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Subsidized Funeral and Burial Services

Niagara Region provides financial assistance for funeral, burial and cremation services at a funeral home or place of worship, including:

  • Two hour visitation and service
  • Direct burial
  • Cremation
  • Opening and closing costs
  • Purchase of a burial plot

Cremation or burial, including plot, and interment are subsidized separately and provided by local cemeteries under this program.

Eligibility

  • Niagara residents receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program benefits
  • Low income residents of Niagara may also be eligible for services

A full eligibility review of the deceased person's estate must be completed by Niagara Region before completing funeral arrangements. If the deceased is a dependent child (up to 17 years of age), the application for assistance will be based on the parent or legal guardian's eligibility for funeral services.

Criteria

Individuals are eligible for help with the cost of funeral, burial and cremation services if they meet the following criteria:

  • The deceased is a Niagara resident
  • The deceased has no valid life insurance policy or prepaid funeral that exists where the value exceeds the costs of the services requested
  • Available funds in the deceased's estate (bank accounts, RRSPs, life insurance and prepaid funerals) are less than the maximum cost of the funeral, burial and cremation services requested as outlined in Niagara’s Funeral Fee Schedule
  • There are no other financial resources available to cover the cost of funeral, burial and cremation services that may be available for individuals who served in the military, suffered from a motor vehicle accident or a work related death, First Nations members who live on a reservation or victims of crime 

Funeral Fee Schedule

We provide for a basic, yet professional and dignified service, according to Niagara’s Funeral Fee Schedule. Only items and services outlined in the fee schedule will be approved.

Individuals wishing to purchase items and services that exceed this schedule, such as an urn, newspaper / website placement and costs, clergy, register book and other stationery, executor / follow-up assistance, after hours services, and other additional services or alternative merchandise may contract directly with funeral and burial providers to purchase at their own cost.

Niches, mausoleums and tombstones are not eligible burial costs in Niagara’s Funeral Fee Schedule.

How to Apply

To apply, call Niagara Region Community Services, Discretionary Benefits Program at 905-641-9960 ext. 6026. Applicants will be contacted to book an appointment with a staff member within one business day of your request.

If the death occurs on the weekend, holiday, or if there are time sensitive cultural / religious requirements, contact our office immediately and leave a message to ensure your appointment is prioritized during regular business hours.

Applications for financial assistance must be approved by Niagara Region before funeral arrangements are finalized. If you're unable to attend a local Niagara Region Community Services office, the application may be completed at an alternate location. If the deceased has a will, the executor of the will is the only person who can complete the application.

What you will need to apply

The following documents of the deceased person are needed to complete the application for funeral, burial and cremation services:

  • One piece of identification of the deceased and applicant such as:
    • Birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card, citizenship documents
    • Driver's licence
    • Social insurance number
    • Health card
  • Will
  • Life insurance policy
  • Pre-paid funeral
  • Verification of current bank account(s)
  • Income verification
  • Verification of assets, including RRSPs, bonds, stocks, investments, etc.

Recovery of Funeral, Burial and Cremation Costs

After the funeral, burial and cremation service, Niagara Region will recover all costs paid from the estate of the deceased, including any income or assets eligible for recovery, such as cash in bank accounts and CPP Death Benefit.

Interment rights

If Niagara Region purchases a burial plot, the ownership of the plot (interment rights) will be held by the cemetery in the estate of the deceased. Contact the cemetery to request access to the interment rights or to request alterations or additions to the burial plot.

Niagara Region is not responsible for any costs associated with the transfer of interment rights or changes to the plot.

Death certificates

If you require a Proof of Death Certificate, contact the funeral home. Certificates will be marked "not for financial gain" until the full costs of the services are recovered by Niagara Region from the deceased's estate.

Transportation costs

Transportation costs are the responsibility of the family if the:

  • Deceased died in Niagara and the funeral, burial and cremation services are requested to take place outside of Niagara or in a place other than where the death occurred
  • Funeral, burial and cremation services requested are in Niagara and the death occurred outside Ontario
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