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Province to Strengthen Consumer Protection in Funeral Services Industry

Amendments introduced today, April 17, will provide more choice for consumers, while improving protection for those buying funeral services in Nova Scotia.

The changes to the Cemetery and Funeral Services Act and the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act will allow funeral insurance to be sold in funeral homes, giving more options to consumers to help pay for funeral services in advance.

“Worrying about how to pay for a funeral after losing a loved one is very difficult for families,” said Service Nova Scotia Minister Mark Furey. “Being able to purchase funeral insurance will offer consumers greater choice in funding funeral and cemetery plans in advance. And it will help to bring comfort to many Nova Scotians at a most difficult time.”

For the funeral home operator, being able to offer underwritten insurance products will remove the risk of maintaining pre-paid trust accounts.

Other changes will provide a range of consumer protections including requiring:
— the industry to adopt and observe a code of ethics
— funeral homes to maintain their licences, even if they stop selling new services, if they hold funds in trust for pre-need funeral and cemetery arrangements
— funeral homes to notify customers if a home is sold, moves or closes

Other provisions address assigning funeral plans from one licensee to another, and handling unclaimed trust funds.

These changes are consistent with other provinces and come after extensive consultation with the funeral services and insurance industries, the federal-provincial Consumer Measures Committee and the public.

Source: Release

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