Funeral Costs: Questions and Answers

Funeral Costs: Questions and Answers
Ever wonder what a funeral costs in Canada? This series of questions and answers reveals what typical cremation and burial costs are in Canada.
7 minute read

Funerals are one of the largest purchases an average working person will spend money on in their lifetime. Some claim that the final expense is the third largest single purchase after a house and car. Even if you also take into consideration the cost of a secondary education (though not a single purchase, as it is paid in installments over several years), a funeral may be the fourth largest expenditure in an average Canadian's lifetime.

There is no denying that a funeral can be a sizeable expense. A traditional burial funeral in Canada with a viewing or visitation, reception, casket and grave plot and marker is going to cost in the $7,500 to $10,000 range. In many cases, the bill can be even higher. The lower cost of cremation can drop that expense by several thousand dollars. And further simplification using a direct cremation package can lower the cost even further to the $2,500 all inclusive fee that Eirene Cremations charges. You can learn more about what direct cremation is here.

Typical funeral costs in Canada:

The funeral costs below are approximate ranges and prices will vary by region and providers in Canada.

However, the price ranges below will give you a snapshot of costs to budget for based on your funeral choices for all Canadian provinces from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in the east to British Columbia and is inclusive of Ontario and Quebec.

  • Cremation with viewing/service and urn: $4,500-$6000+
  • Burial with viewing/service: $7,500-$10,000+
  • Direct cremation or aquamation with urn: $2500-$4,000+. If you add the cost of a celebration of life event later, expect to spend $500 to $2,000 more when factoring in food and a venue.

(Note that here at Eirene Cremations we serve Ontario and Nova Scotia.)

Detailed funeral costs

To help you understand the full extent of funeral costs, we've complied a series of articles that help you understand fees and offer tips on how to reduce final expenses in this collection of funeral cost questions and answers.

Here is a summary of the questions answered in this funeral costs guide. Scroll down to see each question answered in detail. If the question is linked, a click will take you to an in-depth article about the topic or to the section of this page that explains the answer.

What does various funeral types cost in Canada including Ontario and Nova Scotia as well as other provinces?

The answer to what a funeral costs in Canada is...it depends. Here's a summary of approximate funeral costs with variations:

  • A direct cremation funeral in Canada costs between $2,000 and $4,000.   At Eirene our all inclusive package is: $2500 + HST. We serve Ontario and Nova Scotia.
  • A no-frills burial can cost about $7,500 once you factor in funeral service fees, grave plot, interment and grave marker.
  • A typical traditional funeral with a viewing or visitation and reception in Canada costs between $8,000 and $10,000. Although a funeral home is going to surcharge that and you might see $10,000+ expenses if you're not careful.
  • A traditional funeral with direct cremation and a family-organized reception without a viewing or visitation may cost under $5000.

Funeral cost in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, the Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia estimated the average cost of a funeral within the province is around $7,000 in an interview with the CBC. The number is based on a 2019 poll of the association's membership. It does not include expenses for things such as obituaries, flowers or headstones. Eirene serves Nova Scotia families with an all inclusive cremation package of $2500 + HST. To book arrangements, click here.

What does cremation cost?

Fees to cremate a body run in the $500 to $1,000 range. However that is only one component of what it costs for a cremation funeral. There are other fees such as body preparation, documentation, transportation, urns, ashes delivery, and more. You'll see direct cremation companies quote cremation packages in Canada in the $2,000 to $3,500 range, although this can be deceptive because the lowest cost packages that some companies advertise leave out extra fees that are not optional. (At Eirene, our all inclusive direct cremation package is $2,500).

To help you get a better sense of the range of costs you can expect to pay for a cremation funeral, read our extensive and detailed: cremation cost breakdown. It outlines the component costs of a typical funeral and compares cremation expenses to burial expenses.

What does aquamation cost?

Aquamation or flameless cremation is a newer cremation technology available in Canada (as of spring 2022) in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador only. It uses water treated with alkali, and heat and pressure to reduce a body to ashes. It costs slightly 20% more that standard flame. For example Eirene charges $3,000 for an all inclusive aquamation package. Learn more about aquamation here.

What does a burial funeral cost?

A traditional burial funeral in Canada will cost in the $7,500 to $10,000 range depending on location of grave plot purchased and the cost of grave marker. Without a viewing or visitation you can get the budget down to the lower end of the range. If you see a fees advertised or what is called "direct burial" in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 that budget almost always excludes cemetery fees which can cost $1500-$3000 outside major metropolitan areas to as much as $10,000+ in a cemetery in a city like Toronto or Vancouver. Casket upgrades run in the $800 to $2000 or more.

