Cremation Costs in 2021

The cremation rate in Canada in 2019 was around 73%, according to a survey by Statista (2019), which also predicted it will rise to around 77% by 2023. This displays a huge shift away from traditional burial funeral to cremation, and as such we can expect to see a shift in the cost of cremation also as funeral homes respond to the increased demand. It is certainly easy to see why cremation has become a more popular funeral option as the cost of a ‘direct’ or ‘basic’ cremation is considerably less than a traditional burial. Furthermore, the ease of shopping around online for a cheaper funeral price has likely contributed to more people choosing a cremation, as it is easy to compare and see the difference in cost without even ever having to speak to or visit a funeral home.

This leads us to an important question: we hear a lot at Canadian Funeral online, ‘what does a cremation cost?’ and more specifically ‘what will a cremation cost in 2021?’. With this in mind, we have put together this guide to cremation costs to help you understand what average cremation costs to expect and how this cost is broken down.

Cremation service

What is the average cost of a cremation in Canada?

The main issue with trying to quote the average price of a cremation is that cremation costs vary greatly from province to province and even from area to area. Some provinces have much greater cremation costs than others. Generally, this is the result of higher energy costs, a less competitive cremation market, and a lower cremation rate. Cremation can differ by $100’s or even $1000’s within the same province, or even within the same city.

According to research from Tom Niebuhr’s InMemory database, a burial in Canada costs between $5,000 and $10,000 on average. On the other hand, a cremation costs between $2,000 to $5,000, but can cost even less than this. It is important to understand what is included in the cremation price so that you can compare prices on a local level, ensuring you are comparing the same services.

If you need to find the cost of a simple, direct cremation in your local area, please visit DFS Memorials and select your province and city.

How can I compare cremation costs near me?

If you wish to establish what is the average cost of a cremation in your area, first you need to ensure you are comparing the same service against the same service. For instance, whether you are comparing ‘direct’ cremation against ‘direct’ cremation, or a cremation with a service.

As the market for cremation grows, more and more providers are offering more affordable cremation services. This allows them to remain competitive, and so that they can conduct enough cremations to make up a profit margin.  The shift to cremation services at lower costs than traditional funerals has resulted in a drop in revenue for many funeral homes.

However, it is still not uncommon to find funeral homes that charge significant cremation fees, with some charging $1000’s more even within the same city. This is why it is so important to establish what cremation package a funeral home is offering so that you know you are comparing like-for-like services. 

All of the DFS Memorials provider’s prices are for a simple or ‘direct’ cremation. A direct cremation is when the deceased is cremated with minimal services offered by the funeral home.  It is often referred to as a ‘simple cremation’, ‘basic cremation’, ‘just cremation’, or even ‘economical cremation’.

How to establish exactly what kind of cremation you require

A cremation can be conducted instead of a burial even when there is an elaborate, traditional funeral service. It is simply an alternative way of conducting the final disposition as the deceased is cremated instead of buried.

A cremation can also be conducted when no services are required, and a very simple, no-fuss disposition is desired.  Today, many people are choosing to opt for a very “simple” cremation and then performing their own memorial or life celebration service at a later date.  With, or without, the cremated remains present. This allows families to keep the cost relatively low and still have a ‘send off’ and pay their respects to their loved one.

The confusion about the cost of a cremation, however, can arise when funeral homes all use different terms to represent the cremation services they offer.

Should I have a cremation with a service or a ‘basic’ cremation?

As described above, the term ‘simple’ cremation is commonly used and has the same meaning as basic cremation services. A cremation with a funeral service, on the other hand, will cost more than a basic disposition cremation. In the case of a basic cremation, the funeral home will basically collect the deceased and do minimal preparation before cremation. A basic container will be used for the purposes of cremation and the cremated remains or ‘cremains’ will be returned in a temporary container. 

A basic cremation price, will not generally include incremental services such as flowers, funeral stationery, obituary notices, etc.  However, you can add ancillary services to a cremation service at an incremental cost. Alternatively, you can opt for a cremation with a memorial service, which will cost significantly more but still less than a traditional burial funeral service.

To help you understand how cremation costs can vary considerably, we have put together the below table of cremation costs in some of the main cities across Canada.  It provides a breakdown of the cost of a cremation with a service, as well as a low-cost direct cremation. 

CityCremation with
service (estimated)
Low cost direct cremationImmediate help
(DFS Memorials)
Calgary, Alberta$2,995$1,295(403) 800-0331
Edmonton, Alberta$2,134$1,095(780) 851-2421
Fredericton, New Brunswick$2,988.85
Montreal, Quebec$1,784
Ottawa, Ontario$2,884$1,699(613) 664-2311
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan$3,370$2,100(306) 801-0860
Toronto, Ontario$2,893.50$1,497.95(437) 886-4318
Vancouver, British Columbia$2,220.50$845(778) 608-2808
Winnipeg, Manitoba$2,595$1,095

Do I need to purchase a casket for a cremation?

A casket is NOT required for the purposes of a cremation.  Most provinces stipulate that a ‘rigid, combustible container’ must be used.  To minimize costs this basic container can be a rigid cardboard or simple wooden container.  It is going to be cremated anyway.

A simple cardboard container is generally charged at anything between $50 and $400.  Some cremation providers include this in their direct cremation price, but others do not, so be sure to check.

If you are opting to hold a service and require a casket, it is possible to rent a casket.  Many funeral homes offer this service and charge a fee for the rental.  This helps them cover cleaning and maintenance costs for the rental casket.  The cost to rent a casket is anywhere between $300 and $800.

Locating the most affordable cremation service in your area.

map of canada

The chances are that if you are searching about cremation costs, it is because you want to find an affordable cremation option.  The DFS Memorials network is an independent network of family-owned funeral homes that offer low-cost cremations.  To find your nearest provider visit the DFS Memorials website and locate your nearest city/area.  All member funeral homes that join the network offer a complete (no hidden extras) direct cremation for between the price of $845 and $2,100 (depending on where you live). DFS Memorials aims to take the hassle out of price-shopping for an affordable direct cremation. By finding a reputable, independent, local funeral home that offers a low-cost simple cremation and helping connect you at your time of need.

Comparing prices and being aware of what costs to expect is all part of our consumer culture today. It pays off to do your research and have a better idea of costs before choosing a funeral service provider in your area. 

Sources:

https://inmemory.ca/resources/funeral-costs/

Written by

Andrew joined the team at Canadian Funerals in 2017. He heads up the content management for the website.