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What Does a Funeral Cost?

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
January 26th 2024 - 14 minute read
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Learn what a funeral costs, what fees are payable for each component, and the variable cost of the different types of funerals, and how they compare.

Daniela Fortino

Comparison of the fees for different types of funerals

When it comes to planning a funeral, the cost is only one of the many things to consider. Unfortunately, determining the price is not always easy because it varies greatly depending on the type of funeral and what funeral services are included and what type of funeral ceremony or memorial, if any, that you plan. We have compiled a guide for different funeral and service fees to help you better determine how much a funeral will cost. Note that all fees quoted are approximate and are in Canadian funds.

Common funeral fees

A  funeral’s cost often varies depending on the kind of funeral chosen. However, specific fees are applied to everyone, regardless of funeral type. This includes documentation, transportation, storage, and professional and staff fees.

Funeral Documentation

Before funeral services in Ontario can begin, the death must be registered, and a burial permit must be obtained. This can be completed by a licensed funeral provider or by a deceased's family member without a license if they are not being paid.

Death registration involves submitting two documents to the local municipal clerk's office: Medical Certificate of Death and Statement of Death.

If families use a service provider, like Eirene, funeral directors will oversee the process of obtaining the burial permit. However, if the family is not using a service provider, the staff at the municipal office where the death is registered can help complete the required paperwork and acquire the permit.

Additional paperwork  includes a death certificate and a certified copy of death registration with the cause of death. These may be needed to complete other death care paperwork such as settling wills and estate, applying for death benefits, and accessing or cancelling government services (e.g., driver's license).

The cost for paperwork varies depending on the province or municipality and if a funeral provider or family completes it.

Cost of death registration and burial permit

The cost for death registration and burial permit is often free or minimal (under $20) when completed by the family, and the price of a death certificate is usually around $15. The cost for a certified copy of death registration typically ranges from $20 to over $50.  

When funeral homes complete paperwork for families, the charge will be included in the price list. It will also outline what documentation services the provider will cover. This typically ranges from $100 to $300+.

Fees for transportation or transferring a body

Transportation is usually conducted from the place of death to the location where it will be prepared for cremation or burial and then to the location of its final disposition, like a crematorium or cemetery. This is usually done by a third-party "transfer" service hired independently or by a funeral provider. However, a transfer service is not necessary.

It is legal to transport a body in a private vehicle in Ontario. However, it is necessary that the private vehicle can properly transport a body or casket.

Transfer service fees vary depending on where the body is being transported. However, prices are usually $100 and up. Transportation of a body using a private vehicle would be free (with the exception of gas cost) and costs significantly less than a transfer service.

Cost of body storage and preservation

Body storage and preservation fees are a typical line item in funeral budget. These costs can vary depending on the type of funeral. For example, if choosing to hold a viewing, many people will opt for embalming to ensure preservation. In contrast, this may not be needed for a closed-casket service or cremation.

Positive-temperature refrigeration may work well if the body is buried or cremated within two weeks after death. If waiting longer, negative-temperature refrigeration combined with embalming may be necessary. Storing and preservation fees can be avoided almost entirely if the family opts for a home funeral. Nonetheless, it is common to pay storage fees for at least a day or two while the paperwork is completed, but the choice is up to the family.

Sheltering or storage fees change depend on the length of time the body will be at the facility. However, these fees are usually around $300 or fall within a range of $35 to $100 per day. Prices may also increase depending on if positive-temperature (above zero) or negative-temperature (sub-zero) storage is used.

Embalming prices range from $200 to $1,000.

Professional and staff fees

If families choose to handle planning through a licensed funeral provider, there will likely be an additional fee to the staff for handling most or all the arrangements for them. This is for services like advice, guidance, event coordination, logistics, death benefits, and more. Documentation and paperwork completion may also be included in these fees.

Funeral provider professional fees, which are charged for a funeral director's services, will often range anywhere from $200 to $1000+.

Body preparation costs

Another aspect that impacts the cost of a funeral is the type of body preparation chosen. This includes two options: cremation and burial.

Body preparation also includes cleaning, bathing, and dressing the body. On average, these services cost around $100 to $500+.

