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What is a Funeral Cooperative?

What is a Funeral Cooperative?

A funeral cooperative is a business enterprise set up and run jointly by its members to fulfill their funeral needs. This means that the members collectively own the cooperative. It is a democratically-run organization: power is exercised by the members and by elected administrators.

Funeral cooperatives were born from the will of the community; they operate in our communities for us and with us.

You do not have to be a member to benefit from the cooperative’s services. However, membership allows each member to participate in decision making relevant to the overall direction of the enterprise. Discounts and additional services are available to members. The cooperative formula guarantees the quality of our commitment and of our services.

Cooperatives seek to satisfy the needs of bereaved families, regardless of their budget. Well-known for their humane approach, they endeavour to meet the demands of members and non-members while respecting the values of solidarity, mutual help and integrity.

Regarding funeral cooperatives, the needs of members and non-members are not limited to the services offered during funerals. They constantly seek to fulfill their mission to inform and educate by: getting people to think and decide in advance about supportive gestures, encouraging discussions within families in order to break the taboos surrounding death, providing legal and financial information, offering bereavement support, and raising public awareness about the cooperative. These are the initiatives undertaken by funeral cooperatives to respond to the broad range of requests expressed by their members.

A strong and extensive network

Collectively owned by more than 225,000 members in Quebec, our 20 funeral cooperatives are recognized for their humane and professional approach.

With over 100 service points spread out across the province, funeral cooperatives help to keep the cost of funeral services down, so that the added value created by the funeral sector enriches the community and remains locally owned. Considered a network, funeral cooperatives are the largest stakeholder in the industry in terms of the number of service points, and continue to carve out an increasingly important share of the market –18%, with assets of $253 million in 2017.

Each year, more and more families choose to place their trust in funeral cooperatives and, thanks to this ongoing support, they now rank first in terms of the number of funerals performed.

Cooperatives: owned by Quebecers

Cooperatives have traditionally increased their market share by offering better value for money, recruiting members, acquiring established funeral homes, renovating existing buildings and constructing new funeral homes.

However, since 1995, the acquisition of private funeral enterprises has been the cornerstone of the cooperative development strategy in order to cope with the arrival of foreign multinationals.

Private enterprises located in Estrie, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Haute-Côte-Nord, Saguenay ― Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and the Lanaudière region have been acquired by funeral cooperatives since 1993. Collectively, these funeral enterprises have handled more than 2,700 deaths and would probably have been acquired by the American multinationals had it not been for cooperatives intervening.

The Code of Ethics for Directors

Ethics is a set of moral principles that serve as a guide to conduct in interpersonal relations, quality of customer service, and each member’s responsibility with respect to the objectives of member cooperatives of the Federation. Accordingly, our movement has adopted a code of ethics so that each person shoulders responsibility in the performance of their duties under the rules of transparency, integrity and professionalism. This code of ethics is addressed to all directors and employees of member cooperatives. It defines the guiding principles that should influence the choice of rules that will inspire every decision made, and action taken, by each of the movement's cooperative members in the course of their daily activities.

The aim of cooperation is to improve quality of life. Therefore, any cooperative activity is directly inspired by service to people and their community, perceived as the source and end of the economy. Consequently, the members of the Federation subscribe to the fundamental principles of cooperation and, as a result, agree to subject all their acts and activities to rules in accordance with the basic guidelines of cooperative thinking. Out of concern for the utmost respect for the people they are tasked to serve, they also agree to subject their actions to the most rigorous standards applicable in their field, that of funeral services.

Video clips

The following is a series of video clips that briefly describe the various benefits and services offered by the network of funeral cooperatives in Quebec. The videos are divided into 4 sections: