The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is the pre-eminent association of professional death care providers, suppliers, students, and consultants. This non-profit trade organization is dedicated to providing authoritative guidance on all facets of cremation.
In addition to fostering education, training, and certification, CANA provides recommendations on cremation law, technology, and environmentally sustainable practices, including cremation implant recycling.
History and Mission of CANA
As an organization, CANA dates back to its founding in 1913. Currently, CANA includes more than 3,300 members in countries throughout the world. CANA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, all of whom are actively engaged in the cremation, memorialization, or funeral industry. CANA is run on a day-to-day basis by a paid staff of professionals.
CANA’s mission is “…to serve as the leading authority on all aspects of cremation.” CANA espouses the belief that cremation is not an end in itself, but rather is preparation for memorializing the deceased.
Education and Certification Programs
CANA offers a comprehensive range of educational opportunities for current and prospective death care professionals. CANA’s “Crematory Operations Certification ProgramTM” (COCPTM) is considered to be the industry standard in crematory training and certification. This highly-regarded program is designed to augment on-the-job training and instruction in the use of specific cremation machines.
Achieving COCPTM certification demonstrates to the public and colleagues alike that you have gained an extensive, in-depth knowledge of the cremation process, including the most recent technologies and best professional practices. The course and examination leading to COCPTM certification is offered in both classroom and on-line formats.
CANA also sponsors two informative conferences each year. The Annual Cremation Innovation Convention provides a forum for death care professionals to learn about the latest technologies, products, and procedures. The convention is held in a different location each year and usually has a regional focus. The slightly shorter Annual Cremation Symposium is always held in Las Vegas and highlights topical issues and useful tips.
CANA Position Statements
CANA’s Board of Directors has developed three position statements related to the cremation process.
The first position statement is actually model legislation developed by CANA for use by states or other entities considering the development of statutes related to cremation. The text of this legislation addresses the establishment and licensing of crematories as well as the processing and disposition of human remains and non-organic waste materials.
CANA’s second position statement addresses certain aspects of a particular cremation technology known as alkaline hydrolysis, which is a more recent alternative to traditional flame-based cremation.
CANA’s third position statement supports and provides guidance on the recycling of non-organic materials both before and after cremation. CANA notes that recycling extends the use of natural resources, reduces industrial impacts on the environment, and conserves energy.
Cremation implant recycling ensures that metals used in casket hardware or dental and orthopedic implants are retrieved and reprocessed, thus keeping them out of landfills and prolonging their useful life. Proceeds from the sale of recycled materials may be donated drop off to Calgary charity or accepted by the crematory or another provider as income.
CANA Membership Benefits
In addition to providing members with educational opportunities and professional certification, CANA produces numerous publications, newsletters, and on-line resources focused solely on the cremation industry.
Through its partnerships with other organizations and businesses, CANA offers members free or discounted legal counseling, regulatory support, advice on marketing and public relations, and other relevant services.
Perhaps most importantly, CANA offers members the opportunity to connect with other professionals in the death care industry through access to its membership list and discounted participation in its annual conferences.
Networking through CANA allows members to increase their knowledge of industry practices, enhance their businesses, and better serve their clients.