Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Why should I choose Voluntas over other companies?

When you choose Voluntas, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the services you need in the way you wish to receive them.

You’ll enjoy a friendly and sincere approach in all your dealings with us, and afterwards.

You’ll be dealing with our trained staff, who keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

You’ll save money, since our approach reduces costs related to funeral events.

The necessary procedures will be simplified, as we can perform many of the tasks on your behalf.

You will be supporting a local company that deals with local companies and organizations.

See for yourself – drop by and have a cup of tea or coffee with us.

If I pre-arrange my funeral, how can I be sure my money will be safe?

Quebec Act A-23.001, An Act respecting prearranged funeral services and sepultures, protects the funds of clients who sign a funeral pre-arrangement contract.

Within 45 days of receiving the money, the funeral company is required to deposit in trust in Quebec any sums collected under a funeral pre-arrangement contract. In addition, interest earned on the investment will be used to cover inflation over the years. Unless the contract is cancelled or under extraordinary circumstances, the funds will not be accessible until the beneficiary of the contract dies, and the proper paperwork is completed.

For further information on pre-arranged funeral services, we invite you to meet with a member of our team. There is no obligation or charge for this service.

Do I have to be buried in a cemetery?

For public health reasons, remains in a casket must be buried in a cemetery or in a mausoleum located in a cemetery.

Cremated remains or ashes may be buried in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a cemetery or funeral home, kept at home, sent to another country (if approved under local legislation), or scattered or buried in a location of your choice.

When it comes to scattering or burial in a particular place, by law the owner of the site must give permission (either a private owner or the Crown, in the case of public lands) for the ashes to be disposed of in that place. It is important to check with the municipality to make sure that there are no municipal bylaws prohibiting the scattering of ashes in the chosen location. It is also possible to scatter ashes in a garden or on private property; however, when the property is sold a declaration to that effect will need to be made.

We have a collection of garden urns that can easily be relocated as needed.

What are the options if I don’t want a funeral?

Many people prefer to have their bodily remains disposed of privately, whether by burial, cremation or bio-cremation.

A simple farewell at the graveside or scattering of ashes can be a wonderful way to carry out your wishes and those of your family and friends.

It is possible to plan a celebration of life instead of a funeral. In many cases, sharing memories, playing special music or simply having a good meal and a glass of wine together can help survivors to honour your life. Such a gathering may be intimate or public.

We have developed expertise in designing events that truly reflect who you are. It will only take an hour or so to discuss the various possibilities so you can make the best choice for you and the people you love.

Where can my memorial be held?

By request, we have served families in a variety of locations, such as private homes, community centres, restaurants, parks, yacht clubs, historic sites, hotels, private clubs, places of worship, funeral homes, etc. The possibilities are virtually endless, as long as the owner of the site consents to the type of event that is being organized.

We have served many families in splendid settings. See our photo album.

What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial?

We use the term “funeral” to refer to religious ceremonies held in a place of worship and designed to honour the deceased. The ceremony, which must take place in the presence of the deceased, either the body or the cremated remains, is intended to let the person’s soul rest in peace.

“Memorial” is used in a broader sense. It is a time when the survivors gather to honour the existence of a loved one who has died. There is no pre-established form for this type of gathering, which means that families can personalize the ceremony and organize an event that really reflects the person who has died. The casket or urn will not necessarily be present at the event, which may take place in various locations. A member of the clergy, master of ceremonies, celebrant or family member may officiate at the ceremony.

To learn more about current trends, please go to the Trends section.

How can I donate my organs and/or tissues after my death?

For organ donation, it is crucial that the death take place in hospital so that health-care professionals can recover the organs and/or tissues immediately after death. There are no forms to fill in or number to call – all you have to do is inform the caregiving team of your intentions. They will then take steps to:

  1. see whether the potential donor is qualified.
  2. follow up to see that the donation takes place.

Organ donation is handled by Transplant Québec and tissue donation is handled by Héma-Québec.

Whatever form the donation takes, it is still possible to have an open casket or any other form of memorial service.

How can I donate my body for medical teaching or research?

There are only five institutions in Quebec that accept donations of bodies for teaching and research. Each institution has its own protocols, rules and paperwork. First of all, you need to fill in a donor card to authorize the donation and sign it in the presence of two witnesses. Some institutions will pay for cremation once the research has been completed, while others will not. It is important to check the details and make pre-arrangements so that your family will not be surprised to learn of your wishes at the time of your death.

If you are interested in this option, we can provide donation cards and explain the process in detail. We can also help you to plan your memorial service.

What is cremation?

Cremation is a process whereby a deceased person is reduced to ashes by heat. The deceased person is placed in a cremation container made of cardboard, wood or a wooden casket prior to being inserted in the cremation chamber. The container or casket is submitted to high heat (1000 degrees Celsius) and is consumed, causing the body to disintegrate into bone fragments and cremated remains. Cremation takes approximately two hours. The bone fragments and cremated remains are then collected from the cremation chamber and cooled to room temperature. Any metal residues and identifiable body prostheses are separated and disposed of.  With a mechanical grinder, the cremated remains and bone fragments are reduced to uniform particles and placed in the urn or crematorium container. A single deceased person in a container or casket is placed in the cremation chamber at a time. The cremated remains are emptied after each cremation. The quantity of cremated remains produced is proportionate to the bone density and size of the deceased person as well as the type of container. A foetus or very young child will produce few, if any, cremated remains since the skeleton is not completely formed. *By law, no cremation can take place until 12 hours have passed since the time of death.

What is aquamation or bio-cremation?

Bio-cremation is an ecological choice compared to cremation, since no cremation container is required, there are few if any CO2 emissions, and the process uses only one-third as much electricity and little or no natural gas. In addition, plastic and metal materials found in the body, such as prostheses or pacemakers, are recovered and disposed of appropriately.

Bio-cremation is used to reduce the remains of a deceased person to the equivalent of ashes using the alkaline hydrolysis process. The deceased is placed in the bio-cremation unit with warm water and an alkaline solution that is circulated to accelerate the hydrolysis process of human tissues. A single deceased person is placed in the bio-cremation unit each time and the unit is cleaned after each use. Since the human body is 65% water, at the end of the process it is transformed into a liquid solution.  The only solids remaining are the skeletal materials, such as bones.  Depending on the weight of the deceased person and whether he or she has been embalmed, bio-cremation will take between 12 and 18 hours. The bones are collected and left to dry naturally or by heat and moving air. Any metal objects and other identifiable body prostheses are separated and disposed of appropriately. With a mechanical mortar, bones are reduced to uniform particles and placed in an urn or other container.   The quantity of remains produced is proportionate to the bone density and size of the deceased person. A fœtus or very young child will produce few, if any, remains since the skeleton is not completely formed.  *By law, no bio-cremation can take place until 12 hours have passed since the time of death.  A deceased person infected with the following notifiable diseases: Creutzfeldt-Jakob and/or tuberculosis, is not eligible for bio-cremation.