Arranging a funeral is never easy and most funeral homes offer similar services but can there be a difference if you are dealing with an independent business versus a large corporation?
Glen Day thinks so. He is the executive director of the family-run Heritage Funeral Centre at 50 Overlea Ave. and grew up in the family business.
Day is leery of competitors like Service Corporation International (SCI) of Houston Texas who increase the final funeral bill by including extra expenses like aftercare (assistance with CPP, legal matters and bills) to create an opportunity to sell a funeral package to the surviving spouse.
“They want everyone to buy these packages,” he said. “We include CPP but SCI wants people to sign up for a pre-arranged funeral.”
Robert Villeneuve, General Manager of Service Corporation Canada and studied at Humber College. He works out of the Trull Funeral Home at 1111 Danforth, among other SCI locations in Toronto. He discussed the merits of a pre-arranged funeral.
“Our goal is for everyone who suffers a death and hasn’t made any arrangements to at least give some thought to what they want to do,” he said.
Villeneuve noted SCI’s pre-arranged funerals also have national transferability.
“We are able to transfer their pre-arrangements to our sister funeral home at no cost with the same level of service,” he said.
SCI is the largest provider of funeral services in North America and owns 250 funeral homes across Canada said Villeneuve.
He said the SCI funeral directors are not on commission. SCI prefers that funeral directors who are arranging funeral services to maintain that focus. Villeneuve noted SCI’s family service counselors who assist families to prepare for death receive a salary and have their own bonus structure.
“There are always bonuses to be successful for helping families,” he said.