Report Autumn 2018


Participating in the FIAT-IFTA Exchange Program

To introduce myself: My Name is Max Michal and I am a funeral director from Germany. My family runs the Michal OHG Funeral Home in Schweinfurt, Germany, and I will be the sixth generation to keep up with the family tradition since 1833. So, there is a lot of experience I can rely on. But this business is not only about experience and tradition. You always must keep an eye on the market to see new things that can make your daily work easier or to follow the desires of the costumers.

And that is why I took part in the FIAT-IFTA Exchange Program. To collect some new ideas for our funeral home and to see how funeral business is like somewhere else in the world.

So I went to Montreal in Canada and visited the Magnus Poirier Funeral Home. There I spent three weeks to get an overall look of how the daily work of a funeral director in Montreal looks like and to see every part of the Magnus Poirier funeral home. The funeral home in Montreal is a lot bigger than the one of my family which in my opinion was a good thing because from an economic perspective you always want to grow. Like this I could see what kind of options but also problems will maybe wait for me in the future and exchange knowledge with people who have already been at this point. I was able to look into every section of the funeral business in Canada. I experienced the similarities and the differences of the work of a funeral director in Montreal and in Schweinfurt. I worked in embalming and transportation. I took part in some arrangement talks. I did some cemetery work and saw how to run a cemetery because Magnus Poirier has its own near Montreal.

They even allowed me to spend some days with the management to see how you arrange so many funerals at a time and how you organize all the things around a funeral to make the most out of the resources you have got. Of course, I also worked at a lot of funerals and tried to help where-ever I could. Montreal is a city with a lot of different ethnicities and religions. This made the exchange even more interesting because I saw completely new things I had never seen before just because these religions are not very common in the part of Germany where I come from. What I recognized during the FIAT-IFTA Exchange Program is, that even if the funeral businesses in Canada and in Germany look very similar at first because you got the same major parts of work but if you look closer there are many differences. Some of them are smaller and some of them are bigger but all in all I can say that I experienced a completely different daily life of a funeral director.

I will take some of the things I have learned in Montreal back home and try to transpose those to our funeral home, but some other things are just not feasible in Germany because of laws and traditions. I also hope that some of the knowledge I brought to Montreal was helpful for their work either. In my opinion three weeks are the perfect amount of time for this exchange because you can see all of the parts of a funeral home and you still got enough time to really look into detail and see everything more than once.


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