If you have never had to arrange a funeral before it can be an extremely daunting task, especially if you are recently bereaved. With that in mind, the aim of this funeral and cremation guide is to help answer some of the questions you might have about arranging a funeral or cremation in Manitoba, and hopefully help to alleviate some of your concerns or answer your queries.
There are around 75 funeral homes in Manitoba and all funeral homes are listed in our Funeral Homes directory, allowing you to find a funeral service provider in your area that meets your needs
First Call: What to do when a death occurs
Your first task is to find a funeral service provider that meets your needs. After this, you will need to register the death with the government. The Registration of Death form will normally be completed when funeral arrangements are being made at the funeral home. The funeral home will register the death and send the required documents to Vital Statistics. After this has been done, the Funeral Director will usually apply for and issue the Death Certificates for you. There is a $30 charge for each death certificate ordered. It ordinarily takes 3 business days for processing by Vital Statistics once documents have been received, and additional time for delivery. However, for an additional fee you can apply for a ‘rush order’ if needed.
Who has the responsibility of paying for funeral arrangements?
If the deceased did not pre-arrange and pre-pay for a funeral plan, then the immediate next of kin is responsible for making and paying for funeral arrangements. This can be quite a burden, and is why more seniors today are considering setting up simple cremation arrangements.
Pre-planning can be simple and affordable, and give family peace of mind for when the time comes. Be aware that whomever signs the funeral contract with the funeral home is considered legally responsible for payment of the funeral bill.
How much does a funeral cost in Manitoba?
A funeral can be a significant expense, depending on what kind of service you opt for. You can expect to spend anything between $5,000 to $12,000 for a funeral in Manitoba. The funeral director will charge a ‘professional service fee’ that usually covers their basic services to transport the deceased, obtain the medical certificate of death, register the death and complete all necessary government forms.
Depending on whether you opt for a burial or cremation, you may have additional costs for such things as embalming, a casket and/or an urn and cemetery burial plot. Other indirect costs can be things like the services of an officiant, clergy and organist, obituary notices and flowers. A funeral home MUST provide you with a ‘General Price List’ that specifically itemizes their charges. A funeral home cannot refuse to accept funeral merchandise (such as a casket) that you have purchased from another source.
What is my most affordable funeral option in Manitoba?
A direct cremation is your most affordable and simple funeral option. A direct cremation simply means that the deceased remains are collected from the place of death, cremated and the remains returned to the family in a basic urn. The family can then choose to do as they wish with the cremated remains, including holding their own memorial service at a place and time suitable for all family members to attend, and/or an ash-scattering.
Canadian Funeral Online works with DFS Memorials of Canada to connect people at their time of need with a local, independent, family-owned funeral home that offers a low-cost funeral. We select licensed, local funeral directors who understand the need to balance cost and dignity.
How much does a cremation service cost?
A cremation with a service can average about $6,000, whereas a direct cremation can average around $3,600. However, it is worth shopping around, as it is possible to find direct cremation starting at $975 with some providers. Be aware of what is included in the price and ensure there aren’t any hidden charges that you are unprepared for.
If you decide to have a cremation for your loved one then a casket or container will be required for the service. It is often possible to rent casket from the funeral home for the funeral service, this can help keep funeral costs down, and make it even more affordable if you have a specific financial budget in mind. Your funeral service provider will be able to advise you whether they have this option available.
How can I save on funeral expenses?
If you opt for a direct cremation, you could also opt to hold your own memorial service at a time which is convenient for you and your family. This can even be done at home and is another way to save on funeral costs by allowing you to have your own ‘send-off’, without the need to pay out for a funeral service. Oftentimes, this can feel more personal and give you and your family the opportunity to say farewell to your loved one in peace, with less stress or hassle.
Can I Pre-plan a Funeral or Cremation in Manitoba?
More people are opting to pre-plan and pre-pay for funeral arrangements to unburden their loved ones at their time of passing. Pre-financing a funeral can be done in installments or in a lump sum payment. Funeral homes who offer a preplanning service must have licensed, pre-need qualified staff, and the funds are usually held in trust which cannot be accessed until a copy of the statement of death is issued. It is worth noting, however, that it is a good idea to discuss any pre-financing arrangements with family so that they are aware that the money is in a trust before they make arrangements inadvertently.
