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Cremation in Manitoba: Questions and Answers

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
August 29th 2022 - 10 minute read
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Learn about cremation in Manitoba. What the process is, who handles cremation, who regulates it, cremation cost in the province, and statistics on cremation trends.

Cremation is the preferred end-of-life arrangement in Manitoba, yet many people have questions about the process involved in making cremation arrangements for themselves or a family member. This article will answer some of the most common questions about cremation in Manitoba.  

What is the process for a cremation funeral in Manitoba?

Here are the steps to expect for a cremation in the province when selected as a final arrangement for someone who has died.

Reporting the death

The process for reporting a death in Manitoba depends on if the death was expected or unexpected. Emergency services should be the first point of contact if the death is unexpected. An investigation will determine if a provincial coroner will conduct an autopsy or initiate an inquest into the death.

If the death is expected, families can contact the deceased's physician or call 911 (more on this below). If the death occurs in a hospital or health care facility, the staff will register the death.  

The next step is for a family to contact a funeral home or transfer service to arrange for pick-up when the body is released.

Final Documentation

Medical professionals predominantly handle end-of-life documentation in Manitoba. The death must be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency before a cremation can occur. Below are the documents needed to register the death:

  • Medical Certificate of Death. This outlines the cause of death. A doctor or coroner must complete it.
  • Death Registration form. This form must be completed by a physician or coroner.

A death certificate will be needed to apply for benefits or insurance or to complete administrative or estate tasks. Families can apply for a death certificate online after the death has been registered. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the request to be processed and delivered or five to eight business days with a rushed service.  

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Body Identification

Funeral providers use identification practices in their facilities to ensure bodies receive their desired end-of-life services. Standard identification methods include:

  • Tags. A tag contains identifying information about the deceased such as name, date of birth, etc. It is placed on the body and checked throughout the process before being removed for cremation. It will be destroyed if it is not removed.
  • Discs. This is a coin-shaped tag containing identifying information. It remains with the body throughout the process and is checked regularly by crematorium staff. It is also placed in the cremation chamber. It does not get destroyed during cremation and is included in the urn with the ashes.

Cremation

There are two types of cremation – flame cremation and aquamation (also known as alkaline hydrolysis). However, unlike in a handful of Canadian provinces, aquamation is not currently legal in Manitoba.

Flame cremation reduces a dead body to bone fragments by exposing it to extreme heat in a chamber (760 to 980 Celsius /1400 to 1800 F). This destroys most organic matter and leaves behind metals and bone fragments. The bone fragments are thereafter cooled and pulverized to create a coarse, grey or brown powder, known as ashes or cremated remains.  

Non-combustible materials (e.g., medical implants) that pose safety risks to crematorium staff are removed beforehand. Other metals, like fillings, remain in the body. These are removed from the ashes after a cooling period and recycled.

Is embalming required in Manitoba?

Embalming is a preservation technique that uses chemicals to slow down the decomposition of a body temporarily.

Embalming is not required by law in Manitoba. However, it may be necessary or recommended in specific scenarios, such as if the body is transported to another province or country. Some funeral providers may also require embalming if viewing or visitation takes place.

Do Manitobans prefer burial or cremation?

Cremation has become the preferred choice in many parts of Canada, with cremation rates rising about 25 per cent from 2000 to 2020. This trend is also seen in Manitoba, with provincial cremation rates growing from 59.6 per cent in 2010 to 67.9 per cent in 2020. The rate is predicted to reach 71.2 per cent by 2025 (according to the CANA Statistic Report).  

One of the main reasons for the growth in popularity is attributed to the cost. Cremation packages are often a fraction of the cost compared to burial packages and offer more flexibility and simplicity.

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The Eirene care team is available 24/7 to provide expert guidance and answer any questions you may have.

Where in Manitoba is cremation conducted?

Cremation is conducted at funeral homes or crematoriums. Many licensed funeral providers have cremation facilities on-site, but some may outsource to crematoriums in the area.

What does cremation cost in Manitoba?

