Planning for the End of a Life

We all expect to live forever. But the certainty is that we will not. When death arrives, the family and friends of the deceased are more often than not overwhelmed by the event and frequently unable to cope with the business-like activities that, unfortunately, must be addressed. For this reason, planning long before your demise, or that of a family member, is strongly advised by the Memorial Society.

As a member of the Society, you have taken the first step. Upon joining the Society, you will have completed an Arrangement Form which expresses your wishes and is kept on file with the Memorial Society.

At time of need, your executor, family or administrator calls the Society's office which makes a referral to one or more funeral homes.

Arrangements can be made in your choice of funeral home. Alternatively, some funeral directors will even come to your home.

Your contract with the funeral home will cover the following topics:

  • Prices & Services: paperwork, transfer and preparation of the body including
    washing, dressing, and/or embalming; and/or cremation;
  • Disposition: burial, scattering, receiving ashes, etc.

Out of pocket expenses for organist, clergy, obituary, etc. are at additional cost.

It is important that you know that the Memorial Society of British Columbia receives no revenues in any form from sales of goods and services to you. Our only revenues come from Membership and Records Fees. Being membership based and volunteer driven, members have better service and protection.


Planning and Prepayment

The Memorial Society recommends planning before need. By ensuring that you have completed your Arrangements Form and that it is on file with the Memorial Society, you will have taken the first step to simplify your dealings with the funeral home at your time of need.

It is also possible to arrange with one of the Society's designated funeral homes for the prepayment of your funeral expenses. Before doing so, the Society recommends that you read the article Prepayment of Funeral Expenses to learn more about the issues of prepayment.

Prices and Services

I saw your ad in the Province and thought I should respond. My wife's parents put us on to you many years ago. Since then they have both passed as well as my parents. They were all members. Your help was nothing short of excellent.

Bill B.
Surrey, B.C.

The Memorial Society has negotiated lower, maximum prices for its members with selected funeral services providers. The pricing for paperwork and transfer of body as well as preparation is based on seven typical packages. Designated funeral homes and the prices which they charge to members of the Society may vary from time to time. Be sure to call the Society at 1-888-816-5902 for the latest information.

  • When a death occurs the first step is to arrange to have the body transferred from the place of death to a designated funeral provider. Your first call to the Memorial Society of British Columbia will get you started in the right direction.
  • A funeral provider will take some information about the deceased from you. Next, the provider will do all the paper work and secure all permits to transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home.
  • If you already haven't done so, then you will meet with a licensed funeral director to make arrangements for the disposition of the body and related details.

All Memorial Society of British Columbia designated funeral providers are owned and operated by Canadian families. None are franchises or owned by publicly traded companies. You are free to use any of them, but the closest one will probably be more convenient.

Preferred pricing for members is offered at all designated funeral homes.
Prices may vary within service areas.

At time of death, simply call one number for referral to the nearest designated funeral provider.
Call 1-888-816-5902.
This number is available 24 hours every day of the year.
(It should be the number on your membership card. Call us if it is not.)


Disposition refers to what you finally do with the body or ashes. The Society has no contract with cemeteries. Again, planning ahead is important -- shop before you drop!

What do you do with:

  • Ashes/urn?
    • You can scatter ashes as long as you have the owner's permission. No permit is required.
    • You can bury the ashes or entomb them in a columbarium (above ground niches). This costs money in a commercial or municipal cemetery.
    • You can bury the ashes anywhere without a permit so long as you have the owner's permission.
  • Body?
    • You are permitted to bury a body only in licensed cemeteries. The law requires the body to be in a container, such as a casket, if it is transported.
    • Cemeteries may charge for a grave, digging a grave and filling it, and a grave liner. The rules for a cemetery are called 'Bylaws', but these are not municipal bylaws. They are controlled by whoever owns the cemetery. Religious and cultural reasons can help persuade the cemetery owners to forego a requirement for grave liner and casket.

If you secure a price list for any cemetery, please send us a copy for our records by fax at 604-733-7730.

Grave or urn markers can be purchased from independent manufacturers and distributors. Here are some:

CENTURY MONUMENTS INC. -- Century Monuments is committed to providing members of the Memorial Society of B.C. with the highest quality custom memorial markers and monuments – we offer a 15% discount off of our regular low rates. With expertise in traditional and contemporary monument manufacture, our highly experienced craftspeople offer you many choices and encourage your involvement in the process of designing a loved one’s memorial. Prompt service and customer satisfaction is very important to us!
Please call for a free consultation today at 604-992-5025.

REFLECTIONS MONUMENTS -- 2840 Cosgrove Cres., Nanaimo, B.C., V9S 3P6.
250-729-9378. 1-877-729-1515.