Cremation fees

Cremation is a final disposition process where a body's organic matter is reduced to bone fragments. The remains are then processed into fine particles that look like sand or coarse dirt, referred to as "ashes" or "cremated remains."

There are two forms of cremation – flame cremation and flameless cremation (aquamation or alkaline hydrolysis).

With flame cremation, organic matter is reduced by exposing the body to intense heat in a chamber.

With aquamation, the body is treated with a combination of water, alkali (potassium hydroxide), heat, and pressure, which produces a reaction that speeds up the body's decomposition.

Cost of flame cremation vs. aquamation

The cost for cremation varies slightly between flame cremation and aquamation, but the price differences are usually not drastic.

Prices also vary for what is called direct cremation. It involves remains being sent directly to a cremation centre shortly after death and ashes picked up or sent to the families. This is typically less expensive because it eliminates more costly embalming, visitation, viewing, wake, and casket purchase.

The cost for the cremation process typically ranges from $500 to $700. However, the price for cremation typically includes other services within the funeral package. Therefore, fees can often go anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. Direct cremation packages will usually be on the lower end of this range, typically around $1,000 to over $3,000.  

Often included in a cremation budget is an urn purchase. A cremation urn is a decorative container that holds the ashes after cremation. The cost of an urn ranges anywhere from $10 to upwards of $2,000. These prices depend mainly on material, type, and size. Other aspects such as design and manufacturer can also impact the cost.

Cremation cost across Canada

You can see itemized costs in some provinces in the following articles:

Burial costs

As the name suggests, a burial means that the deceased will be buried in the ground in a grave or in a vault inside a mausoleum. This can be at a cemetery, a private family plot, at a green burial site, at sea, etc. A person can be buried alone, with a loved one, such as spouse, or in a family plot.

Burials are more expensive than other options because there is often more involved in the burial process. A casket and burial plot is required. Burials are also more likely to be paired with ceremonies and additional services beforehand, which contribute significantly to the price. However, these can be avoided with a direct burial. Nonetheless, the cost of burial still often exceeds the cost of cremation.

The cost for burial packages often ranges from $3,000 to $12,000. This will often include other funeral fees and services.

The cost of a casket or shroud is dependent on the material it is made from. More durable caskets, such as metal ones, are likely to cost more than biodegradable ones. Nonetheless, these prices typically range from $900 to $20,000 but will often fall between $2,000 to $5,000. This cost can be further reduced by renting a casket, usually between $900 and $2,000.

It is important to note that buying a casket from a funeral home is often more expensive as there is usually a substantial mark-up.

The cost for purchasing a burial plot in a cemetery will cost around $200 and $3,000. Additional fees may be added for things such as markers and gravestones.

Interment costs

Interment is the ceremonial placing of a deceased person (or any living creature that has died) in a grave. A body in a casket or coffin can be interred. So can cremated ashes.

Cremated remains can be buried or placed in a niche or columbarium in a cemetery. A columbarium is a structure, typically a wall, room, or building made from brick or concrete that can be found indoors or outdoors. It often has designated areas called niches. A niche holds the urns and has features that help remember and memorialize a loved one.

Ashes can also be scattered. This can be done on land or the water or in a place of significance for the deceased or the family. It is also possible to bury ashes outside of a cemetery in some areas. The location of where to do this is a matter of choice. However, local laws and regulations must be followed when doing so. Scattering in a cemetery is possible as well if scattering rights are purchased.

Interment rights for an urn in a cemetery will often start around $400. However, with all fees included, urn burials in a cemetery will usually range from $800 to over $3,000, with single plots falling on the lower end and multiple or shared plots for several family urns falling on the higher end that range.

Burying ashes outside of a cemetery will cost less, as the only significant costs to consider would be the initial cost of cremation and urn purchase. This would be the same for scattering ashes outside of a cemetery.

Interment in a niche or columbarium will typically start around $700 for a single niche. Larger niches can cost a few thousand dollars. However, these can fit more than one urn, making it more cost-effective overall.

Location and style can also contribute to a higher niche cost. Nonetheless, prices will often range from $700 to over $2,500.

