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Cemetery & Funeral Services

Posted on
23 January 2017
  • Comments (2)

Selecting a coffin or an urn – know your rights

Written by  Shoko

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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.

There’s a lot to know on the topic of cemetery and funeral services, more information for consumers and business is available at We hope you found this information helpful.

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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?

Last modified on 23 January 2017


Shoko 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!




25 January 2017
Respectfully Shoko - typically in British Columbia and per the definition under the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act, consumers choose caskets or containers. Coffins are not widely used in North America and by design are quite different from a casket. The article advises to check with the Cemetery regarding size however it does not inform the consumer that a casket or container is required by law prior to the deceased being cremated - an important fact considering BC has the highest cremation rate in North America at 86%. Cremation containers or caskets must meet the requirements set in the regulations under Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act.


25 January 2017
Hello Janet,
Shoko is away this week so I'm responding on her behalf. Thank you for taking the time to comment! You are correct, the legislation uses the term container and it does specify that a container is required prior to cremation. The funeral law also speaks to the requirements - saying that it must meet the regulations and any requirements under the Public Health Act (including that it must be rigid and not leak).

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