Cremation costs in Manitoba are similar to other parts of Canada. Cremation packages cost between $1,000 to $10,000 on average, and cremation with a memorial service in Manitoba is around $6,000. Simpler cremation options like direct cremation will cost approximately $3,600 in the province, but families may find lower-cost packages ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

Included in cremation packages is the price for the cremation (around $500 to $700) and other final services, such as documentation, body preparation, sheltering, etc. Cremation fees may also include urn purchase ($10 to $2,000+) and interment in the ground or columbarium ($500 to $3,500).  

Learn more about prices and fees related to end-of-life arrangements in our funeral costs article.

What should I do when someone dies in Manitoba?

The process for reporting a death in Manitoba depends on if the death was expected or unexpected. If the death is unexpected, emergency services (call 911) should be the first point of contact. A coroner may be contacted if an autopsy or inquest is needed.

If the death is expected and occurs at a hospital or healthcare facility, families should notify healthcare staff, and they will make arrangements for death registration. However, if the death is imminent and the individual prefers to die at home, families must complete a Letter of Anticipated Death with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the medical examiner's office, and the physician of the patient. A copy of this letter is given to the selected funeral home or service provider. This allows families to call a provider directly when their loved one dies without contacting emergency services. If the death is expected, but there is no Letter of Anticipated Death, the death must be reported to emergency services by calling 911.

The next step is to contact a cremation services company or funeral home, or transfer service to arrange for pick-up when the body is released.

What is direct cremation, and is it available in Winnipeg and in communities across Manitoba?

Direct cremation refers to a simple cremation with no pre-disposition memorial services. The basic service provides the requirements to cremate a deceased person. Families can then schedule their own memorial services thereafter. This makes end-of-life arrangements more cost-effective. Direction cremation is available through numerous service companies and funeral homes in Winnipeg and in communities across Manitoba. Learn more about direction cremation here.

Have a question? We're here to help

The Eirene care team is available 24/7 to provide expert guidance and answer any questions you may have.

Who regulates cremation in Manitoba?

Funeral regulations in Manitoba used to be managed by the Funeral Board of Manitoba. However, as of March 2022, the board was dissolved, and its responsibilities were handed over to the Consumer Protection Office.

The Consumer Protection Office governs consumer protection legislation in the province. Funeral regulations are administered according to The Funeral Directors and Embalmers Act, The Cemeteries Act, the Prearranged Funeral Services Act, and the Grieving Families Protection Act.  

Where can I buy a cremation urn in Manitoba?

Cremation urns can be purchased directly through a funeral provider or urn retailer, or online.

Eirene offers a wide selection of urn options to suit every need and budget. Urns can be found in the company's online store: https://store.eirene.ca/. Free shipping is also available to Manitoba families (and families across Canada).

Is financial assistance available in Manitoba for final arrangements?

Manitobans are eligible for several provincial and federal financial assistance programs. See this article: Manitoba funeral financial programs or see the information outlined below:

Provincial funeral financial assistance programs:

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The Eirene care team is available 24/7 to provide expert guidance and answer any questions you may have.

Federal funeral financial assistance programs:

  • Canadian Pension Plan
  • Income Assistance Program (Indigenous Services Canada)
  • Last Post Fund for Veterans
  • Allowance for the Survivor
  • Memorial Grant Program for First Responders
  • Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime
  • Lived or Living Outside Canada

To learn about Canadian funeral financial assistance programs by province, click here.

Can I preplan a cremation funeral in Manitoba?

Yes, preplanning cremation services are available to anyone of any age in Manitoba and across Canada from funeral providers or cremation services companies. It is a good way to ensure end-of-life wishes are considered and funds are available to cover final expenses. Learn about Eirene's preplanning programs.

About Eirene Cremations

Eirene is a direct cremation services company that is licensed to operate in Ontario and Nova Scotia. The company has applied for regulatory approval in several other Canadian provinces. To make final arrangements with Eirene in the provinces where it is licensed to operate, click here.

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