The funeral industry is under the government microscope again. Following recent government inquiries in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the latest inquiry to hit the news, comes from Ontario, Canada. The following is an extract from an article published by CBC News ·

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Ontario says consumers deserve better protection from high pressure sales tactics by funeral homes

In a report released on Monday [7/12/2020], Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk found that consumers are not adequately protected from such tactics when purchasing funeral services in Ontario.

A value-for-money audit of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO), an agency founded four years ago that regulates licensed funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoriums and services that transfer the dead to places of interment, found that it must do a better job of requiring the industry to be transparent about pricing.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report, released Monday, found the agency that oversees Ontario’s funeral industry is doing too little to protect people from getting ripped off during their time of bereavement.

Lysyk said a lack of key purchasing information makes it difficult for people to comparison shop at a time when they must make decisions quickly and under emotional duress.

“We were … surprised by what we saw,” she said.

Ontario’s auditor general hired a firm to conduct mystery shopping investigations into 100 operators of funeral homes, transfer services, cemeteries and crematoriums of various sizes across Ontario in the summer. At half of the operators, the mystery shoppers reported they experienced sales pressure or were given misleading information.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy acknowledged on Monday that changes are needed and consumer protections are important.

“The ministry of government and consumer services will direct that the bereavement authority of Ontario provide an implementation plan that outlines the specific steps that they plan to take to address each recommendation in a timely manner,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park.

“We are grateful for the work that has been done on this and we can and will do better on behalf of the people of Ontario in this very important area. Read the full article here.

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