As mentioned above, casket interment or burial in the ground will often cost around $200 to $3,000.

Caskets can also be interred in a mausoleum. A mausoleum is essentially a large tomb. It is a monument, often made from stone, designed to house the remains of one or several individuals above ground. Like burials, mausoleums can also house personal mementos and/or markers related to the deceased.

Interment in a mausoleum is typically more expensive than a columbarium. Individually owned plots can range from $3,000 to $30,000, and private mausoleums cost anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000.

Funeral ceremony costs

Whether choosing burial or cremation, holding a ceremony or celebration service as part of the funerary process is not uncommon. The cost for these funeral events varies greatly depending the type of ceremony, location, number of attendees and how elaborate the event will be.

For example, holding an ash scattering ceremony would most likely cost relatively little since the major fees would be the common fees, cremation cost, and an urn. Actual scattering of ashes on public land or on private property has no scattering fee.

However, the price for a visitation or viewing before burial will drive up costs significantly. In addition to the standard fees, this form of disposition requires a casket purchase, committal service, additional transfer fees to the cemetery, as well as embalming fees, and more.

In general, traditional and formal ceremonies such as a viewing, visitation, or wake will typically cost $2,000 and up.

Direct cremation costs

Direct cremation packages provide substantial savings over traditional burials with a viewing or visitation and ceremony, or a cremation with similar choices.

They include transport of a body from place of death, government paperwork, nominal body preparation, cremation or aquamation and return of ashes to the family.  

They usually forgo a formal funeral ceremony, though a celebration of life is sometimes held after cremation. A religious memorial service can also be arranged by a family with their cleric separately. A direct cremation provider is usually not involved in that. However, family or small group of mourners can assemble at the crematory and witness the cremation on request.

Direct cremation packages cost in the $2000 to $5000 range including an urn. Click to see what is included in Eirene's all inclusive direct cremation packages.

At Eirene, we have also partnered with Affirm payments to ensure every family has access to affordable death care. Once approved, Affirm allows you to make time payments for your desired services with no hidden fees or late fees. Even if you are not eligible for Affirm’s payment plan, we will work with you to ensure you get the support you need.

Funeral costs summary

Now that we have covered the funeral component costs and fees for cremation vs. burial as well as direct cremation, here is a recap of all the fee you can expect for each type of funeral.

Common funeral fees (applicable for cremation or burial):

Expected budget range: $2000 to $5000

Itemized fees:


  • Completed by family: $0-$50+
  • Complete with help of a provider: $100-$300+

Body Transportation:
$100 and up (using a transfer service) per transit

Body Storage and Preservation:

$300 or within a range of $35 to $100 per day.

Embalming (optional):
Usually only necessary for viewing or visitation: $200-$1,000

Staff/Professional services: $200-$1,000+.

Body Preparation:
Cleaning, bathing, and dressing the body: $100 to $500+.

Cremation-specific fees:

Expected budget range: $200o to $5000

Itemized cremation fees:

  • Crematorium: $500-$700
  • Urn purchase: $10-$2,000+
  • Burying ashes in cemetery (optional): $400+
  • Placement of ashes in columbarium/niche (optional): $700-$2,500+.

Burial-specific fees:

Expected budget range: $3,000-$12,000+

Itemized burial fees:

  • Casket: $900 to $20,000.
  • Burial plot: $200-$3,000+.
  • Urn plots (optional ashes burial): Around $400, but can be more.
  • Mausoleum: $3,000 to $500,000.

Funeral ceremony or event:

Expected budget range:

  • Simple: <$2,000
  • Typical: $2,000-$5,000.
  • Elaborate: $5,000+

Direct cremation cost summary:

Budget range: $2,000 to $5,000.
Expect this to be on the higher end if you plan to include a celebration of life event after cremation. If you plan to bury ashes please see fees above. Urn pricing is available here.

Ask a funeral question:

Our experts at Eirene can answer your questions relating to funerals, cremation, aquamation, direct cremation packages and other end-of-life questions. Email us at support@eirene.ca or click here to contact us by phone.

If you are ready to make arrangements eith Eirene, click here for your options.


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