Cremation: formalities and procedures for a cremation in Montreal

Published on September 19, 2016

  • Cremation
  • Services
  • Prearrangements

The choice of cremation has become increasingly common since the Catholic Church authorized this practice in 1963. For all sorts of reasons, many people request this funeral ritual in their last wills. What are the necessary formalities and how is a cremation carried out in Montréal?


Cremation or burial: it’s a choice that each of us makes according to diverse and often very personal reasons. In Québec, the cremation rate is estimated at over 60%. Various motives have prompted people to turn to this practice: philosophical or ecological reasons, for a simple but still honourable funeral, to spare their families from the cost of a burial, etc.


The cremation should be done between 1 and 6 days after death. To do this, you’ll need permission from the competent authorities. This cremation certificate is only provided upon presentation of the deceased’s written last will or a request signed by their representative.

You’ll also need the death certificate and a medical certificate stating that the cremation of the body won’t pose any forensic problems. In addition, consider gathering together the necessary documents to obtain a $2500 death benefit from the Régie des rentes du Québec, if the deceased is eligible for it. Funeral homes can assist you with this process.


The funeral home requests certain information about the deceased – including their date and place of birth, the names of their parents and their spouse, and their exact home address – to facilitate the legal processes. The funeral home will also need their social insurance number as well as their health insurance number if you want them to look after cancelling the insurance cards after the funeral.

You’ll also need to bring a recent photo and the deceased’s clothes, according to the specific instructions (clothes that cover the body well, with long sleeves and a high neckline), in case you decide to expose their coffin for a final goodbye before cremating it (a term that funeral service professionals prefer to “incinerate,” which is used mainly when talking about waste).

Finally, you have to provide a coffin suitable for cremation (the coffin is required): made of cellulose fibres, light wood, or chipboard, and accessories made of combustible materials.


Once inside the crematorium, we proceed to the identification of the deceased. A capsule made of fireclay is then placed near the coffin to facilitate the collection of the ashes.

After the final goodbyes, the coffin is taken to the crematory oven, which is heated to at least 850°C. This intense heat reduces the coffin and the remains to ashes in 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the deceased.

For safety reasons, family and loved ones can no longer accompany the body. They are invited to wait in a room provided for this purpose, which is pleasantly lit and decorated to soothe the atmosphere as much as possible.

The ashes and the rest of the deceased’s bones are then collected in a sealed urn chosen beforehand by the family. The first and last name of the deceased, their dates of birth and death, and the name of the crematorium are affixed to the funeral urn.

This urn is then presented to the family, who disposes of it according to the last wishes of the deceased or the choice of the person authorized to make this decision.

The ashes can be kept at home or in a columbarium, buried in a cemetery, or scattered somewhere that held a special place in the deceased’s memory (provided that municipal regulations are respected).

Whatever your choices or needs, the AETERNA funeral complex supports you during these trying times and makes a point of meeting all your expectations, offering a customized funeral for the loved one you’ve lost.

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