2012-06-27 “The New Act: Part 1”

On July 1st the Funeral Directors and Establishments Act will be replaced by the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act.  Some of the highlights that the Ministry of Consumer Services  website shows are:

–          You are entitled to make an informed decision:  you will have a right to know if other bereavement businesses in the area are owned by the establishment you’re dealing with; or it will receive a benefit, such as a payment, for recommending certain supplies. 

–          You have a right to know about a business person’s license status.  Under the new rules you will be able to learn if disciplinary actions have been taken against businesses providing funeral, burial or cremation services.

–          You have the right to change your mind.  Under the current law, when you buy funeral services, you have up to 30 days to change your mind and get a full refund.  This right will be extended to apply also to the purchase of interment rights.  You may still cancel these purchases after thirty days but a cancellation fee of up to $350 may apply.

–          You can sell interment rights for unneeded burial lots.  Currently if you have an unused interment right you no longer need, you can only return it to the cemetery for the price you initially paid.  The new Act will allow you to sell or return your interment right at current market value.  Be sure to check with your cemetery on how to do this, as there will be a procedure involved and all resales must comply with the regulations. 

–          You are entitled to receive professional services.  As the industry has evolved, a number of new services have developed to meet consumer need.  For example, some people buy insurance policies specifically to pay for future funeral expenses.  After July 2012, employees of a funeral establishment who provide such products will need to be licensed as Funeral preplanners.  This will provide a consistent level of professional service and oversight. 

–          Individuals may scatter human remains after cremation without a license.  However, if a person or business wishes to sell the service of scattering remains on behalf of a family, they will need to be licensed. 

These are only a few of the highlights.  I will speak more on this in the coming weeks.

Until next week,