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Cremation Cost in Nova Scotia

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
March 4th 2024 - 12 minute read
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Cremation cost in Nova Scotia is examined in this post, including each fee you might encounter in a cremation package typically offered by the province's service providers.

Cremation cost in Nova Scotia can run from $1,000 to $10,000 and is similar to pricing found across Canada. However, prices can vary depending on the services included and the location in the province where the service takes place. (Click to see where this estimate comes from.) Providers in large cities like Halifax may list higher costs than those in smaller communities.

This article discusses the cost of standard services and fees associated with cremation funerals in Nova Scotia, as well as additional fees charged by cremation providers that are optional.

The numbers provided in this article are taken from advertised fees and industry norms in Nova Scotia and represent averages and typically listed costs.

Summary of cremation costs in Nova Scotia

Listed here is an itemized summary of fees expected for cremation arrangements in Nova Scotia. Click here to scroll to a detailed overview of these pricing details.

  • Cremation documentation:
    -Cremation service provider fees: $100 to $300+
    -Government death certificate fee: $33 to $39.90
  • Body transportation: $100+ (based on distance)
  • Body storage and preservation:
    -Refrigeration: $300 on average, or within a range of $35 to $100 per day.
    -Embalming: $200 to $1,000+
  • Body preparation: $100 to $500+
  • Cremation process: $450 to $800+
  • Professional services and staff fees: $200 to $1,000+.
  • Cremation urn: $10 to upwards of $2,000.
  • Ceremony or celebration of life: $0 to $3,000+
  • Interment: Single niche $600 to $3,000+. Urn burial plots are $200 to over $3,000.
  • Grave markers: Headstones or grave markers for an urn plot can cost $100 to $5,000+.

Cremation funeral package fees

Cremation funeral packages in Nova Scotia range from $1,000 to $5,500 for a basic cremation arrangement. Included in these packages are two types of fees:

1) Required services: These fees must be paid regardless of the funeral package. They include documentation, storage/preservation, transportation, body preparation, and professional and staff costs.

2) Optional services: These are fees for services or products that are not required by law but may be chosen to honour the wishes of the deceased person and their family. This may include urn purchase, interment, and funeral celebration or ceremonies. These fees are more dependent on the location within the province. For example, families can expect to pay more in a major city like Halifax. It is advised to ask for an itemized price list to ensure a family doesn't pay for unnecessary or unwanted services.

Detailed cremation cost in Nova Scotia by category

Discussed below are the costs associated with the itemized categories listed at the beginning of this article. This in-depth look will provide insight into the expected cremation funeral fees in Nova Scotia.

Cremation documentation in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, three documents must be completed and submitted by a funeral director before cremation services can begin. These are as follows:

1) Permission from the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner: This is obtained after the Medical Certificate of Death is submitted and approved.

2) Permission from the family for cremation: This document is signed by the next of kin authorizing the cremation of their loved one.

3) Burial permit: This can only be obtained after the Medical Certificate of Death and Registration of Death have been filed with the government.

After the death is registered, families can apply for a death certificate. This may be needed for settling an estate or applying for benefits. Anyone with a valid reason can apply for a Short Form Death Certificate. Still, only the deceased person's next of kin, trustee, executor of an estate or authorized representative can apply for a Long Form Death Certificate.

Documentation costs

All documentation, excluding the death certificate, must be completed by a licensed funeral director on behalf of the family. Therefore, documentation fees are included in cremation packages. It may be listed as a separate fee, or it may be rolled into professional and staff costs. Documentation fees typically range from $100 to $300+.

In Nova Scotia, the cost for a Short Form Death Certificate is $33, and the price for a Long Form Death Certificate is $39.90. Learn more.

Transportation of a body in Nova Scotia

Transportation of a body is necessary between the place of death and the facility where the body will be prepared and cremated. In Nova Scotia, transportation must be handled by a licensed funeral provider or transfer service. Many funeral providers include transportation fees in their price lists.

Transportation costs change based on distance and time travelled, but fees are typically $100 and up.

Body storage and preservation

Funeral arrangements often take several days to weeks to complete. However, decomposition starts within a few minutes after death. Therefore, a body must be stored or preserved in a way that slows down decomposition while it is prepared for desired funeral services. Standard preservation techniques are refrigeration and embalming.

In Nova Scotia, embalming is required if the body will be viewed in public and if the viewing or visitation takes place after 72 hours after death. Refrigeration can be used if a visitation or viewing is not planned, or if a memorial service occurs before 72 hours have passed.

Body storage (or "sheltering") fees vary based on the length of time the body is kept in the funeral home's facilities and the type of refrigeration used. It may also be included in professional and staff fees. However, storage fees are typically a flat rate starting around $300 or a daily fee, costing $35 to $100+ per day. Embalming averages around $500 to $800 but can cost as little as $200 and as much as $1,000 (or more).  

Body preparation and cremation

In Nova Scotia, only flame cremation is available to residents. Aquamation, a water-based final disposition process, is available in several other Canadian provinces, but is not yet legal for use on humans in Nova Scotia (learn more).

Flame cremation process

Flame cremation uses extreme heat to cremate a body. The body is placed in a chamber and exposed to high temperatures (760 to 980 Celsius). This incinerates organic matter and leaves behind bone fragments and non-combustible materials (e.g., dental fillings). Non-combustible materials are removed and recycled (if possible). The bone fragments are pulverized into a coarse grey or brown powder called cremated remains, or "ashes."

