New co-operative to help out with district funeral services

·3 min read

DISTRICT – A new co-operative is aiming to provide high quality, affordable funeral services in the district.

The Timiskaming Funeral Co-operative is a community initiative with the goal of providing its members with compassionate, high quality funeral arrangements on a not-for-profit basis.

It will involve Perrin Funeral Chapel in New Liskeard, McDonald Funeral Home in Englehart and French Family Funeral Home in Kirkland Lake.

“It is owned and operated by its members and does not exist to make profits, but to meet the needs of bereaved families whatever their funeral budget may be,” explained Annie Joyal, senior director – team development for the Cooperation Council of Ontario, in an email interview.

“The co-operative model is a guarantee of quality services and commitment to people who use its services.”

Joyal explained that the funeral services offered through the co-operative are generally the same as those found on the market, “but the differences are in the scope of services offered, the pricing of services and the use of surplus, which will be determined by the members.”

The Cooperation Council of Ontario will help with holding community meetings in Kirkland Lake, Englehart, Earlton, New Liskeard and Haileybury.

“One in French and one in English at each location,” said Joyal.

It will also form a provisional committee, which will be made up of members from the various communities, and assist in the development of the bilingual funeral co-operative and its various service points.

BENEFITS

Joyal said that the benefits of the new co-operative are that it is a unique, non-profit service model and it shares a common vision in having funeral services administered by its own members, the owners.

“Members participate in financial decisions as well as in the development of the co-operative,” she noted.

She added that if you are a lifetime member, upon your death the cost of your membership is returned to your estate.

The co-operative also offers affordable and high-level services and merchandise and adapts rituals to “your beliefs and your wishes.”

Families will benefit from lower group purchase prices and lower operating costs and the co-operative will be locally owned by its members.

Glen French, who serves as the general manager of Timiskaming Funeral Co-operative and also is the senior director of development and acquisitions for the Funeral Cooperative Network, said that three funeral homes have been able to work together by sharing staff, vehicles, supplies, etc.

Moving forward, he said that the funeral homes are looking forward to “being able to offer the latest and newest ideas, products and services to our ever-changing world while maintaining the service standards our communities have grown accustomed to.”

The co-operative model, he said, is a guarantee of the quality of services and commitment to people who use its services.

“It will not be necessary for an individual to be a member to take advantage of our services,” he explained in an email interview.

“As the general manager I continue to work with the team to operate the funeral homes as we have since their individual acquisitions. The future outlook or vision of the funeral co-operative will be decided by the yet to be formed board of directors. The board will be selected after a cooperative has been established.”

French added that due to the pandemic, the co-operative has been delayed in laying the necessary ground work to accomplish those tasks.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker