How to Transport Cremated Remains

This guide to shipping cremated remains aims to highlight exactly what you need to know to transport cremated remains, either within Canada or to another country. The cremation rate has risen to 73.1% as of 2020, making it the number one final disposition choice in Canada. Add to this the increased dispersion of families, as well as the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to see why there is a growing demand for the easy transportation of cremated remains.  In some cases, the family wishes to transport the remains of their loved one back for interment or scattering in their home province or country.  In other cases, a family move and wish to transport cremated remains, or may even want to distribute cremains between family members.

Cremated remains are basically sterile, organic matter and therefore pose no threat to health and safety when transported.  Typically, the average cremated remains of an adult weigh between 6 and 10 pounds and are therefore quite easily packaged for transportation.

More stringent security measures imposed on travel and shipping in recent years mean that there are now rules in place that do govern exactly how you can transport cremated remains.

What are my options for transporting cremated remains?

There are two primary options for transporting cremated remains. The first and probably the most affordable option to transport remains within Canada is by Canada Post. If you need to transport remains from Canada to the United States, you can ship them with Canada Post/ US Postal Service (USPS). The second option is to transport remains by air. We have outlined these options below.

Shipping cremated remains by Canada Post

Possibly the easiest and most cost-effective way to transport cremated remains within Canada is to ship them with Canada Post. Providing a relatively inexpensive and efficient method to ship remains within Provinces. If you need to transport remains to the United States this can be facilitated just as easily with Canada Post/ USPS.

You will need to ship them using a trackable parcel service, making sure the destination and return addresses are correct and complete. You should also ensure the cremated remains are packed in a sealed container and put inside a sift-proof outer container. If the inner container is fragile, you’ll have to protect it with packing material. The remains will need to be accompanied by a certificate of cremation that’s issued by an appropriate authority (such as a funeral director), placed inside a plastic envelope, and attached to the top of the parcel.

Call our funeral shipping team for Ontario on (855) 609-2203 or for Vancouver on (855) 617-0232 for immediate assistance with shipping cremated remains from/ within Canada. They will assist with packaging, declaration forms and shipping of cremated remains.

If you’re shipping cremated remains internationally, you will want to check with the International Destination Listing for more information about prohibited and restricted items within specific countries.

Travelling with cremated remains by air

You may travel with cremated remains in a container and packed as part of your carry-on baggage. The container, however, will have to pass separately through the x-ray machine. You can see information on the special procedures in place for screening cremated remains here or contact your local funeral professional for assistance.

Before Heading to the Airport:

  • Ask your funeral director about temporary containers for transportation purposes. These containers are more likely to pass through security.
  • You can also bring your empty permanent container with you and arrange for a funeral home at your destination to transfer the container contents.
  • Note that due to differences in thickness, shape and material, some cremation containers are more likely to pass through security screening.

Transporting cremated remains by air (internationally)

When traveling with cremated remains, the cremation container and documentation requirements can vary depending on your destination. If you are traveling internationally, we suggest you contact the embassy for the country of your destination before you fly to determine their specific requirements concerning the transport of cremated remains. Your local funeral professional should also be able to give you guidance regarding the requirements.


Travel Protection Plan

List of Embassies

Canada Post: ABCs of mailing cremated remains

Written by

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