Where can I Scatter My Loved Ones Ashes in Manitoba?
Contrary to popular belief, it has never been against the law to scatter ashes on public lands in Manitoba, yet there was no clear policy on what families were able to do with their loved ones ashes.
Government policy now states that human remains that have been properly cremated may be scattered on unoccupied provincial government-owned Crown land or water, including provincial parks, without official government approval. However, care must be taken to ensure that cremated remains are not scattered near drinking water or recreational water activities, such as swimming areas.
It is, however, worth consulting a funeral director about your options, as you may wish to consider buying a niche in a cemetery columbarium, or commemorating your loved one in a different way.
What to Do if a Death Occurs outside of Manitoba, or the deceased needs transporting to another Province or Country?
If your loved one dies outside of Manitoba and needs transporting back to the Province, you will need the services of a funeral home experienced in funeral shipping. A local funeral home will usually coordinate with a funeral home at the place where the deceased’s body is and arrange the transfer of the remains. Shipping a body is more costly than shipping cremated remains, and there is paperwork that needs to be completed also. As a general guide the fee for handling the transfer of remains internationally can be around $4,000 plus the actual shipping fee from the airline.
How to Arrange a Whole Body Donation in Manitoba?
If you wish to donate your whole body to science for medical research then you need to register with an anatomical gift program. The University of Manitoba has a Body Donation Program and they can be reached at:
Body Donation Program
Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba
130 Basic Medical Sciences Building, 745 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 0J9 CANADA
You can email the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science at Service_After_Death@umanitoba.ca for more information. Make sure to include your name and address so the information can be mailed to you. Alternatively, you can reach them on 204-789-3652 or fax 204-789-3920.
For more information on Whole Body Donation, visit our article on Donating a body to science for medical research in Canada.
What help is available for funeral expenses?
The Manitoba Funeral Service Association (MFSA) can assist you in applying for potential benefits, from public insurance support to victim compensation. You can contact them on 204-947-0927 to find out more.
Alternatively, under Section 2 of The Manitoba Assistance Act, The Employment and Income Assistance Program (EIA) may cover the cost of a person’s funeral upon death if they are a participant of EIA at the time of death, or if they were in need of financial assistance and would have been in the category of persons who apply for EIA benefits.
Are there any green funeral alternatives available in Manitoba?
Green or ‘Natural’ Burials are slowly growing as an alternative to traditional burial or cremation. Not only is it better for the environment, as it does not require chemical embalming fluids or steel/ concrete and other non-degradable materials, but it can also be more affordable for all the above reasons. The body is usually wrapped in a fully biodegradable shroud, container, or casket, and buried directly in the ground.
The Green Burial Society of Canada currently has no green burial providers in the province of Manitoba, however it may still be possible to opt for a greener solution, so don’t be afraid to ask your cemetery or funeral service provider what options are available. Find out more about Green Burials by visiting out Guide to Green Burials in Canada
What happens if the deceased is at the coroner or medical examiner’s office?
If a person’s death is unexpected and the cause of death is not immediately known or when the death is the result of violence due to an accident, suicide, or homicide, it will be investigated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. After an investigation has been carried out and a cause of death has been established, the body will be released to the next of kin. After which the family can proceed to make the funeral arrangements
If you have further questions about identifying the body and making arrangements for the transfer of the deceased, you can contact OCME for Winnipeg, Manitoba on (204) 945-2088 and they can be found at:
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
210-1 Wesley Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4C6
Who Can I Contact if I Have a complaint or Grievance With a Funeral Home in Manitoba?
If you have a grievance with a funeral home you should first attempt to resolve it with them directly. If you have already attempted to resolve it with the funeral home concerned then you file an official complaint with the Funeral Board of Manitoba by written request. Write to them detailing the matter and include copies of any relevant documentation at: Funeral Board of Manitoba, 254 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB, R3C 0B6. You can find a complaint form at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/funeraldirectorsboard/pdf/complaint_form.pdf