Back in December the Auditor General publicized their Value‑for‑Money Audit of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario.
The Auditor General – “…plays an important role in holding provincial public-sector and broader-public-sector organizations accountable for financial responsibility, well-managed programs and transparency in public reporting.” (source Auditor.on.ca)
Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) – “…is a government delegated authority administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates and supports licensed: funeral establishment operators, directors and preplanners; cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators; transfer service operators; and bereavement sector sales representatives across Ontario.” (source thebao.ca)
Now the coles notes:
The Audit which focused on a variety of specific recommendations utilized secret shoppers to approach cremation and funeral providers to see just how they were serving their clients (grieving families) and following the legislative requirements that have a focus on consumer education and protection. Needless to say, the report was less than flattering and certainly should cause concern for anyone either working within the profession or those that may require the end of life services..
While the report paints the picture of consumers receiving difficult to understand pricing or in some cases perhaps no pricing at all, I honestly don’t believe this is to be the norm for the providers in the city of London. London has many quality, capable, and honest cremation and funeral providers. Unfortunately London also has some less than straight forward providers that very well could be those mentioned in the Auditors report.
So here are a few suggestions:
1. Check to see if the provider has their pricing available online, if not ask them to email you a price list for your review prior to your appointment
3. When discussing either preplanning or arrangements after a death, invite a friend or family member that has some business background or is at least of sound mind to help with big decisions
4. Try to determine what you feel to be a reasonable budget and stick with it. You may need to do some research first to ensure your budget is realistic.
5. It is normal to reach out to more than one provider before making a decision on which company you plan to use. Call or email them and see how they respond to your questions.
6. If you have any questions about past preplanning contracts (which are fully transferable) or other cremation and or funeral/celebration questions, please reach out to us at 519-963- 4003 or by email at email@example.com. We are always happy to share our knowledge without any obligation.
While the Bereavement Authority of Ontario will work to achieve the suggestions of the Auditor General’s Report it is up to you as a consumer to ensure that you have the proper education and information in an effort to no to be taken advantage of. I expect you would not buy house, vehicle or other large investment without some research and you should do the same with your cremation.