Cremation Cost in British Columbia

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
March 4th 2024 - 13 minute read
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Learn about cremation cost in British Columbia. Includes itemized fees in cremation packages offered by service providers in the province.

Cremation arrangements in British Columbia cost between $1,000 to over $12,000. Prices vary depending on the cremation type, included services, location, etc. This article discusses fees for common and add-on services for cremation cost in British Columbia.

The numbers provided in this article are taken from advertised fees and industry norms in Ontario and represent averages and typically listed costs. (To see where our cost estimates come from, read the bottom of this article.)

Summary of British Columbia cremation costs

Here is a summary of the expected fees for cremation arrangements in British Columbia. These are typically itemized in cremation packages offered by the province's service providers. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for various components of a cremation arrangement in the province.

  • Cremation documentation:
    – Cremation service provider: $100 to $400+
    – Death certificate:  $27 for mail delivery or $60 for courier delivery
  • Body transportation:
    – Transfer service: $100 to $500+
    – Transfer in a private vehicle: Free (unless you add the cost of gas)
  • Body storage and preservation:
    – Refrigeration: ~$300, but can range from $100 to $400+
    – Embalming: $300 to $700+
  • Body preparation: $100 to $500+
  • Body disposition process: $400 to $800+
  • Professional services and staff fees: From $200 to $1,000+.
  • Cremation urn: $10 to upwards of $2,000.
  • Ceremony or celebration of life: $0 to $2,000+
  • Interment: Single niche ~$1,000 to $5,000+. Urn burial plots are ~$800 to over $4,000.
  • Grave markers: Headstones or grave markers for an urn plot can cost ~$100 to $10,000+. A simple plaque will likely cost less than $500. Headstones and grave monuments will run from $1,000 to $10,000+.

Cremation funeral package fees

Cremation packages in British Columbia include two types of fees:

  1. Required services: These fees are included in all funeral arrangement packages. They include documentation, transportation, storage/preservation, body preparation, and professional and staff fees.
  2. Optional services: These services are sometimes included in funeral packages but can be tailored to the deceased person's wishes and their family. They can include: Urn purchase, interment, celebrations of life, funeral ceremonies, and flowers.

The cost of the required and options services are often higher in larger cities like Vancouver and its suburbs and more moderate in smaller cities like Prince George.

A funeral in British Columbia can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $12,000, but simple cremation usually ranges from $1,000 to $3,000. You can expect additional fees on advertised package prices as a quote may not include all expenses necessary.

Detailed cremation costs in British Columbia by category

Below we have provided more information about the itemized costs listed above to help you better understand the costs associated in British Columbia (B.C.) for services that may be included in a cremation package.

Cremation documentation in British Columbia

A death must be registered with B.C.'s Vital Statistics Agency, and a burial permit must be obtained before cremation can commence. A funeral provider will complete most funeral documentation in British Columbia on behalf of a family.

Steps involved in death registration include:

  1. Completing and obtaining a Medical Certificate of Death. This document outlines the cause of death. It must be completed by a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or coroner within 48 hours after death. It will then be forwarded to the funeral director or family of the deceased.
  2. Gathering information about the deceased person. A funeral director must collect information from an informant if the death is registered through a funeral home. The death can be registered at a Service B.C. location or through the Vital Statistics Agency (1-888-876-1633) if a funeral home is not handling final arrangements.
  3. Registering the death. After a funeral director has obtained the necessary information, they will register the death and issue a death certificate. They will also obtain a burial permit. Death certificates are needed to apply for benefits and complete administrative or estate tasks. A death certificate can also be ordered online, by mail, in person, or by phone. Learn more here.

Documentation costs

Documentation fees are usually itemized in a cremation provider's price list or lumped into the professional services and staff fees. When charged separately, the price ranges from $100 to $400+ on average.

Some funeral homes may also list the cost of each piece of documentation. For example, there may be a separate charge of $40 listed for death registration. This is a mandatory administration fee that funeral homes are charged by Consumer Protection to register a death in the province.

The cost for a death certificate is typically included in documentation fees but can be ordered independently. A death certificate costs $27 for mail delivery (2 to 5 business days, plus mailing time) and $60 for courier delivery (one business day, plus courier delivery time).

Transportation of a body in British Columbia

Funeral homes typically handle transporting a deceased person from the place of death to where it will be prepared and cremated. ​​Private transfer is also an option in B.C., but specific paperwork must be completed and approved beforehand. Arrangements must also be made with the funeral home, as some providers do not allow private transfers. Learn more about private transfer rules and regulations in the province here.

Body transportation costs

Transportation fees vary depending on distance and time travelled but start at $100 and up. Local transfers in British Columbia typically fall within the $175 to $500+ range. The main cost associated with private transportation is the cost of gas.

Storage and preservation

Storage and preservation are services usually included in a funeral provider's price list or fall under professional and staff fees.

Preservation techniques like refrigeration and embalming slow down physiological changes that occur within a few minutes after death. Embalming is not required by law in B.C. but may be recommended (e.g., for a viewing) or necessary in some cases (e.g., international or trans-provincial transport).

Storage and preservation costs

Body storage or "sheltering" fees in the province are priced around $300 but can cost anywhere between $100 to $400+. The cost varies depending on the time spent at the facility and the type of refrigeration used. Embalming costs $300 to over $700 on average in B.C.

Final disposition and body preparation

In British Columbia, only cremation and burial are available to residents. Aquamation, a water-based final disposition process (also known by its scientific term "alkaline hydrolysis"), is not yet offered in the province. (Learn more).

