Cremation in New Brunswick: Questions and Answers

Cremation in New Brunswick: Questions and Answers
Learn about cremation in New Brunswick including cost, how it is conducted, and who provides cremation services in the province.
6 minute read

Funeral planning can be a daunting task. However, knowing what to expect beforehand can help families make informed decisions and make the process easier. Below we have answered some of the most common questions about cremation in New Brunswick.

What is the process for a cremation funeral in New Brunswick?

In this guide below, here's what you can expect when cremation is conducted in New Brunswick.

Reporting the death

When a death occurs in New Brunswick, the first step is to contact a doctor or coroner. They are responsible for filling out a Medical Certificate of Death and giving it to the funeral director. If the death is unexpected or the family does not have the contact information for a doctor or coroner, they may need to contact emergency services first.

The next step would be to contact a funeral home or transfer service. Funeral directors or funeral boards will help the family make arrangements and complete the documentation needed to register the death.

Funeral documentation in New Brunswick

Medical professionals and funeral directors are responsible for completing most funeral documentation. The following paperwork must be completed before a cremation can take place in New Brunswick:

  • Medical Certificate of Death. This form outlines the cause of death. It must be completed by a doctor or coroner and given to the funeral director.
  • Statement of Death. The funeral director completes the statement of death with the help of a family member.

Both forms must be submitted by the funeral director to the local municipal clerk's office for the death to be registered with Vital Statistics. The next of kin will receive a notification letter when the death is registered.

A death certificate may be required to apply for benefits or insurance and complete tasks such as settling an estate. Families can apply for a death certificate online. Note that the death must be registered before an application for a certificate can be made.

Body Identification

Funeral homes and crematoriums employ identification practices in their facilities to ensure bodies receive desired services. These practices vary between providers, but common methods include:

  • Tag: A tag containing information about the deceased such as name, date of birth, etc., is placed on the body (e.g., a bracelet on the wrist). It is checked throughout the process and removed before the body is placed in the cremation chamber.
  • Disc: This coin-shaped tag is made from stainless steel and contains identifying information. It remains with the body throughout the process and is placed in the cremation chamber. The disc does not get destroyed during cremation and is included in the urn with the ashes.

At Eirene, we require a recent photograph of the deceased, and/or we use tattoos, body landmarks, scars, moles, etc., to aid identification.

Cremation

There are two types of cremation – flame cremation and aquamation (also known as water cremation). The processes differ, but aquamation is not yet legal in New Brunswick, so those opting for cremation over burial will receive flame cremation services.

Flame cremation involves exposing the body to flame and extreme heat in a chamber (760 to 980 Celsius). This reduces organic matter to bone fragments, which are pulverized to create a coarse, grey, or brown powder known as ashes or cremated remains.

All combustible material (e.g., clothes, jewelry, etc.) is destroyed during the process. Non-combustible materials (e.g., medical implants) that contain a battery or pose other safety risks must be removed before flame cremation. Other metals, like fillings, will not be destroyed and are removed from the ashes after a cooling period and recycled.

Is embalming required in New Brunswick?

Embalming is a chemical form of preservation that replaces the blood with embalming chemicals. It is intended to delay decomposition for longer periods.

Embalming is not required by law in most circumstances in New Brunswick. However, it may be necessary or required in some scenarios, including a viewing or if the body is transported to another province or country.

Do New Brunswickers prefer burial or cremation?

Cremation rates across Canada have steadily been rising, increasing by about 25 per cent in the last 20 years. In New Brunswick, the provincial cremation rate rose from 46.1 per cent in 2010 to 71.6 per cent in 2020. The cremation rate is projected to reach 81.4 per cent by 2025.

There are many reasons for this trend, but the primary driver is lower cost. Cremation packages often cost thousands of dollars less than burial packages. Cremation may also eliminate other expensive services, such as embalming, casket purchase, interment, etc., and tends to offer more flexibility and simplicity.