Preparation fees

Preparation for flame cremation consists mainly of removing items from the body or casket that are dangerous to crematorium staff or that the family does not want to be destroyed. This includes medical implants that contain a battery like a pacemaker. It may also include personal objects such as jewelry. Other implants or belongings that do not pose a safety risk remain with the body and are destroyed or removed from the ashes after the cremation.

Body preparation will also include services like embalming, makeup, dressing, cleaning, etc. if these services are desired for a viewing or visitation. Preparation fees typically cost between $100 to $500+.

Cremation fees

Cremation packages typically include a cremation fee that covers services provided by a crematorium and its staff. This typically ranges between $450 and $800+ but may be more or less depending on the services the fee covers. For example, body preparation or cremation container cost may be included in the cremation fee.

Professional and staff costs

Funeral providers take on the brunt of funeral planning, offering services and guidance to the deceased's loved ones. Professional and staff fees compensate the funeral and crematorium for their time and assistance. These fees may also cover several of the items discussed above. Therefore, the cost can vary greatly but often falls within the range of $200 to over $1,000.  

Urn purchase

An urn is an ornamental container that holds ashes (cremated remains). Urn prices depend on the style, type, material, size, etc., but can cost as little as $10 and as much as $2,000 or more. Most urn purchases are in the $300 to $500 range. (Learn more).

Urn interment

Urn interment involves placing cremated remains in the ground or a columbarium. A columbarium is an above-ground structure that houses cremated remains in niches. Niches hold the urn and items that memorialize the deceased person.

A single niche in Nova Scotia typically starts around $600. However, the cost can rise to over $3,000 depending on the cemetery and including cemetery/columbarium fees, such as opening and closing, maintenance, staff fees, etc. A single burial plot is often cheaper than a niche but ranges from $300 to $3000 or more.

These prices vary mainly due to location and demand. Generally, interments in cemeteries and columbariums in larger cities are likely to be more expensive than in smaller cities due to the increased population and demand. The location within a cemetery may also affect cost. For example, eye-level niches are often more expensive than ones higher up or lower to the ground.

Purchasing a family niche or burial plot can help reduce interment fees. While it is a more significant cost upfront, the per urn cost is lower. Another way to reduce or eliminate interment fees is by scattering ashes or keeping them within the home. There are few scattering restrictions in Canada (learn more), and some cemeteries may allow for the purchase of scattering rights or plots for a minimal fee.

Grave markers

When interring or scattering at a cemetery or columbarium, families may choose to purchase a grave marker (this may also be included in the interment package). This can consist of a headstone, engraved plaque, grave monument (e.g., bench), etc.

The cost of a grave marker depends on the size of the plot, how elaborate the design is, what is engraved, etc. For example, a simple engraved plaque may cost a couple of hundred dollars, while a gravestone may be upwards of $5,000. Grave monuments can be even more expensive.

Cremation ceremonies and celebrations of life

The cost of a funeral ceremony or celebration can vary dramatically depending on the activity. For example, including a religious service before cremation, the families may need to pay for the church, the clergy members, transportation of the body, additional storage time, etc. In contrast, a celebration of life can be held in someone's backyard for free or at a minimal cost and at a more flexible time when people can travel to gather.

Generally, formal services typically cost $2,000 and up, while informal services are often under $1,000, but may have a nominal cost.

Sales tax in Nova Scotia

Expect to pay Nova Scotia's harmonized sales tax (HST) of 15 per cent on most products and services discussed in this article.

Cost of a direct cremation arrangement vs. full-service cremation funerals in Nova Scotia

Direct cremation is a simple cremation arrangement that usually forgoes additional funeral services such as a viewing, visitation, wake, etc. Instead, the body is cremated shortly after death, and the ashes are returned to the family promptly (typically in no more than a week). Due to its simplicity, direct cremation is often more affordable, ranging from $1,000 to $5,500 on average in Nova Scotia. In contrast, a traditional cremation funeral with a viewing, visitation, graveside service, etc., may be upwards of $10,000.

Additional cremation cost resources

Where our cremation cost estimates come from

When we calculated average cremation costs in Nova Scotia, our information comes from an aggregation of sources to ensure accuracy.

Where our estimate of $1,000 to $10,000 for cremation costs comes from:

  • This 2020 CBC Radio article from 2020 suggests a range of $2,000 to $5,000 for a basic cremation across Canada.
  • A 2017 CBC story in Nova Scotia showed cremation service costs in that province ranged at the time from $1,200 to $5,500.
  • By comparison, an Ontario Auditor General's report from Dec. 2020 showed direct cremation costs in the province ranged from $997 to $3920. (source: PDF, page 19)
  • In 2022, our team surveyed published online prices across Canada, informally sampling cremation providers in each province, including Nova Scotia. Our research showed a range of $1,000 to $4,000 for basic cremations services. Add in a visitation and embalming, as well as interring ashes at a columbarium, and a cremation funeral can climb by $2,000 to $6,000 and cost as much as $10,000 or more, depending on services, location, and interment options selected.

Eirene's all-inclusive direct cremation packages

At Eirene, we have simplified the cost of cremation arrangements in Nova Scotia by creating an all-inclusive direct cremation package. See our pricing page for details. To make arrangements, click here. For questions, please email us at support@eirene.ca or view our contact page.

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