Vol. 147, No. 13 — June 19, 2013


SOR/2013-110 May 31, 2013


Regulations Amending the Veterans Burial Regulations, 2005

P.C. 2013-605 May 30, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, pursuant to section 5 (see footnote a) of the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (see footnote b), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Veterans Burial Regulations, 2005.



1. (1) Paragraph 3(1)(b) of the Veterans Burial Regulations, 2005 (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

(2) Subparagraphs 3(2)(a)(ii) and (iii) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

2. Paragraph 9(7)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:


3. These Regulations come into force on June 1, 2013.


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issue: The funeral services portion of Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Funeral and Burial Program (the Program) are currently below the national average. Also, the current eligible expenses do not provide the flexibility to accommodate religious/cultural differences, other standard funeral and non-standard expenses or the evolution of funeral practices.

Description: The Veterans Burial Regulations, 2005 are amended to increase the maximum amount provided for funeral services from $3,600 to $7,376, and to simplify the Program by cutting red tape and allowing flexibility in the type of funeral services that are eligible.

Cost-benefit statement: All costs related to this proposal will be incurred by VAC, and all benefits related to this proposal will be received by the families, next-of-kin, or estates of eligible veterans. Over the next 10 years, it is expected that almost 8 800 Program recipients will be impacted by these regulatory changes.

Veterans and their families will be reassured that they will be provided a funeral that better meets their individual needs, and respects religious/cultural differences. Program improvements that includes greater flexibility for funeral services while maintaining the already generous amounts for burials/cremations will be well-received by stakeholders and Canadians in general.

“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business. This regulatory proposal does not increase or decrease administrative burden or compliance costs on small businesses.


Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Funeral and Burial Program (the Program) provides financial assistance to the families/estates of eligible veterans. The Program helps with the costs of

  1. funeral services,
  2. burial or cremation, and
  3. military style grave markers (or inscription on private grave markers).

The Last Post Fund Corporation (LPF), a national, non-profit organization founded in 1909, administers the Program on behalf of VAC and in compliance with the Veterans Burial Regulations, 2005 (the Regulations).

Assistance can be provided as a “matter of right” or through an assessment of a veteran’s estate at the time of death, known as “means-tested.” “Matter of right” provides assistance to veterans who die of a service-related disability, up to the maximum payable rates outlined in the Regulations. “Means-tested” assesses the value of the veteran’s estate, and if applicable, that of his/her survivor at time of the veteran’s death. Full or partial assistance is paid by VAC up to the maximum allowable under the Regulations. In cases where the veteran leaves a survivor, the Regulations allow the survivor to exempt the home, a car and $12,015 from the means-tested calculation. This leaves the survivor with additional resources to transition to a reduced level of income following the veteran’s death.

On March 21, 2013, the federal budget announced that “Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to simplify the Funeral and Burial Program and more than double its reimbursement rate.”


There are two issues that will be addressed through this regulatory proposal that will improve the Program. These changes, described in the following, relate only to the provision of funeral services. Other benefits provided under the Program such as burials and gravemarkers will not be impacted as they currently align with industry standards.

1. Funeral services rate

The maximum funeral service amount payable ($3,600) is prescribed in the Regulations. This rate has not increased since 2001, and has not kept pace with the increasing costs of funeral expenses. Research has shown that this amount is below industry standards with the average cost of funeral services in Canada being $7,376 (based on information provided by the Funeral Services Association of Canada [FSAC] (see footnote 2) and adjusted to inflation).

2. Prescriptions for types of funeral services

The current Regulations are very prescriptive in allowing for eight very specific types of funeral services including (1) a casket; (2) an urn/rental of a casket; (3) preparation of remains; (4) viewing room and a chapel; (5) a hearse and up to two other vehicles; (6) funeral home officials at burial/cremation; (7) local transportation from the place of death to funeral home, and from there to place of burial; and (8) local transportation from place of death to crematorium and from there to place of burial.

Veterans are a diverse group of individuals coming from all regions and various cultures in Canada. The current list of eligible funeral services does not provide flexibility to accommodate regional and cultural differences or the evolution of funeral practices.


The objectives of this proposal include


This regulatory amendment will replace the existing maximum amount provided for funeral services from $3,600 to $7,376 so that families can be provided with more financial assistance for these services.

The amendments will also replace the existing eight funeral service items with five categories that provide flexibility and more broadly represent funeral expenses incurred at the time of death. These include expenses related to the preparation of the remains, the provision of a casket or urn, a ceremonial service, death notices and transportation costs. The categories will be clarified in the Program’s policy.

Other benefits that are considered under the Regulations such as a gravemarker and a burial are not affected by these changes as they currently align with industry standards.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

Assistance provided to eligible veterans is currently prescribed in regulations; therefore, a regulatory amendment is necessary. Accordingly, there were no non-regulatory options considered to address the two issues outlined above. Allowing the Program to remain in its present state (the status quo) was the only other option considered. However, this option would not address the concern that the maximum amount for funeral services is too low, and the funeral services that are allowable are inflexible.

