you may want to consider looking around for a better price. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful to you.

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