Cremation involves exposing a body to extreme heat in a chamber. This reduces organic matter to bone fragments that are further mechanically reduced to a coarse grey or brown powder. The cremated remains or ashes are placed in an urn or temporary container and returned to the family.

To prepare for cremation, medical implants that contain a battery or pose a safety risk to crematorium staff must be removed from the body. Other implants (e.g., artificial joints) or belongings remain and are destroyed or recycled after the process.

Body preparation may also involve services like embalming, makeup, dressing, etc. These services are usually requested for a viewing or visitation before cremation. Additional fees may apply.

Final disposition and body preparation fees

Cremation packages include a separate fee that covers the services handled by a crematorium. Cremation fees in B.C. range from $400 to $800+ on average. The cost for the cremation container, medical implant removal, temporary container for ashes, etc., may be included in this fee or charged separately.

Body preparation fees typically fall between $100 and $500+, depending on the services included. They may also be included in professional and staff fees.

Professional and staff fees

Funeral providers handle much of the planning and logistics involved in funeral planning while providing support and guidance to the deceased person's loved ones. Professional and staff fees compensate funeral home staff for their assistance.

The cost can vary greatly depending on what is included, ranging from $200 to $1,000+ in British Columbia. Several of the services discussed above in this article may be lumped under professional and staff fees.

Urn purchase

A cremation urn is a decorative container that holds cremated remains. Prices vary based on type, material, size, etc., ranging from $10 to upwards of $2,000. Learn more.

Eirene's online urn catalog offers a wide range of urns suited for different needs and budgets. We offer free urn shipping to British Columbia (and all Canadian addresses) with a purchase of $100 or more.

Urn interment

Urns are typically interred in the ground plot or in a columbarium niche, placed alongside markers (e.g., engraved plaque) or mementos (e.g., pictures, jewelry, flowers, etc.) to memorialize a loved one. Ashes can also be kept in a family home or scattered.

Urn interment options are offered at most cemeteries. Generally, ground interment is less expensive than in a columbarium, but location and demand can impact the price drastically throughout the province. Cemetery fees, such as interment rights, grave markers, maintenance fees, etc., can also impact the price.

For example, a columbarium niche may be cheaper in a smaller city like Penticton than a ground plot in a Vancouver cemetery. This is because Vancouver has a significantly larger population than Penticton, for example, increasing the demand and price for interment spots. However, smaller communities may have fewer cemeteries, increasing the demand and niche cost. Location within the cemetery can also affect cost. For example, inside niches are often more expensive than outdoor ones.

The cost for a single niche in British Columbia rarely falls under $1,000, with most locations charging between $2,000 to $5,000+. Urn burial plots are often smaller and cheaper than casket plots but can range anywhere from $800 to over $4,000. However, many burial plots can accommodate more than one urn.

Purchasing a family niche or burial plot that can fit several urns is a good way to minimize interment fees. There is a higher upfront payment, but it costs less per urn. However, scattering is the best way to reduce or eliminate interment fees.

Some cemeteries allow ash scattering on site for less than the cost of a plot or niche. Ash scattering can also be done on private land with permission from the landowner and on unoccupied Crown land, including land covered by water. Scattering may eliminate the need for an urn purchase since crematoriums typically return ashes in a temporary container.

Cremation ceremonies and celebrations of life

The cost for funeral events varies depending on factors such as the type of event, number of attendees, where the event is held, if food will be served, travel time, etc. For example, when having a viewing at a funeral home, families can be charged thousands of extra dollars to accommodate the venue, staffing fees, extra storage time, embalming (if desired), etc. In contrast, a small celebration of life at a bar or restaurant would likely be cheap, especially if guests are paying for themselves.

Generally, formal ceremonies like a viewing or visitation typically cost $2,000 and up. Informal events like a celebration of life or an ash scattering ceremony can be free to over $1,000, depending on how simple or elaborate the gathering is.

Cost of grave markers

A grave marker can include anything from a small, engraved plaque to a custom-made grave monument (e.g., a bench). Simpler options (e.g., plaque) are often included in cemetery fees or can be purchased for under $500. Headstones range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the size and design, while ornate grave monuments can reach over $10,000. Prices will be highest in urban cemeteries.

Sales tax in British Columbia

Expect to pay 12 per cent in sales tax for most products and services discussed in this article. This includes:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) of five per cent
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST) of seven per cent

Cost of a direct cremation arrangement vs full-service cremation funerals in British Columbia

Direct cremation is a simple cremation arrangement where ashes are returned to the family within a few days to a week. It excludes services and costs associated with full-service cremation funerals, such as a viewing, visitation, embalming, repast, reception, etc. Direct cremation options can be as low as $900 but usually ranges from $1,000 to over $3,000.

By comparison, a typical traditional cremation funeral in British Columbia costs between $5,000 and $10,000+.

Additional cremation cost resources

Where our cremation cost estimates come from

When we calculated average cremation costs in British Columbia, our information comes from an aggregation of sources to ensure accuracy. Here is where our estimate of $1,000 to $12,000 for B.C. 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.
  • In 2022, our team surveyed published online prices across Canada, informally sampling cremation providers in each province including B.C. Our research showed a range of $1,000 to $4,000 for basic cremation services. Add in a visitation and embalming, as well as interment of ashes at a columbarium, and a cremation funeral in British Columbia can climb by $2,000 to $6,000 and cost as much as $12,000 or more, depending on services and interment options selected.