The Funeral Service Association of Canada is continuing to urge the Canadian government to increase funding to The Last Post Fund, a non-profit organization that finances indigent veteran funerals.
“While the government has no specific plan to increase the fund’s subsidy, we wish to bring to mind that these men and women have done so much for Canada; the least they deserve is to have dignified burials,” said Phil Fredette, government relations chair of FSAC.
Faye Doucette, of the Belvedere Funeral Home, who represents P.E.I funeral directors on the national board, echoed those comments.
She said funeral directors will not refuse service to veterans and in many cases funeral homes have subsidized these families in order to provide a well-deserved, dignified funeral.
The Last Post Fund offers financial assistance for funeral-related expenses to eligible veterans and disability pensioners. Last Post funding has remained at the same level since 2001, despite a stable rise in funeral costs. This discrepancy leads to funeral directors or veteran’s families subsidizing the cost of veterans’ funerals. FSAC conducted a national study which found that members provide comparable services to veterans for much less than what the general public pays.
"The last thing these grieving families need is to worry about paying for burial and funeral services. Our veterans deserve better.” - Phil Fredette, Funeral Service Association of Canada
“Our members respect the contribution Canadian veterans have made to this country, and as such would never turn a Last Post Fund family away,” said Fredette. “We want to ensure these families have peace of mind during that difficult time.”
Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) passed a resolution at their convention in September stating they would urge the minister of veteran affairs to increase The Last Post Fund to match RCMP and DND current members’ levels.
Fredette said in some provinces, social services provide more financial support for less legislated services.
“We have spoken to the minister and we appreciate his sympathy. This issue will not be resolved by Remembrance Day but it will have to be tackled by the next budget. The last thing these grieving families need is to worry about paying for burial and funeral services. Our veterans deserve better.”