Where in New Brunswick is cremation conducted?

Cremation is offered at several licensed funeral homes and crematoriums in New Brunswick. Cremation is typically conducted on-site or outsourced to crematoriums in the area.

What does cremation cost in New Brunswick?

The cost for cremation in New Brunswick is on the higher end when compared to other provinces in Canada.

Generally, cremation packages will cost between $1,000 to $10,000, and direct cremation packages typically fall on the lower end of this range at $1,000 to $3,500. This is because direct cremation eliminates many more expensive services, such as embalming, viewing, visitation, etc. In New Brunswick, you are unlikely to find a direct cremation package under $1,700, and it is not uncommon for the cost to reach or exceed $3,000.

Cremation packages include the price for the cremation process (about $500 to $700) and other services offered by a funeral provider, such as documentation, transportation, body preparation, etc. Other common cremation fees include urn purchase ($10 to $2,000+) and interment ($500 to $3,500+).

What should I do when someone dies in New Brunswick?

When someone dies in New Brunswick, families should contact a doctor or coroner if the death is expected or imminent. Emergency services should be notified if the death is unexpected or if families do not have the necessary contact information. A doctor or coroner is responsible for filling out a Medical Certificate of Death and giving it to a funeral director.

Next, a funeral home or transfer service should be called. Funeral directors or funeral boards will help the family make arrangements and complete the documentation needed to register the death.

What is direct cremation, and is it available in New Brunswick?

Direct cremation involves a body being cremated shortly after death. This eliminates other services, such as embalming, viewing, visitation, etc., which can significantly lower the overall cost.

What is water cremation or aquamation, and is it available in New Brunswick?

Aquamation, or water cremation, is a water-based process that uses the chemical process of alkaline hydrolysis to cremate remains.

The process involves placing a body in a stainless-steel container and exposing it to pressure, heat, water, and alkali (potassium hydroxide). This creates a reaction that speeds up decomposition and leaves bone fragments and a sterile liquid behind. Implants and metals also remain and come out of the vessel sterilized. These are removed and recycled. Next, the bone is pulverized to create a white or tan powder, and the liquid is disposed of as wastewater.

Unlike flame cremation, medical implants are not destroyed and do not need to be removed beforehand unless required by law. However, clothing materials that are not protein-based (e.g., silk) will not break down and must be removed before the process begins.

Aquamation is not currently legal in New Brunswick. Learn more about legalization in this article.

Who regulates cremation in New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission handles consumer affairs, and that includes funeral rights and regulations. It ensures consumer protection through licensing, regulation, enforcement, and administration. The NBFCSC also conductions investigations and can help address consumer complaints.

Funeral rights are handled according to the Pre-arranged Funerals Act of 2012. The provincial act outlines how prearranged funeral contracts are made to help ensure consumer money is protected. Funeral regulations are also governed by the Financial and Consumer Service Commission Act.

Where can I buy a cremation urn in New Brunswick?

Cremation urns can be purchased online or directly through a funeral provider or through a cemetery. Eirene offers a wide selection of urns and accessories in our online store at https://store.eirene.ca/. Free shipping is provided to New Brunswick residents (and residents across Canada).

Is funeral financial assistance available in New Brunswick?

New Brunswick residents have provincial and federal financial assistance programs available to them. These are listed below:

Provincial Funeral Assistance Programs:

Federal Funeral 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

Can I preplan a cremation funeral in New Brunswick?

Yes. Anyone at any age can preplan a cremation funeral. Preplanning helps ensure end-of-life wishes are honoured and funds are available to cover the cost of funeral arrangements.

Have a cremation question?

Eirene can answer your cremation questions. Email us at support@eirene.ca.

Our company provides cremation services in Nova Scotia and Ontario and, pending regulatory approval, expects to expand to additional provinces in Canada, including New Brunswick, by the end of 2022 or in early 2023.