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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2016PSSG0052-000310
March 1, 2016
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Simplifying apprenticeship requirements for embalmers and funeral directors

VICTORIA – Apprenticeship training for embalmers and funeral directors is being streamlined with changes to the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services regulations announced today by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris.

For many families, a funeral service is the last act of love and kindness they can give their departed loved one. This is meaningful work and the province’s funeral services sector wants to attract, train and retain the most qualified people.

Currently funeral director and embalmer apprentices must be supervised at all times during their 3,600 hour practical training period. The proposed changes, in effect April 1, 2016, simplify the process and reduce government red tape by relaxing these requirements as an apprentice gains more practical experience and skills.

This will mean:

  • Easing of supervision requirements as the apprentice continues to gain experience;
  • Full-time supervision will no longer be mandatory once an apprentice has completed half (1,800 hours) of their practical training and participated in 25 funeral contracts.

Government consulted with sector representatives who say there is a high demand for funeral directors and embalmers. Current regulations don’t allow for flexibility of supervision requirements as an apprentice progresses through their training. This makes it more difficult for smaller companies, in particular, to oversee an apprenticeship.

These changes are consistent with what the funeral industry suggests is the most effective apprenticeship training model. The amendments are supported by the British Columbia Funeral Association, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and Consumer Protection BC which licenses and regulates the industry.

In British Columbia, apprentice embalmers and funeral directors must be licensed by Consumer Protection BC during their training and must also be enrolled in a funeral services program designated as a recognized program under the ITA.

Quotes:

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –

“Funeral service professionals guide people through some of life’s most difficult journeys. The changes to the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services regulations announced today will make it simpler for funeral service providers to support embalmer and funeral director apprentices in the workplace to make sure we have a vibrant workforce with the most qualified people in these roles.”

Tayt Winnitoy, executive vice president, Consumer Protection BC –

These changes will create appropriate flexibility in the supervision requirements as apprentices progress through their programs, as well as ensuring consumers are protected by dealing with licensed professionals. The BC Funeral Association and the Cremation, Internment and Funeral Services Advisory Group played crucial leadership roles in championing these enhancements. We are committed to ensuring the changes are implemented effectively, with minimal impact to licensees and that appropriate safeguards for consumers are in place.”

Chris Benesh, Earth’s Option Cremation and Burial Services –

“The BC Funeral Association is pleased with the revisions to the CIFSA regulations which will allow our apprentices to be more versatile while undergoing their 2 year apprenticeship. The new regulations allow for more flexibility for both the apprentice and the employer, which we trust will attract more professionals to the field.”

Gary Herman, chief executive officer, Industry Training Authority –

“On-the-job training is a crucial component of the apprenticeship journey. The gradual easing off of supervision as the apprentice continues to gain experience is important. The change of this component in the apprenticeship will streamline training and continue to ensure a skilled workforce to meet the demand in this industry.”

Quick Facts:

  • Funeral directors and embalmers require two years on the job while apprenticing through a combination of online modules and practical education.
  • Average starting salary for apprentices is $30,000 to $40,000 per year and after graduation, more than $40,000.
  • A professional embalmer disinfects, preserves and restores the deceased.
  • A funeral director negotiates or enters into funeral contracts, arranges, conducts or directs bereavement rites and ceremonies, arranges for the interment of human remains.

Learn More:

British Columbia Funeral Association: http://www.bcfunerals.com/

Consumer Protection BC: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/

Industry Training Authority apprenticeship training information: http://www.itabc.ca/program/embalmer-and-funeral-director

 
Media Contact:
 
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
250 213-3602
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect