What is the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002?
The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) is a piece of legislation that received Royal Assent in 2002 and was proclaimed into force to take effect July 1, 2012. The FBCSA was created as consumer protection legislation respecting funerals, burials, cremations and related services within the province of Ontario. The FBCSA and its regulations recognize that bereavement-related purchases are often made during delicate and emotional times and the legislation helps ensure that consumers are clearly informed of their options. The legislation also ensures that consumers have the necessary information on hand when making bereavement-related purchase decisions.
What are your rights as a consumer under the FBCSA?
By law, cemeteries, crematoriums, funeral homes and transfer service operators must be licensed.
Providers must give you a price list of all the supplies and services they sell before a contract is made.
Please note that Providers must also tell you about any business arrangements they will benefit from if they recommend something to you, or sell you a particular supply or service.
For example, they must tell you about any commission or benefits paid to them if you choose a particular florist shop or catering company. The Provider must also tell you if the owner of the business also owns another bereavement-related business within a 100 km radius.
After signing a contract for funeral, cemetery or crematorium supplies or services, you have 30 days to change you mind and receive a full refund. This is referred to as a cooling-off period.
How do I cancel a contract?
- Give written notice to your Provider stating that you want to cancel the contract.
- Within 30 days of providing written notice, the Provider will refund your payment for any supplies or services that you have not yet received.
- The amount of your refund will depend on when you cancel the contract and whether the provider has incurred costs.
Yes, you may cancel your contract after 30 days from signing, but a cancellation fee may apply. The cancellation fee cannot be more than 10% of the cost of the contract, or up to a maximum of $350.
As of July 1, 2012, prepaid contracts are guaranteed. This means that a Provider must supply everything specified in your contract when you need it without additional charges, even if prices have gone up.
If you require material from a funeral home, cemetery, crematorium or transfer service in an accessible format (e.g. large print or audio format) it must be made available to you at no extra cost.
You have the right to ask the Bereavement Authority of Ontario if disciplinary actions have ever been taken against a bereavement-related business or its employees and if their licenses are in good standing.
Interment rights are the rights to place human remains or cremated human remains in a grave, crypt or niche.
Cemetery operators do not sell the land but sell rights to be buried in a grave/lot or plot.
A plot is defined as more than 1 grave/lot that is sold as a unit.
Some cemeteries also sell scattering rights–the rights to scatter cremated remains on a scattering ground in a cemetery. You also have the right to scatter cremated remains in other locations, but there may be some restrictions.
You have the right to resell your unused interment or scattering rights if the by-laws of the cemetery do not prohibit the resale.
If the by-laws indicate that you may resell your unused rights to a 3rd party:
Please note that you cannot resell them for more than the market value on the price list for the cemetery. You must contact the cemetery before selling to or buying from a third party and the transfer of the rights must be done through the cemetery operator.
The cemetery operator will verify that the seller is, in fact, the interment rights holder and will update the public register and issue a new interment rights certificate. Cemetery operators may charge an administrative fee for this service.
If the by-laws indicate that you cannot resell the rights directly:
You may still have a right to cancel your contract. The cemetery is required to refund an amount equal to the market price (not including any amount that was paid into the care and maintenance fund or account).
Cemeteries are not required to repurchase interment rights for an unused grave or lot that is located in the plot where one or more of the graves or lots have already been used.
Before signing a contract:
- Make sure you are dealing with a licensed Provider (ask to see their licence).
- Review the Provider’s price list to make choices that are in your budget.
- Review the cemetery or crematorium’s by-laws.
- Make sure the contract sets out the things you have agreed to buy or rent, such as:
- services, facilities and vehicles
- a casket, urn, vault, grave, crypt or niche and monument,
- any other payments (for newspaper notices, police escorts, honorariums for religious officials, etc.)
- Make sure that the contract also includes any taxes to be paid.
- Ask the Provider if they are receiving any commission or benefit from recommending services from third parties.
Please note: for your contract to be valid, both you and the Provider must sign it. Make sure you receive a copy of the signed contract for your records.