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Report Reveals Many Canadians Would Struggle With the Cost of a Funeral

Andy Walker
Andy Walker
September 7th 2023 - 5 minute read
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An Angus Reid poll conducted in May 2023 reveals that a majority of Canadians would face challenges in affording funeral expenses when a loved one dies.


An Angus Reid poll conducted in May 2023 reveals that a majority of Canadians would face challenges in affording funeral expenses when a loved one dies.

The key findings from the study, which polled 1,600 Canadian residents, reveal:

Financial Preparedness: Only 22 per cent of surveyed Canadians said they have enough disposable income to meet the costs associated with a $5,000 burial funeral for a loved one.

Age Disparities: Among respondents under 55, 17 per cent told the pollster that they are financially secure enough to manage the expense. This percentage increases to 30 per cent among those aged 55 and above, suggesting a correlation with longer periods of financial planning and savings for the age group.

Financial Vulnerability: The study also found that 78 per cent of respondents would feel financially vulnerable due to funeral-related expenses. One quarter of the respondents (25 per cent) said they would rely on personal savings to pay for the potential financial burden. In contrast, 10 per cent would secure a loan to afford the cost, using a strategy that could negatively impact their financial stability.

Preference Shift: In response to these financial challenges, 42 per cent of survey participants would look for cost-effective alternatives to traditional burial, such as cremation. This preference is even more pronounced in British Columbia where 45 per cent of respondents indicated they’d seek less expensive options. In Alberta, 43 per cent of respondents would attempt savings from a different type of disposition.

Why Cremation?

Cremation is a more economically viable alternative than traditional burial practices due to reduced consumption of common products and services needed for the end-of-life arrangement. Choosing cremation directly translates into tangible cost savings.

The factors contributing to the affordability of cremation include the following considerations for end-of-life arrangements.

Caskets: Simple containers are required for cremation unless a viewing is involved. A burial funeral usually requires a more expensive and sometimes ornate casket.

Embalming: Embalming is not required by law in Canada, except if a body is transported across provincial or international borders. As such, the funerary service is optional in most cases. Where needed, refrigeration can be substituted, which is substantially more affordable.

Transportation: A cremation arrangement has fewer transportation requirements compared to a burial funeral because the body is typically transported from the place of death to the funeral service provider. In the case of a burial, additional trips may be required, including to and from viewing ceremonies and to the cemetery.

Burial Plots: Choices like scattering ashes or placing urns at home eliminate the need for costly cemetery plots. Even if a plot is required to bury an urn or a niche is used as a final resting place, these options are less expensive than a plot for a casket and the related services for burying the casket.

Headstones: Less elaborate grave markers are usually required for cremation. Usually, a simple plaque marks a niche. If ashes are not interred and only scattered or kept at home by a family member, the need for a marker is eliminated.

Memorial Services: Shorter and resource-efficient memorial gatherings are possible for cremation funerals. While a burial usually requires that a body be memorialized before burial, cremation allows for a less time-sensitive ceremony. A celebration of life can be arranged any time after cremation when planning is less urgent and when attendees have time to make non-urgent travel arrangements to attend. This results in lower travel costs and more time to plan.

Importance of Proactive Financial Planning

The Angus Reid research reveals the need for increased awareness and education regarding the financial implications of funeral arrangements. Proactive financial planning becomes essential for families navigating potential costs related to the passing of a loved one. Using more budget-friendly alternatives, like cremation, can play a pivotal role in alleviating the financial strain that often accompanies the emotionally challenging circumstances of the death of a loved one.

Preplanning Arrangements Alleviates Stress

Preplanning a funeral long before it is needed is a good way to reduce stress on a family at a time when they are grieving. Final wishes can be defined in a preplan, and desired arrangements can be financed in manageable payments over time. This alleviates a sudden and substantial financial demand on a family's resources to pay for arrangements. Any person at any age can initiate preplanning with a funeral provider for themselves or a loved one. Companies that provide end-of-life arrangements, like Eirene, have staff members available who can help design a preplan in a guided and simple process. Learn more here.

Need Help? Contact Eirene

Eirene Cremations provides dignified and affordable cremation arrangements, along with preplanning options. Learn more here. Information about our service area can be found here. Additional questions can be sent to support@eirene.ca.

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