Cemetery and Funeral Services FAQs

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If you have questions regarding funeral services, cemeteries, or crematorium, please review the FAQs below. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact us.

Q. When someone passes away, who can make decisions about disposition?

Q. I have a piece of land where someone wishes to be buried, what do I need to put in place before this can be done?

Q. Can cremated remains be scattered or buried on any piece of property?

Q. Can a person have their pets cremated remains interred with them?

Q. Can cemeteries refuse to install a marker purchased from a different supplier than the cemetery?

Q. What is the role of a funeral provider?

Q. Are prices for funeral, cremation, or cemetery services fixed throughout BC or does it differ between providers?

Q. How much time do I have to cancel a funeral contract?

Q. How do I choose a funeral home?

Q. What do I do if I have a complaint about funeral services?

When someone passes away who has control of disposition?

Section 5 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act lists the order of priority in determining who can make decisions regarding final arrangements -
  1. the personal representative named in the will of the deceased;
  2. the spouse of the deceased;
  3. an adult child of the deceased;
  4. an adult grandchild of the deceased;
  5. if the deceased was a minor, a person who was a guardian who had care and control of the deceased at the date of death;
  6. a parent of the deceased;
  7. an adult sibling of the deceased;
  8. an adult nephew or niece of the deceased;
  9. an adult next of kin of the deceased, determined on the basis provided by section 23 (5) of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act;
  10. the minister under the Employment and Assistance Act, or if the Public Guardian and Trustee is administering the estate of the deceased under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, the Public Guardian and Trustee;
  11. an adult person having a personal or kinship relationship with the deceased, other than those referred to in paragraphs (b) to (d) and (f) to (i).

I have a piece of land where someone wishes to be buried, what do I need to put in place before this can be done?

A person can only be buried in land that has been designated as a place of interment (burial) which is typically a cemetery. However, it is possible to register a Certificate of Public Interest for burial on private land. Please contact Consumer Protection BC's licensing office for information on this process.

Can cremated remains be scattered or buried on any piece of property?

Remains must be given to the person who has been authorized to make decisions on behalf of the deceased (control of disposition). If the deceased has stated in a will where they would prefer the ashes to be scattered or buried, this must be honored. The cremated remains can be scattered on private or public property although permission should be granted by the land owner or the government body who oversees those lands.

Can a person have their pets cremated remains buried with them?

Cemeteries are currently used only for human purposes and therefore cremated remains of pets may not be buried along with human remains.

Can cemeteries refuse to install a marker purchased from a different supplier than the cemetery?

As long as the marker complies with the cemetery’s bylaws, a cemetery may not refuse to install a memorial purchased elsewhere. Contact the municipality of the cemetery in order to find out what those bylaws are.

What is the role of a funeral provider?

A funeral provider or undertaker is licensed under the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act to own and operate a funeral home and to provide funeral services. The funeral provider picks up the deceased, provides a container or casket, prepares the body for burial or cremation, arranges the funeral or memorial service, arranges transportation to the crematory or to the cemetery and arranges the graveside service, if required. The price for funeral services does not include the sale of a cemetery lot, a grave, crypt or niche or the sale of a memorial marker a headstone, tombstone, monument or plaque. A cemetery operator sells lots and a memorial dealer sells markers.

Are prices for funeral, cremation, or cemetery services fixed throughout BC or does it differ between providers?

Although pricing for funeral services are not regulated and can therefore vary widely, funeral providers are required to display a current price list of all the services and products they offer. They must give the information over the phone upon request.

Please visit our “Planning a Funeral” page for things to keep in mind when making arrangements.

How much time do I have to cancel a funeral contract?

A preneed cemetery or funeral services contract may be cancelled at any time by the purchaser or by the personal representative of the deceased. Depending on the timing you may only be refunded 80% plus interest depending on the terms of the contract.

You should receive a copy of the contract within 15 days of signing it. If you don’t receive a copy within this amount of time, you have the right to cancel. If you receive the contract after this length of time, you have up to 30 days from the date it was received to cancel. Your notice of cancellation must be delivered in person or sent by registered mail. This also applies to the purchase of an interment right.

Please visit our “Cancellation Rights for Preneed Contracts” page for more information on cancellation of a preneed contract.

How do I choose a funeral home, crematorium or cemetery

This is a personal choice and there are many factors you should consider.  Funeral homes, crematoria and cemeteries must be licensed with Consumer Protection BC. Click here to confirm a licence. You can also read general consumer information about funeral services on our blog



What do I do if I have a complaint about funeral services?

If you have a complaint about funeral services please contact us. We can provide information about your rights under the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act (CIFSA). If your complaint is not under our consumer protection law, we may be able to provide referrals that may be able to help you.