Education and Training

As stipulated in the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is responsible for regulation of four personal licence classes:

  • –  Funeral Director – Class 1 (embalming)
  • –  Funeral Director – Class 2 (non-embalming)
  • –  Transfer Service Sales Representative
  • –  Funeral Preplanner

Each licence class has a varied scope of practice. All educational standards are set by the Registrar and the Funeral Sector Professional Competency Profiles – Second Edition provides the foundation for all funeral service education initiatives. Developed by funeral professionals for funeral professionals, competencies as they apply to each personal licence class are defined within five key areas of focus:

  1. Communication and Responsiveness
  2. Care of the Deceased
  3. Disposition, Funeral Services and Visitation
  4. Business Practices
  5. Professionalism

Competency based education programs are designed to build learning outcomes that may be applied to another personal licence class should the individual choose to pursue further training in the funeral sector.

Click here for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Competencies, as identified in the Funeral Sector Professional Competency Profiles – Second Edition, provide the foundation for all education initiatives.

As stipulated in the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 30/11, the Registrar for the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is responsible for identifying the funeral service education requirements for four specified personal licence classes including:

  • – Funeral Director – Class 1 (embalming)
  • – Funeral Director – Class 2 (non-embalming)
  • – Transfer Service Sales Representative
  • – Funeral Preplanner

For individuals wishing to pursue a career in funeral service, the Funeral Service Education program is designed to support continued development. Education requirements for each licence class build on the previous class beginning with Funeral Preplanner and ending with Funeral Director – Class 1. Selecting a program of study depends upon your level of interest and the amount of time that you are willing to invest.

Individuals may decide to pursue career opportunities at any of the four specified levels or enhance existing skill sets with the completion of additional funeral service education requirements over a period of time.

Industry Program Standards for Funeral Service Education

Approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Funeral Service Education Program Standards serve to inform curriculum development for each personal licence class at approved educational institutions in Ontario.

Designed to include vocational learning outcomes, essential employability skills, general education requirements, and process standards, through combining theoretical course work with practical internship experience, graduates of the program acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities that support continued career development.

Click here to download the Industry Program Standards for Funeral Service Education.

Currently, there are two approved educational institutions in Ontario that provide Funeral Service Education:

Normally students complete the course of study and obtain the designated credential within the timelines identified below:

Personal Licence ClassCredentialCourse WorkNormal Internship TermEstimated Timeline for Program Completion
Funeral Director – Class 1 (embalming)Ontario College Diploma5 semesters1 year2 years
Funeral Director – Class 2 (non embalming)Ontario College Diploma4 semesters6 months1.5 years
Transfer Service Sales RepresentativeOntario College Certificate2 semesters3 months6 months
Funeral PreplannerCertificate of AchievementonlineN/AN/A

The Preceptor Training Program previously offered by the Board of Funeral Services (BOFS) is no longer mandatory

Effective April 1, 2016, Humber College and Collège Boréal will assume the responsibility for delivering the internship program, including the tracking of completed competencies and oversight of preceptors, for all new interns.

Effective April 1, 2016, a funeral director with the following qualifications is permitted to act as a preceptor:

  • –   licensed in good standing in the province of Ontario
  • –   who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years
  • –   who agrees to fulfill the requirements of “preceptor” as defined by the college and the Registrar

Stay tuned for more information about optional training programs that will be offered by Humber College and Collège Boréal.

Since 1938, funeral professionals in Ontario have committed to lifelong learning through participating in mandatory professional development programming on a regular basis.

The BAO believes that continuing education is a priority and an important component of any profession, and effective January 1, 2020 will require funeral licensees to complete a minimum of six (6) hours of continuing education or professional development each year. This means that a funeral licensee renewing their licence in the fall of 2020 for the 2021 licence year will have completed 6 hours of continuing education to be eligible for renewal.

To qualify for continuing education credit, the course must be:

  1. Delivered through the provincial associations (OFSA and OACFP) or College Boreal and Humber College, and
  2. Approved by the Bereavement Education Committee (BEC)*

Approved con-ed opportunities will be advertised on the BAO, OFSA and OACFP websites. No courses, seminars, conferences or events originating from outside of the province or from other associations will qualify for credit unless they have received prior approval of the BEC. Individual licensees should inquire with the BEC prior to registering for these programs if they intend to use them for con-ed credit. Programs that qualified in the past as professional development do not automatically qualify in the future.

Qualifying courses will be identified as either Category A or Category B content. A maximum of 2 hours from Category B courses will qualify for con-ed credit. The remaining 4 hours must be from Category A.

Category A – Technical / Professional Skills:

  • Embalming
  • Restorative Art
  • Business management (marketing, personnel management, accounting, computer applications)
  • Ethical Issues
  • Legal Interpretations
  • Regulatory Issues
  • Communications Skills
  • Sales techniques

Category B – Self Care:

  • Counseling
  • Grief Psychology
  • Family Care
  • Stress Management
  • Motivational presentations

As in the past, funeral licensees are required to self-report the details of their continuing education on their licensing renewal forms on an annual basis and must retain evidence of course completion to substantiate their credit.

