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Consultations on Proposed Amendments to the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act, 2008

Background Information
Strengthened Regulatory Powers 

DGSNL is recommending several changes to strenghten the regulatory powers of the Board and improve consumer protection in the funeral services industry.

Standards of Practice

Authority for self-regulation traditionally includes the ability to set standards of practice. Therefore, DGSNL is proposing the Board be granted authority to establish and enforce standards of practice (i.e. minimum standards regarding how licensees are to perform their specific duties) with respect to embalming, cremation, funeral services and transportation and internment of human remains.

Continuing Education Requirements

Paragraph 10(1)(a) of the Act gives the Board, subject to ministerial approval, authority to make regulations about courses of training and educational requirements for the licensing of embalmers and funeral directors. However, the Board does not have authority to prescribe continuing education requirements for licensees, a common practice for self-regulated occupations.

Duties of Apprentices and Licensees

Duties are different from minimum standards of practice because duties describe what activities a licensee can do and minimum standards indicate requirements for how those duties must be performed. The Board does not currently have authority to establish and enforce the specific duties of apprentices, embalmers, funeral directors, and funeral homes. Granting this authority would assist the Board with enforcement activities by clearly defining which duties must be completed by licensees.

Definition of Funeral Services and Supplies

In paragraph 2(b), an "embalmer" is defined as a person who engages in the practicing of "embalming", defined in paragraph 2(c). The definition of funeral director in paragraph 2(d) references the provision of "funeral supplies and services"; however, "funeral supplies and services" is not defined in the Act. For continuity and clarity, DGSNL is proposing to add a definition of funeral services and supplies to the Act.

Additional Categories of Licensees

DGSNL is considering a proposal to add three new categories of licensees to the Act: Funeral Pre-Planners, Support Attendants, and Crematoria.

With respect to the first two categories, it has been suggested these categories of licensees are required to ensure an adequate level of professionalism and to impose certain educational requirements on those who may be currently working in the industry and assisting licensees, without any formal training. With respect to the third category, it has been suggested crematoria should be licensed separately from funeral homes.

DGSNL wants to hear from stakeholders regarding the Board’s request to add three new categories of licensees, including the potential for any unintended consequences in expanding the licensing regime, and the increased regulatory burden on the funeral services industry.

Funeral Pre-Planner

A Funeral Pre-Planner would be accountable to a licensed Funeral Director and their duties would include meeting with families to pre-arrange funerals; discussing all levels of services available; discussing payment options prior to the selection of any service or products; determining preferred flower selections and donations; and obtaining all necessary information.

Support Attendant

A Support Attendant would also be accountable to a licensed Funeral Director and their duties would include removing deceased individuals from the place of death; assisting a funeral director at a funeral service/committal; assisting an embalmer during an embalming procedure; assisting with property maintenance; and assisting with graveside preparation.


Currently, the only reference to crematorium in the Act is in subsection 12(4) which states “[a] crematorium where human remains are disposed of shall not be operated except by a person who holds a licence to practice as a funeral director.’’ However, cremation is becoming the main means of disposition; therefore, DGSNL has been advised that crematoria should be added as a separate licence under the Act.

Thank your participation.

Submissions are closed.