How much does a funeral cost in Canada?

Mature woman checking bills and expenses at home

Funerals are a chance to honour a life. It’s impossible to place a monetary value on the people we love, so knowing what to spend on the event marking the end of their life – let alone your own – is a challenge.

There are a lot of choices to make, both when planning for what you want and when choosing how to honour a loved one. But whether you’re looking at a traditional service, a simple cremation, or a grand celebration of life, keeping money in mind is usually essential.

How much money does a funeral cost?

If you’ve ever planned a dinner party, wedding, 50th birthday bash, retirement party or any other event, you’ll know your bank account can take quite a hit.

Funerals are no exception. Details big and small can all add to the final bill.

The estimates for what that final bill might look like in Canada vary. Davide Pisanu, CEO of Toronto-based online estate planning company ClearEstate estimates the average funeral to cost $6,000 to $7,000.

“It's not inconsequential,” he says. “Your average family doesn't have $7,000 laying around.”

Meanwhile, Ottawa-area estate lawyer Ian Kuehl has seen bills for about $10,000 among his clients who act as executors for their loved ones.

In short, there’s no black and white answer for how much a funeral will cost. The price tag can change greatly based on where you live, where you pass away, and where your family will gather.

However, what is clear is that even with the simplest services, funerals are a major expense for most of us – and one you likely don’t want to burden your family with if you can help it.

What services do funeral costs cover?

In a country as diverse as ours, life can look very different from one family to the next. Funerals are no different. Religious views, culture, financial circumstances and even where you live in relation to the people you care about most are just a few considerations that play a role in funeral planning.

Funeral service providers in your province may have minimum service charges, that cover the cost to transport a body, as well as burial, cremation, or hydrolysis. You can request a general price list from providers to see itemized costs. Your province’s consumer protection agency may have more recommendations about what to look for when selecting a funeral service provider.

Typically, funeral homes will include the following services in a traditional funeral package or end-of-life celebration service that includes a burial:

  • Transporting the body to the funeral services provider
  • Embalming and preparations services
  • The casket
  • Transportation to the cemetery for the burial
  • Managing the logistics of the funeral services
  • Registering the death and obtaining the burial permit
  • Coordinating with local newspapers to share obituaries or announcements so that friends and family members can send their condolences and loving messages

However, it’s important to note that there may be surprise costs that sneak up. Cemetery plots, grave markers, and the burial could be included as separate charges. A burial may also cost more in the winter when the ground is frozen.

Other big-ticket items might include flowers, food and drink at the reception, and keepsakes for your loved ones to remember you after you have passed.

Cremation can reduce costs – and it’s on the rise in Canada

Cremations are growing in popularity around the world, and Canadians are leading the charge.

According to recent survey by Statista (2021), 73% of Canadians chose to forgo burials in favour of cremations in 2020. As CBC News reported at that time, “costs, choice and weakening religious ties” have been driving the change.

Cremation can be the less expensive choice. According to CBC’s reporting in 2020, while a burial costs between $5,000 and $10,000 in Canada, a cremation is around $2,000 to $5,000. Keep in mind that costs may increase over time and might be different depending on where you live.

Not only are cremations a more pocket-friendly alternative to the costly traditional funeral, but many people are also drawn to the flexibility and custom approach they offer. After all, your end-of-life celebration should reflect your personality, culture, and values.

How do I make sure that my funeral costs will be taken care of?

Arranging for your funeral can be an emotionally difficult process. However, there’s at least one big benefit: preparing for your end-of-life costs now can take the guesswork out of the process for your family down the line.

Take the time now to have conversations with your loved ones about your wishes, including how to pay for them. It may not be the most pleasant conversation topic, but it’s an important one to raise to protect your loved ones.

Make life easier for your loved ones with final expenses insurance

Protecting your family from funeral costs and other financial burdens after you go is simpler than you may think. Request a quote for FiftyUp Final Expenses Insurance today.