Funeral arrangements can be expensive, so some Alberta families may find it challenging to afford desired services. However, provincial and federal assistance programs can help relieve some of the financial burdens by covering a portion of funeral costs. Learn more about funeral financial assistance programs available to Alberta residents below.
Alberta's provincial government funeral assistance programs:
The following provincial funeral financial assistance programs are open to qualifying residents in Alberta.
Funeral Benefits for Income Support Households
Alberta's Income Support program offers support for residents and their families to help pay for specific one-time or ongoing expenses. This program provides various benefits, including a supplementary benefit for funeral expenses.
- The client demonstrates a need for the benefit.
- The same or similar benefit is not available from any other program or source.
- The client meets the criteria and provides necessary substantiation, as indicated in the specific supplementary benefit policy.
- A reasonable, lower-cost alternative is not available.
If eligible, funeral benefits may be provided for expenses related to burial, cremation, and funeral of a deceased person within Alberta or costs associated with transporting the deceased person to another province for funeral arrangements.
Benefits rates for eligible applicants, if the deceased person is being buried or cremated in Alberta, are as follows:
- The actual cost up to a maximum of $4,000 for cremation and funeral when the remains are not placed in a cemetery.
- The actual cost up to a maximum of $6,000 for cremation or burial when the remains are placed in a cemetery.
If the remains are transported to another province or territory, the benefits will cover costs for preparing the body and reasonable transportation fees. Additional amounts may be provided in exceptional and necessary circumstances.
Residents can apply for funeral benefits by completing the appropriate application forms, collecting the required information, and submitting the form by email, fax, or mail. Learn more about the application process on the Alberta government website.
Funeral Benefits for AISH recipients
The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program provides financial and health support to Albertans with a permanent medical condition that prevents them from earning a living. Funeral benefits may be available for a deceased person who was receiving AISH or the spouse/partner or dependent child of an AISH client at the time of death.
Eligible members must meet the criteria outlined in the Personal Benefits section of the AISH program policy. The criteria include:
- Assets of the client and their cohabiting partner, not including exempt assets, must not exceed $5,000.
- If the client is suffering financial hardship, a personal benefit may be approved when a client and their cohabiting partner have assets over $5,000.
- The client must demonstrate a need for the benefit.
- The same or similar benefit must not be available from any other program or source.
The same funeral benefits and rates offered to Income Support households are available to AISH recipients.
AISH members can apply for funeral benefits by completing the appropriate application forms, collecting the required information, and submitting the form by email, fax, or mail. Learn more about the application process on the Alberta government website.
Funeral Benefits for Low-Income Albertans
Funeral benefits may be available to deceased Alberta residents with low income who are not receiving benefits from the AISH or Income Support programs.
Applicants must meet the general and financial criteria to be eligible for funeral benefits through the program. General criteria are related to the deceased residency and status in Canada. Financial criteria are related to other financial sources, income resources, and assets of the individual or responsible survivor that can be used to cover funeral expenses. Learn more about eligibility on the general policy page.
The same funeral benefits and rates offered to Income Support households, and AISH recipients are available to low-income Albertans. Criteria may differ slightly for low-income Albertans in Special Groups.
Low-income Albertans can apply for funeral benefits by completing the appropriate application forms, collecting the required information, and submitting the form by email, fax, or mail. Learn more about the application process on the Alberta government website.
Workers Compensation Board benefits in Alberta
Alberta's Workers Compensation Board (WCB) offers several services and support for families coping with a work-related death. Supports available to families include:
- Benefits for dependents
- Funeral cost-benefit
- Survivor benefits
- Fatality award (new benefit for claims with a date or accident on or after January 1, 2018)
- Grief counselling
- Benefits to dependent children
- Benefit for other dependents
These benefits are offered as an ongoing or one-time payment, and the amount available varies depending on the situation. A WCB case worker will guide families through the costs and benefits and ensure families have the support they need.
Learn more about WCB benefits in the fatality and survivor benefit worker fact sheet or by contacting a WCB representative via email: email@example.com or by phone at 1-866-922-9221 (within Alberta) and 1-800-661-9608 (outside Alberta).
Help for Alberta Victims of Crime
The Alberta government supports those who have experienced physical or emotional harm because of a crime. The program offers serious injury benefits. This includes a death benefit that provides reimbursement of funeral costs for victims who died due to violent crime.
Individuals may be eligible for serious injury benefits if:
- You were the victim of one of the eligible offences listed in the Victims of Crime and Public Safety Regulation (schedule 1).
- The crime happened in Alberta – you do not need to live in the province to be eligible.
- You reported the crime to the police within a reasonable period of time.
- Your injuries require you to need assistance performing daily functions.
- You co-operated with the investigation into the crime.
- Your application is received within two years of the date of the crime – in special circumstances, this may be extended.
The incident must be reported to the police before applying, but individuals do not need to wait until a charge or conviction. Applicants must fill out the Death Benefit Application Form and submit it via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at the following address:
Victims of Crime Assistance Program
10th Floor, 10365 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7
The form can also be faxed to 780-422-4213.
For questions about eligibility or application assistance, email the Victims Assistance Program.
Body Donation in Alberta
Body donation is another way to reduce funeral costs and give back to the scientific community. A donated body is used for research and training current and future medical professionals. In most cases, the body will be cremated after study completion, and the ashes will be returned to the family.
There are two body donation programs available to Albertans. Learn more about these programs at the links below:
Airline Bereavement Fares
Airline bereavement fares are discounted fares offered to family members who need to fly last minute due to an immediate family member's death or imminent death. Air Canada and WestJet both provide bereavement fares.
