This article is written not to put down funeral directors or funeral homes, but rather to educate you today for peace of mind tomorrow. For the most part, funeral directors are amazing people with a special gift of helping those in need in their darkest hour. Here in Winnipeg, the funeral industry is generallymade up of large corporations who buy out the independently owned, mom and pop funeral businesses; which are added to their vast collection of over a thousand funeral homes and cemeteries.
Oftentimes, families are told that they must use the services of the funeral home situated on cemetery grounds. Certain funeral homes and cemeteries would lead you believe this is true. Actually this information is 100% false. Your family has the legal right to use any funeral service provider in the province of Manitoba. Essentially what this means is that you are able to have the cremation and other services provided elsewhere and still use the cemetery of your choice without penalty. Cemeteries are a separate entity, and are regulated under the Cemeteries Act. Voyage Funeral Home services all cemeteries and places of worship. Using a funeral home that is not situated on cemetery property, such as Voyage, may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Some funeral homes will state it is mandatory to hold an identification viewing of your loved one prior to cremation. For this viewing, you will be instructed that you must purchase, at a minimum, a cremation casket. This is also false and deceptive. In the province of Manitoba, the board of funeral serviceinforms us it is not a legal requirement and is not necessary. You may also be told that a cardboard cremation container will not be able to handle the weight of your loved one if the weight exceeds 140 pounds. To enhance profits, they force you to purchase, at a minimum, a plywood container. At Voyage Funeral Home, this is not the case. In our package, we provide a basic cardboard container for the cremation process. We do not require an identification viewing, unless requested by the family.Please note, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has a series of checks and balances in place that are designed to positively identify your loved one prior to being released.
After performing the cremation, some funeral homes will lead you to believe that it is necessary to purchase an urn for thecremated remains. This is again false. You do not have to purchase an urn at all. At Voyage Funeral Home, families are given the options of purchasing an urn, bringing in something of sentimental value, or simply taking the cremated remains as packaged from the crematorium which consist of a cardboard container. Your cremation container should depend on your final disposition of the cremated remains. If using a cemetery, it is best to check with the cemetery for their burial requirements.
Funeral homes may also go as far as saying that scattering is prohibited so that you purchase an urn. Scattering is a questionthat I am frequency asked in my “Ask the Funeral Director” column. In the province of Manitoba, human remains that have been properly cremated may be scattered on unoccupied provincially owned crown land or water (which includes provincial parks) without the formal consent of the government. Care should be taken to ensure that the remains are not scattered near drinking water or recreational water which accommodates activities such as swimming. You may scatter on private property with the consent of the owner. Scattering of cremated remains in a cemetery requires cemetery permission.
Funeral homes will make it seem as though obituaries are required and mandatory. Obituaries are NOT mandatory. Most often these funeral homes use your obituary as a means to advertise their services, or their personal name and title on your dime. Some will even run the obituary multiple times. Here at Voyage Funeral Home, if so desired, obituaries are placed in the local paper, to acknowledge the passing of a loved one to family members, friends, co-workers, etc. An obituary serves to notify if a family is having a funeral service or celebration of life. It may include the time, date and place of service, a brief summary of the person’s life as well as the sending of flowers, or donations to a charity. An obituary does not have to be published more than once in the paper. Keep in mind, once you place an obituary in the paper, it automatically goes online to the Passages website, where it is kept for people to see at their convenience. Passages also allows loved ones and friends to send condolence messages to the deceased’s family. Again, AN OBITUARY IS NOT MANDATORY and should only be published at the family’s request.
If you are not satisfied with the funeral home or director that youhave chosen, it is important to know that according to the Board of Funeral Service in the province of Manitoba, you may cancel your signed funeral service contract within a 24-hour period.Also, you may walk out of the arrangement process at any time if you feel pressured or uncomfortable.
Most recently, Wheeler Funeral Home, currently the subject of a criminal police investigation and much negative press these past few months, has now been sold. This funeral home according to the appointed trustee has in excess of $900,000.00 in trust funds. If you have a prearrangement with Wheeler, it is important to note that you can transfer a preplan to Voyage or any other funeral provider of your choice. You do not have to leave the funds for the new company, especially if you are uncomfortable with the unpredictability of the situations that have arisen.
EXPERIENCE THE VOYAGE DIFFERENCE
Our vision incorporates tradition, compassion, cultural sensitivity and cost options to meet the needs of every family. We truly do believe in treating your loved one as we would our own.
Voyage, established in 1998, is a family-owned and operated funeral home. We lead the funeral profession by setting examples in using the best practices possible. We will continue to make a difference and set higher standards with dedication and eternal commitment to the families we serve. We take pride in families knowing a loved one is in our care 100% of the time. They are treated with respect, dignity and compassion.
As a funeral director, I cannot take death away nor can I take away the pain. I do however have empathy and will do my utmost best to carry your family through the most difficult experiences caused by death. I promise to be honest, loving, caring, understanding and most of all have the greatest compassion, respect and dignity for your family, regardless of your situation.