What does a green burial cost?

Green burials are based on five principles that when followed minimize the impact of a burial funeral on the environment. The cost of a green burial is $4,000 to $8,000 on average and factors in no embalming, no grave liners or headstones and a biodegradable casket or shroud. Here is a guide to green burials in Canada. Here is a detailed breakdown of the cost of green burials.

Canadian burial plots costs

Here are some burial plot examples for an adult that were found on cemetery web sites in the spring of 2022. Expect to pay $1000-$1500 of additional interment fees and administration surcharges on top of the stated burial plot amounts.
Examples below marked by the word "inclusive" means interment fees are included in the quote fee:

Canadian burial plot cost examples in 2022

We have aggregated grave plot costs from various cities and suburbs across Canada to give you a sense of fees you can expect to pay for a casket grave for an adult.

Ontario:

  • Toronto - Mount Pleasant Cemetery: $25,000-$50,000 (price list)
  • Brampton (a suburb of Toronto) - municipal cemetery : $2,000 to $3,000 (price list)
  • Sudbury - $2,670 (price list)

Nova Scotia:

Saskatchewan:

  • Regina - municipal cemeteries: $1,835  to $2,855 (price list)
  • Saskatoon - Woodlawn Cemetery - $1800 - $2350 (price list)

Alberta:

  • Calgary - municipal cemeteries: $3,837.30 - $4,456.21 (price list)

British Columbia:

  • Vancouver - Mountain View Cemetery: $27,000 to $35,000 (price list)
  • Surrey - municipal cemeteries (a suburb of Vancouver):  $2540

If you want to see the costs associated with burial funeral, read this funeral cost article. It outlines the component costs of a typical burial funeral and compares it to a cremation funeral and outlines expenses such as grave plots, grave stones and embalming.

What does a grave marker or headstone cost?

Headstones, cemetery markers and monuments will add significantly to a burial funeral cost.  Expect to pay $150-$500 for a memorial plaque  to $1,000 to $25,000 for an upright headstone. See our detailed breakdown of costs of various types of  Memorial Stones and Grave Markers in the linked article.

What does each funeral component cost?

Funerals have a variety of elements that include professional fees,  transport, burial or cremation fees, visitation and viewings, embalming and many more. To get a sense of what each element costs, have a look at this funeral component costs article on our site that explains what each part of a funeral can cost.

How much do cremation urns cost?

Cremation urns can range from free to $10-20 for a basic ashes container provided by a cremation services company (usually include din a package). Really nice decorative urns that can be displayed cost under $100 for a keepsake urn that can contain a small sample of ashes to over $1000 for a significantly ornate urn suitable for display. Read more about the cost of an urn here or you can browse our urn store here (be sure to sign up for our email list on the store homepage to get 10% off).

What does a casket or coffin cost?

We detail the types and costs of caskets and coffins in this article. However here is the basic information you need about casket costs:

  • Caskets and coffins generally range from $900 to $20,000.
  • Many caskets are usually priced in the $2,000 to $5,000 range.

How much do funeral niches for ashes cost?

Some families choose to keep the cremation ashes of a loved one in a niche at a cemetery. This article explains what a funeral niche is and how much they cost.  

How much does it cost to bury an urn?

The cost to burying an urn in Canada can range from $800 to $3,000. In some cases it can cost more. Learn more here about urn burying costs.

What is the cost of embalming?

Embalming is a funerary procedure that uses chemicals to temporarily delay the decomposition of a body. In Canada, expect to pay $400 to $1,000 for this service if selected. Note that is not legally required.  Read more about embalming here.  

What to do if you can't afford a funeral?

Funerals can be expensive, and even if you use direct cremation to reduce costs and complexity of a funeral, some people will not have the resources for a funeral for their love one. Here is what to do in that case:

  • Request a payment plan. For example, Eirene will work with you to look for  government or related funeral financing programs that can offset the cost of final expenses. Contact us for help or to request a payment plan.
  • Review this article which offers a variety of ideas and resources to fund a funeral: What if I can't afford to die?
  • Read this article which offers federal and provincial programs that may help: Government Funeral Financial Assistance in Canada

Are funeral expenses tax deductible in Canada?

The answer to this is quite blunt:. No.

On the federal website Canada.ca it says:

Can I deduct funeral expenses, probate fees, or fees to administer the estate?
No. These are personal expenses and cannot be deducted.

You can read more about this issue here.

Have a question about funeral costs?

Ask our experts about funeral costs, payment plans and government funding programs. We're here to help 24/7. Email us at support@eirene.ca or reach out via our contact page. To make funeral arrangements in Ontario or Nova Scotia, click here.