For a loved one who has served in the military, it can be a point of pride and honor for the family. Even decades following their service, it’s important to recognize their contribution when they pass.

However, not every family has the ability to invest in the cost of a traditional funeral service and burial.

That’s why Veterans Affairs Canada has established a program in partnership with the Last Post Fund to ensure every veteran is eligible for a proper funeral, burial and grave marker.

In Canada, the Last Post Fund has a mission to provide funeral, burial and memorial services to any veteran who has passed. The Last Post Fund is responsible for administering the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program.

This is their mission and mandate:

“The Last Post Fund’s mission is to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone, due to insufficient funds at the time of death.

Its primary mandate is to deliver the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program which provides funeral, burial and grave marking benefits for eligible Canadian and Allied Veterans.”

Here, we will focus on the Funeral and Burial and Unmarked Grave initiatives.

Funeral and Burial for Canadian Veterans

This program is designed to help those veterans, and their families, without financial means for a funeral and burial to be able to properly memorialize their loved one.

To be eligible, the veteran must have served in the military and must meet certain financial criteria.

According to the Last Post Fund:

“A Veteran is defined as any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and was honourably discharged.

Service eligibility for the Funeral and Burial Program extends to:

  • Canadian Armed Forces Veterans or any predecessor Naval, Army or Air Forces of Canada or Newfoundland
  • Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans of the Second World War or the Korean War
  • Allied Veterans who served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War or the Korean War”

Financial Criteria

Financial eligibility for the program is based on assets at death - rather than throughout life. Program administrators will review applications and financial resources at the time of death to determine if the veteran is eligible.

They look at the entire estate, to see if funds are sufficient to cover funeral and burial costs - either entirely or partially. If not, then the veteran may be eligible.

The program also evaluates the finances of close family, namely spouses and dependent children, looking at combined assets. Financial criteria are outlined by the Last Post Fund.

If existing financial resources aren’t deemed to be enough to cover the funeral and burial, an amount is issued to the family to cover the costs.

Planning the Funeral

You may choose one of two options when it comes to planning the funeral and burial: planning the event yourself or letting the Last Post Fund make arrangements for you.

If you opt to plan and arrange the funeral proceedings yourself, you may apply for reimbursement, either partial or full, within a year of the funeral.

If you opt for the Last Post Fund to make arrangements, they will determine eligibility in advance and make arrangements with a funeral home. They will work directly with the funeral home provider.

Unmarked Graves

This is a program you can apply for retroactively following the death of a loved one who served in the military.

The Unmarked Grave Program aims to provide a permanent military marker for eligible Veterans who lie in unmarked graves.

Veterans are eligible if their grave has not had a permanent headstone or foot marker for five years or more. To be eligible, they must not have been the recipient of funeral and burial funding in the program.

To verify identity and qualify, proof of military service and a death certificate are required.

For those who meet eligibility requirements, a military grave marker will be provided.

To learn more about eligibility and to apply for the program, visit

Based in the United States? Please read our detailed guide on Veterans Funeral and Burial Benefits in the United States.