Benefits and costs

All costs related to this proposal will be borne by VAC, who will in turn provide this same amount to eligible applicants. Over the next 10 years, it is expected that almost 8 800 families or the estates of eligible veterans will benefit as a result of these changes by either being able to receive financial support, or being able to receive additional financial support.

Veterans themselves will be reassured knowing that if eligible, their loved ones will be able to receive the appropriate financial assistance for their funeral expenses when they pass away. Additionally, they will also see more flexibility in the type of funeral services considered eligible to be covered by the Program so the veteran’s life can be better represented in a ceremony or service.

Canadians will be satisfied to know that veterans, in death, continue to be treated and supported in an appropriate manner, given the sacrifices they have made for Canada. The Veterans Ombudsman and veterans’ stakeholder organizations will be supportive of the fact that VAC is making improvements to the Program.

The cost-benefit analysis is available upon request.

Cost-benefit statement

Costs, benefits and distribution

First Year

Final Year

Total (Present Value)

Annualized Equivalent

A1. Quantified impacts ($ thousands)


Veterans’ families/next-of-kin/estates






Government of Canada (VAC)





Net benefits





A2. Administrative burden summary — This section is not applicable, as there is no administrative burden to businesses as a result of this proposal.

B. Quantified impacts

Positive impacts

Veterans’ families/next-of-kin/estates



8 784


Negative impacts

None identified

C. Qualitative impacts


  • Increased comfort and well-being

Veterans’ families/next-of-kin/estates

  • Increased/new compensation
  • Increased peace of mind

Veterans Ombudsman/veterans’ stakeholder groups/Canadians

  • Increased satisfaction knowing eligible veterans are receiving enhanced funeral benefits

Government of Canada (VAC)

  • Positive impact on reputation

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

This regulatory proposal does not increase or decrease administrative burden or compliance costs on small businesses.


These changes respond to a number of stakeholder concerns raised at Veterans Affairs stakeholder forums.

Over the past year, VAC has experienced increasing pressure from stakeholder groups to address concerns with the Program. The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) recently launched a national letter-writing campaign for improved funeral and burial benefits for veterans, which was supported by the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS). There have also been questions from some stakeholders as to why the funeral services listed in the Regulations are so prescriptive. In addition to the RCL and ANAVETS, other groups who have been advocating for change include the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO), the National Council of Veteran Associations, the FSAC and the LPF.

Budget 2013 publicly announced that the Government of Canada willmore than double the maximum reimbursement rate for funeral services offered to veterans through the Funeral and Burial Program, from $3,600 to $7,376 to reflect the national average for funeral services, and simplify the Program for veterans’ estates. The Budget announcement has been met with general support from stakeholders groups, given that the Program changes support recommendations these groups have been advocating for.


This regulatory proposal will improve the Program to ensure eligible veterans most in need continue to be provided with adequate financial assistance toward funeral costs.

The proposal will also make the Program more user-friendly for veterans’ families when they are at their most vulnerable. Families will be compensated at a more reasonable rate and more expenses will be covered, resulting in them being able to provide a service that better meets their needs and exemplifies the life of the veteran.

By continuing to make improvements and cutting unnecessary red tape within its existing programs, the Government of Canada further demonstrates that it continues to evolve its programs so they remain effective in meeting veterans needs in life, and respectfully honouring them in death. VAC is constantly looking at ways to improve its programs and services, and continues to work with veterans and their families to respond to their priorities and concerns.

This regulatory proposal will not impose costs or administrative burden on veterans, on their families, or on businesses.

Although independent to these regulatory changes, it should be noted that in the fall of 2011, the LPF undertook cost-saving measures to respond to increasing administrative costs.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Upon the coming into force of the regulatory changes on June 1, 2013, applicants who apply for funeral and burial assistance will be able to submit additional receipts related to funeral costs for consideration, and receive additional support up to $7,376 for these services.

Application forms (available on the LPF Web site) and the Program’s policy documents will be updated and available to the public (upon request) prior to the coming into force of the regulatory changes.

The existing service delivery infrastructure will be utilized. Applications will continue to be processed by the LPF who will administer benefits using the amended Regulations and policies.Ongoing communications with LPF staff (as the administrator of the Program) will be an integral component to the successful implementation of the changes. LPF staff will be informed and trained in advance of the effective date of the Program changes.

VAC also has published service standards. These are available on the Department’s Web site (www.vac-acc.gc.ca). There are specific service standards for the Funeral and Burial Program. It is anticipated that the changes from these enhancements will not affect the service standards.

Performance measurement and evaluation

Reviews will be conducted in accordance with the Program’s performance measurement strategy, which was developed to support performance measurement and reporting by ensuring data is accurately capturing and portraying the performance of the Program. The strategy will support future Program evaluations and the regular monitoring of program performance in contributing to the Program’s objective, which is that eligible veterans who pass away as a result of their service or without financial means receive funeral and burial assistance from VAC.

VAC’s Audit and Evaluation Division conducts annual audits and evaluations of VAC programs. Results are published on VAC’s Web site regularly.


Janice Burke
Senior Director
Strategic Policy Integration
Veterans Affairs Canada
P.O. Box 7700
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
C1A 8M9
Telephone: 902-566-8977
Email: Janice.Burke@vac-acc.gc.ca