Family members must contact the airlines directly to apply for these fares and provide proof of bereavement/imminent death. Learn more about these programs at the links below:
Alberta's federal financial assistance programs:
Alberta residents can apply for the following federal programs below. These programs are available to all qualifying Canadians.
Canadian Pension Plan (CPP)
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Death Benefit is a federal service that provides survivors with financial support after the death of a family member. It is available to all Albertans as a federal program.
There are three types of CPP financial support payments available to families:
- A one-time payment to the estate of a deceased person of $2,500, which can be used to help pay for a funeral.
- A monthly pension payable to the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.
- A pension payable to a dependent child under 18 or a child under 25 attending a recognized school or university.
To qualify for the CPP death benefit, a deceased person must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for at least 10 years or one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP and no less than three calendar years.
A worker can apply for the CPP benefit online or in-person at a Service Canada location. Learn more about the application process in this article: How the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Can Help Fund a Funeral or the Government of Canada website.
Income Assistance Program (Indigenous Services Canada)
The Income Assistance program provides funds to individuals living on reserve in Alberta or anywhere in Canada.
The funds support the basic needs and can also include funeral and burial costs. Clients may receive up to $3,500 and no more than $6,000 to repatriate (when applicable) the remains by rail, air, or vehicle transport.
To be eligible for the program, a client must demonstrate:
- They are ordinarily resident on a reserve. This means they live on the reserve or do not maintain a primary resident away from the reserve, or they are off-reserve to obtain required medical care or social service support because there is no reasonably comparable service available on reserve and lived on-reserve immediately before receiving the medical care or social service support.
- They are eligible for basic or special financial assistance.
- They have no other source of funding to meet basic needs.
The application process varies. Learn more by contacting your local community's band office.
Memorial Grant Program for First Responders
A Memorial Grant Program for First Responders is a benefit offered to the families of first responders who have died as a result of their duties. This includes firefighters, paramedics, police officers, correctional, probation, and parole officers anywhere in Canada, including Alberta.
The program provides a one-time, tax-free direct maximum payment of $300,000 to the beneficiaries of first responders.
The Memorial Grant does not compensate beneficiaries of first responders for monetary loss (income replacement) or serve as life insurance.
Learn more about this benefit on the program's website.
Canadian benefit for parents of young victims of crime
This benefit is available to parents or guardians who have lost a child in crime-related circumstances. The benefit provides parents coping with the loss of a child with weekly income support.
Eligible parents are provided with payments of $450 per week, paid every two weeks, for a maximum of 35 weeks over a period of two years. Recipients can choose to stop receiving the benefit or restart at any time within the two years.
Apply using the online application or by mail using the following forms:
- PYVC – Application guide
- PYVC – Employment form
- PYVC – Incident report form
- PYVC – Consent to release personal information to a designated individual
Payment begins immediately after submission for those eligible.
Last Post Fund for Veterans
The Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) funeral and burial program is a benefit that helps ensure Veterans have dignified funeral or burial services. It is administered by the Last Post Fund.
Service eligibility for the Funeral and Burial Program extends to:
- Canadian Armed Forces Veterans or any predecessor Naval, Army or Air Forces of Canada or Newfoundland.
- Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans of the Second World War or the Korean War.
- Allied Veterans who served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War or the Korean War.
If the individual meets the criteria, eligibility will be established through financial means testing to determine the financial need or as a "matter of right." Matter-of-right is when the Veterans Association Canada determines that the cause of death is due to service.
Assistance will be provided in one of two ways:
- LPF makes the arrangements: Standard funeral services may be provided when the Last Post Fund is contacted, and eligibility is determined before making firm arrangements with a funeral home. The Last Post Fund will contract directly with the funeral home within the maximum amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations.
- The family or estate makes the arrangements: When arrangements for funeral and burial are made by a veteran's estate, family, or another person/organization, an application for reimbursement (partial or full) may be made within one year. This reimbursement is subject to the amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations.
Apply for the Last Post Fund benefit online or by phone at 1-800-465-7113. A LPF counsellor will respond to applications.
Allowance for the Survivor
The Allowance for the Survivor is a monthly payment for eligible Canadians who have lost their spouse. This program is available to people who:
- Are aged 60 to 64.
- Live in Canada.
- Have a spouse or common-law partner that has died, and since their death, they have not remarried or become a common-law partner to another person.
- Have an annual income less than the maximum annual income threshold for the Allowance for the Survivor.
The monthly amount is adjusted from time to time by the program. Check this website for thresholds and current amounts.
To apply for this benefit, complete the steps outlined in the "Your application" section on the Allowance for the Survivor web page.
Lived or living outside Canada
If an Alberta worker lived or worked both in Canada and in another country or is a survivor of someone who has, they or their survivors may be eligible for pensions and benefits from Canada and the other country because of a social security agreement.
A social security agreement is an international agreement between Canada and another country designed to coordinate the pension programs of the two countries.
Canada has signed social security agreements with several countries that offer comparable pension programs. Learn more about the agreements, eligibility, and the application process on this website.
Funding for residents of other Canadian provinces
Funeral funding questions should be directed to each program listed above to determine eligibility. Once you have funding approved or in process contact us to arrange a funeral. We will work with you and your funding program. See below.
Arrange a funeral:
Eirene Cremations operates in Ontario and Nova Scotia and will start cremation operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan pending regulatory approval in the second half of 2022. Cremation services for PEI and New Brunswick are also in development.
To make cremation arrangements, click here.