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Ethical Code of Conduct

Funeral Service, Cemetery, and Memorialization legislation is an important component of ‘quality end-of-life-care’ and we concerned funeral professionals are asking the consumer’s, senior’s and the caregiver communities to help us ensure a sound ethical framework to enable all of us to be able do our part in helping to care for people grieving effectively:

1) No undisclosed payments/gifts to third parties for referrals of funeral or cemetery sales, pre-need or at-need.

2) No misleading ads or direct (telephone/door-to-door) pre-paid funeral/cemetery solicitation

  • Banning direct solicitation (by telephone or door-to-door) protects unknowing consumers from being unduly influenced by commissioned sales people to purchase funeral products and services that may not meet their needs. This practice has already been prohibited by legislation in several jurisdictions.

3) Only licensed professionals, not commissioned ‘find-for-a-fee’ sales people should serve grieving families

  • PICA believes that the faith placed in all caregivers at a time of need is a trust that is sacred.  To allow find-for-a-fee and/or commissioned sales people, especially untrained and unregulated, is an abuse of that trust.

4) No commissioned sales people serving grieving families for first ninety days following loss by any funeral, cemetery, or monument provider.

  • A ninety day moratorium on commissioned sales people serving the bereaved needs to be put in place under Federal labour law,

5) At least 80% of Pre-paid Funeral deposits must be placed in trust:

  • Not less than 80% of the pre-sold funeral funds must be kept in trust and fully refundable upon transfer of arrangements to another funeral service provider.

6) New documentation can not be allowed to be introduced to tamper with, remove or reduce products and services already sold to clients:

  • Lamar Hankins, a San Marcos, Texas attorney and member of the board of directors of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, was quoted in the Funeral Monitor (1.27.03) as saying: “Service Corporation International’s (SCI’s) new indemnification and hold harmless provision is an unconscionable effort to protect itself from liability for its own negligence in conducting its business. It is done at the whim of SCI and, if refused by the next-of-kin or legal representative, prevents the deceased and the family from receiving the benefit of its bargain contracted for — in some cases, decades before SCI became the owner of the cemetery.”

7) Chapels built on cemetery grounds are now part of the cemetery and must therefore be accessible (at reasonable rates) to competing funeral service providers:

  • Wills and estate lawyers tell us one of the greatest legal challenges the public faces in trying to make final arrangements and settle estates is ‘tied-selling’(*1) between funeral homes and cemeteries.  Cemeteries are monopolies, and placing funeral homes inside that cemetery simply creates bigger monopolies.

8) The right of cemetery property owners to reuse cemetery land for later generations can no longer be withheld:

  • North America is the only continent on earth (with the exception of parts of Australia) which systematically withholds the rights of cemetery property owners to reuse plots in subsequent generations.  While this does provide an economic windfall for cemetery operators, it is also an environmental sacrilege, and a ridiculous use of space.  Green burial is as old as time.

9) Identification of affiliation:

  • Five states and/or provinces in North America now exist where consumers, caregivers and family funeral home owners have been able to work together successfully to convince their Governments that regulations requiring the mandatory disclosure of national funeral chain ownership in all advertising, signage and communications is in the public’s best interest.

10) Identification of accessible location or facilities:

  • In a growing number of jurisdictions in North America, consumers, caregivers and ethical funeral home owners have been able to work together to convince their Governments that regulations requiring the mandatory disclosure of a service provider’s actual location was also in the public’s best interest. (*2)

The Family Funeralhome Association is a registered non-profit society, founded for public education and advocacy on behalf of the bereaved.

For more information contact us at: 1-888-683-4533, or www.FamilyFuneral.org

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*1 Tied-selling, is the implication that if a service or thing is bought in a specific place, another thing or service must also be bought there.  It is a violation of the Criminal Code of Canada.

*2 There have been reported cases where some ‘discount’ service providers, have taken out  local phone numbers and forwarding them to distant locations have caused families undue stress when a  family member wanted  to pay their last respects and find their deceased family member had been taken 50 kilometers out of town.