*Bereavement Education Committee: The associations, OACFP and OFSA, in consultation with College Boreal and Humber College have created a committee to receive and assess applications and give accreditation to third-party providers. Offerings will only be eligible for con-ed credit if the provider and content has been approved and accredited by the BEC.

For questions or to apply, contact the BEC: apply@bereavementeducation.org

1.Why did the BAO increase the hours from four to six hours? Six hours seems too much.

Professional development is important as it ensures that knowledge and skills stay relevant and current and fosters consumer confidence in the sector. This is even more vital today as licensees continue as “licensed” if they renew their license and meet the CE requirements, regardless of the activity or employer. The BAO looked at the CE requirements of jurisdictions across Canada and the US and saw that Ontario’s bereavement sector was at the low end of CE hours.  Many if not most jurisdictions require 12 to 24 hours of CE for their funeral licensees within a two-year period.

Other professions require substantially more hours:

2.What if the continuing education course I take is longer than the required # of hours? 

Feel free to complete more than the required # of continuing education hours – you are only required to report 6 hours to the BAO (when you renew your license).

3.Can I complete 6 hours of continuing education content from category A?

Yes. As an option you MAY complete up to 2 hours of self-care education (category B) but this is not mandatory. If you wish, you can complete all 6 hours of continuing education on topics relating to technical/professional skills (category A).

4.Why does CE have to be delivered by the associations or colleges to qualify for credit?

The BAO has never been in the business of delivering education and believes that the associations are best positioned to determine the CE needs of their members. In addition, the quality of content must be assured. OFSA and OACFP share a dedication to professional development and education for their respective members, many of whom are subject matter experts. The colleges obviously have expertise in education delivery.

5.What is the BEC?

The Bereavement Education Committee (BEC) is a joint committee of OFSA and OACFP that, in consultation with Humber College and College Boreal, meets to receive applications from third-party education providers, and approve their content for the purposes of meeting the CE requirements set by the BAO.

6.Does this mean the registrar no longer approves courses?

The registrar maintains statutory authority under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act 2002 over all education requirements; but in relation to professional development, the registrar has delegated the approval of courses to the BEC.

7.Do I report my con ed attendance to the BEC?

You will report your professional development hours when you are renewing your personal licence through the licensee portal in November/December. You must maintain proof of attendance.

8.What if I don’t want to belong to OFSA or OACFP? How can I get my CE credits?

Membership is not required to access courses from the associations. That said, licensees may find excellent value in becoming a member to take advantage of discounts and other services.

9.I took courses provided by FSAC. Will they count for CE?

Only if the courses received prior approval from the BEC.

10.What if I attend the NFDA conference in the US, will it be eligible for credit?

Conferences that were eligible in the past do not automatically qualify as eligible for CE unless approved by the BEC.

11.Will there be any courses that are free and don’t require payment?

Maintaining one’s status as a licensed professional requires an ongoing investment of time and money. There is a cost to delivering webinars and such, and the associations and colleges can charge a fee to offset these costs. Occasionally, as in the past, free CE opportunities may be available from time to time.

12.I’m a provider and my course was approved by the BAO last year. Do I still have to go through the BEC approval process? 

Yes.

13.How can I get a course/ training approved?

Contact the BEC at: apply@bereavementeducation.org

14.I have attended training from the associations or colleges before and I don’t think the content had value. I believe there are more educational opportunities out there that aren’t offered by the associations/colleges.
If you believe that there are subjects that should be offered that currently are not, you may suggest these opportunities to the BEC for consideration or advise the provider to contact the BEC. Contact the BEC: apply@bereavementeducation.org

 

Continuing Education Troubleshooting

1. Please ensure that you are logged in to the Licensee Portal with the email address associated to your licence number.

2. If you receive an error message you may need to clear the cache on your browser. In order to do this, please follow the following steps:

   Step One: Please log out of your Licensee Portal and return to www.thebao.ca,

   Step Two: In the upper right corner, you will see an accessibility icon (wheelchair). Please click this icon and choose “Clear Cookies”,

   Step Three: Close your browser completely and reopen it,

   Step Four: Head to www.thebao.ca and click on “Licensee Portal Login” found directly left to the “Home” button in our main banner,

   Step Five: Please log in with the email address associated to your licence number.

3. You must fill in 4 of the 5 input values in the step for Continuing Education

   a. Split the course/seminar values or,
   b. Input the same course multiple times in these fields.

4. If you continue to experience an error while inputting your Continuing Education please ensure that the values you use for “Duration of Course” are numeric only, do not use the word “hours” or “hrs” in that field.

5. If your manager has issued a credit for payment of your licence renewal, please select “Individual Renewal Credit” from the drop-down menu (final step).

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