Indigent Funerals and Burials
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Funerals and Burials

The Employment and Social Services Department of the City of Windsor provides financial assistance on behalf of deceased residents of the Windsor-Essex County region that do not have sufficient funds in their estate to fully cover the cost of a basic funeral, burial and/or cremation.

Where no similar benefit is available the Employment and Social Services will pay a funeral home or cemetery to provide funeral, burial and/or cremation services and products in accordance with the items and rates agreed to with the Windsor-Essex Funeral Directors' Association.

Additional Services

The City of Windsor has entered into an agreement with the Windsor-Essex Funeral Directors' Association whereby the family of the deceased may purchase additional funeral related expenses not exceeding 75% of the approved funeral and burial amount.


  • Additional periods of visitation or services prior to graveside
  • Additional vehicles for use in procession

Contributions toward any additional expenses must be derived from the family member's own personal assets.  The funeral home will bill the purchaser directly for these additional services.

Unauthorized Expenses Disclaimer

All requests for financial assistance with the cost of funeral and burial expenses must have an application completed and approved by the Employment and Social Services Department.  Any unauthorized expenses incurred prior to obtaining all appropriate approvals are the responsibility of the individual/purchaser and a matter to be resolved between the individual/purchaser and the funeral home or cemetery as the case may be.

The Employment and Social Services Department disclaims any and all liability in connection with any such agreement between the individual/purchaser and the funeral home or cemetery.


Eligibility is based on the financial circumstances of the deceased person and the deceased person's spouse at the time of death.  For example, assets, sources of income, RRSP's and life insurance will all be considered.

The deceased person does not have to be in receipt of Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program at the time of death to be eligible.

How to Apply

It is preferred that the executor/executrix initiate the funeral arrangements.  If there is no executor/executrix, a relative, friend or professional associated with the deceased person can apply.  The person applying for the assistance should be the person making the arrangements at the funeral home, as the death certificate will include the name of the person who arranged the funeral.

The person making the arrangements may seek the funeral services directly from the funeral home of their choice.  However, before making the funeral arrangements, the person must advise the funeral director that he/she will be seeking financial assistance to pay for the funeral and burial services from Employment and Social Services.  The funeral director will contact Employment and Social Services on behalf of the person making the request and arrange an appointment for an application to be processed.  The application includes the collection of personal information confirming the identity and residence of the deceased person, as well as income and asset information.

Services Provided

Funeral homes and cemeteries understand the need for sensitivity and respect differences based on religious and cultural rites.  Funeral directors and Employment and Social Services caseworkers have information to help with funeral plans. 

Assistance is only available if the funeral, burial, and/or cremation is to take place within the City of Windsor-Essex County region.  The family must assume all costs and any additional expenses associated with transporting the body from the Windsor-Essex County region to the funeral home and/or from the funeral home to the cemetery/crematorium if located outside the Windsor-Essex County region.

Funeral Services

Employment and Social Services will purchase a burial lot.  If the deceased owned a lot or one was purchased on their behalf prior to death, Employment and Social Services will cover the cost of opening and closing the grave, to a standard depth.

Cremation Services

Employment and Social Services will pay for the cost of a cremation service.  The cremation service includes the cost of a standard urn that is provided by the funeral home.

A cremation vault will be provided only in circumstances where the remains from the ashes will be buried.  The vault will be purchased from the funeral home as an allowable extra cost to facilitate the burial of the remains in a pre-owned plot or cemetery common ground.

Recovering Costs

Under the Ontario Works Act, Employment and Social Services is entitled to recover the cost of the funeral, burial and/or cremation from all sources available to the deceased person.  Recovery sources include monies in bank accounts, RRSP's, last assistance from Ontario Disability Support Program, Canada Pension Death Benefit and other sources.

Statement of Death Certificate

When the Employment and Social Services Department assumes the cost of a funeral and burial, the funeral director's Statement of Death Certificate becomes the property of the Department.  If requested, a death certificate may be provided at the discretion of the Employment and Social Services Department only after all efforts to recover funeral expenses have been exhausted.  The recovery process may take several months to complete.  A request for a death certificate must be in writing and may only be given to the representative that made the application for funeral and burial assistance.

Exceptions to the release of a death certificate is limited only to estate administration circumstances where a proof of death is required by a third party to close the customer - business relationship of the deceased such as telephone, utility, cable and credit card companies; or to cancel auto or home insurance policies, etc.  In these circumstances a copy of the death certificate will be faxed to the third party business requiring the proof of death.

To inquire further about the process of requesting a copy of the certificate for the administration of the deceased's estate contact the Department at 519-255-5200 ext. 5277.

Social Services Administration
P.O. Box 427, Station A
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 6L7

Phone:  For general information, call 311.  For detailed inquiries, call 519-255-5200 ext. 5277.
Fax:  519-255-7748


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