Funeral Board of Manitoba

Frequently Asked Questions


    General Questions:
  1. Who can make final arrangements?
  2. Is embalming required?
  3. How much does a funeral cost?
  4. When will I find out the cost of the goods and services I have selected?
  5. Do I have to use a funeral director for a death?
  6. What are cash disbursements?
  7. Must a casket be placed in an outside container for burial?
  8. What is an ossuary?
  9. Cremation:
  10. What is cremation?
  11. Is a casket required by law for cremation?
  12. What can be done with the cremated remains?
  13. Do I have to buy an urn?
  14. Funeral Alternatives:
  15. What happens if I don't want a traditional funeral?
  16. Cemeteries:
  17. What is the difference between a Cemetery, Mausoleum or Columbarium?
  18. Are all cemeteries licenced or regulated?
  19. How does a cemetery operate and can its rules of operation be changed?
  20. What if a cemetery is not being maintained?
  21. Can anyone establish a cemetery?
  22. Is there a provincial registry of all burials?
  23. Pre-Arranged Funerals:
  24. Can services be prearranged?
  25. Who should I call with questions about pre-arranged funerals?


General Questions:


Q. WHO CAN MAKE FINAL ARRANGEMENTS?
A. Under The Succession Act, the Executor/Executing Next of Kin has legal authority in making the final arrangements. In the absence of any Next of Kin, the Executor should include the family in any decisions regarding final arrangements.

Q. IS EMBALMING REQUIRED?
A. Embalming is not required, but may be necessary and beneficial under some circumstances.

Q. HOW MUCH DOES A FUNERAL COST?
A. Costs depend entirely on the goods and services selected by you. Every funeral director must have price lists available to the public at no charge and without obligation.

Q. WHEN WILL I FIND OUT THE COST OF THE GOODS AND SERVICES I HAVE SELECTED?
A. At the time the arrangements are made, the funeral director must give you a written contract including the total price of the goods and services selected and estimate of any disbursements. You must approve and sign the contract if you are the person making the arrangements with the funeral director.

Q. DO I HAVE TO USE A FUNERAL DIRECTOR FOR A DEATH?
A. No. It is possible to act as a lay funeral director for a member of your own family if you obey all relevant laws. The Board does not recommend this.

Q. WHAT ARE CASH DISBURSEMENTS?
A. Cash disbursements are payments made by the funeral director on your behalf and might include items such as newspaper notices, clergy honoraria or flowers. Disbursements are charged to you at actual cost and if they appear on your contract, must be itemized and included in the total price.

Q. MUST A CASKET BE PLACED IN AN OUTER LINER FOR BURIAL?
A. This is not the law in Manitoba. However, local customs vary, and some cemeteries or municipalities have by-laws requiring that outside containers be used for interment.

Q. WHAT IS AN OSSUARY?
A. An ossuary is a depository for the skeletal or cremated remains of the deceased.

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Cremation:


Q. WHAT IS CREMATION?
A. Cremation is when fire reduces the deceased to cremated remains, which in turn are further reduced to pulverised bone fragments.

Q. IS A CASKET REQUIRED BY LAW FOR CREMATION?
A. No. However, if a casket is not used, crematoria require that the body be enclosed in container of combustible material.

Q. WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH THE CREMATED REMAINS?
A. Cremated remains may be retained by the family, interred in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a columbarium, or scattered. Cremated remains may be scattered on unoccupied provincial government owned Crown land or water (which includes provincial parks) without the consent of government. Care should be taken to ensure that the ashes are not scattered near drinking water or recreational water activities like swimming. For additional information on scattering ashes, please read our Scattered Remains Policy.

Q. DO I HAVE TO BUY AN URN FROM A FUNERAL HOME OR CREMATORIUM?
A. No. The cremated remains can be returned to you in a transport container, or you may provide your own container to the funeral director or crematorium.

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Funeral Alternatives:


Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T WANT A TRADITIONAL FUNERAL?
A. Talk to your funeral director about your options.

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Cemeteries:


Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CEMETERY, MAUSOLEUM OR COLUMBARIUM?
A. Cemetery - A place for the burial of human bodies.
Mausoleum - A building in which human remains are buried (entombed) in compartments or crypts.
Columbarium - A structure with compartments of niches (small spaces) for placement of ashes or cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a Mausoleum.

Q. ARE ALL CEMETERIES LICENCED OR REGULATED?
A. No, the Funeral Board of Manitoba only licences those cemeteries operating for profit. Cemeteries owned by religious denomination, by municipalities or by individuals, i.e. on family farms, are not licensed. However, these cemeteries must be kept in good order and repair or such owners may be prosecuted.

Q. HOW DOES A CEMETERY OPERATE AND CAN ITS RULES OF OPERATION BE CHANGED?
A. In addition to an applicable license, a cemetery operates under a set of rules and regulations which should be provided to you upon the purchase of a lot, plot, or enclosure in a columbarium or mausoleum. Alternatively they should be available for inspection at the cemetery. These rules and regulations will provide for such matters as the mandatory use of concrete or other approved liners; the use of real and artificial flowers; the use, type and size of markers and sizes; size of graves, and hours of business. Because of continuing changes in customs, practices, economic conditions and products, cemeteries usually reserve the right to change rules and regulations from time to time, but are only permitted to do so on a go forward basis.

Q. WHAT IF A CEMETERY IS NOT BEING MAINTAINED?
A. If a licensed cemetery, persons should contact the owner first and if that does not resolve the matter, then they can file a complaint with the Funeral Board of Manitoba. If the cemetery is owned by a religious denomination, municipality or individual and if it is not a prosecutable offense, the matter should be resolved with the owners.

Q. CAN ANYONE ESTABLISH A CEMETERY?
A. Traditionally, cemeteries are owned by municipalities, religious denominations or businesses. However, a cemetery can also be on privately owned property that is not generally meant to function as a cemetery. If all relevant laws are obeyed, it is possible for anyone to establish a cemetery. However, The Board does not recommend this.

Q. IS THERE A PROVINCIAL REGISTRY OF ALL BURIALS?
A. No, each cemetery owner will need to be contacted. The following link to the Manitoba Genealogical Society Inc. (www.mbgenealogy.com) may be of assistance.

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Pre-Arranged Funerals:


Q. CAN SERVICES BE PREARRANGED?
A. Yes, services can be prearranged through a funeral home and can be prepaid. Funeral Directors cannot accept money for a prearranged plan if they are not properly licenced by the Public Utilities Board.

Q. WHO SHOULD I CALL WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT PRE-ARRANGED FUNERALS?
A. The Public Utilities Board administers The Pre-Arranged Funeral Services Act. You can contact by:

Mail:
Public Utilities Board
Room 400, 330 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0C4

Phone/Fax:
Phone: (204) 945-2638
Toll Free: 1-866-854-3698 (in Manitoba)
Fax: (204) 945-2643

Email:
publicutilities@gov.mb.ca

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