Securing a Better Financial Future

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R__0010_François-NoëlBy François Noël, MBA, CIRP, LIT

Credit is a double-edged sword. You need to know how to use it carefully.

Credit is a practical means by which to purchase a house or car, help out in emergency situations, and purchase things online as well as everyday items without having to carry cash. But if your monthly payments get too high, you may end up having a hard time paying for basic things such as rent and groceries.

If you need to borrow money, limit yourself to what you really need, even if your financial institution offers you more at an attractive rate. When you have access to more credit than you need, it’s easy to get used to living above your means.

To convince financial institutions that you are willing and able to pay back your credit, you need to earn their trust. Financial institutions usually ask three questions before lending money:

  • Are you able to pay it back?
  • Do you have a steady job?
  • What is your credit rating?

Your credit rating is an indication of your willingness and ability to pay back borrowed money.

Your credit file contains information about previous credit requests, such as the amount requested and repayment terms. It also includes a credit rating that indicates whether or not you are good at repaying your credit.

This rating ranges from R1 (excellent) to R9 ( individuals in bankruptcy or collections process). The R7 rating is for individuals performing a consumer proposal. Clearly, you will have a hard time obtaining credit with an R7 or R9 rating.

A note will appear in your credit file for;

  • Three years after the end of your payments for consumer proposals.
  • Six years as of your discharge in the case of a first bankruptcy.
  • Fourteen years as of your discharge in the case of a second bankruptcy.

You can access your credit file by submitting a request through the mail or internet. When you receive your file, verify all of the information. If there are any mistakes, get them corrected by sending proof. A mistake in your file can mean you’ll always be refused credit, despite your best efforts.

There are two main credit agencies, Equifax Canada Inc. (www.equifax.ca) and TransUnion Canada (www.transunion.ca).

Rebuild your credit on solid ground.

Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure. Only time and good payment habits can improve your credit file. But if you make the required effort, you will likely find an institution willing to lend you money.

Here are few tips for rebuilding your credit file:

  • You must have a stable place of residence.
  • Have a stable employment.
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Open a savings account and save regularly.
  • Once you are discharged, request a $500$ credit card by offering a $500$ But avoid requesting more than one credit card, as doing so will be an area of concern for future lenders
  • Never max out your credit card. You need to be able to pay your entire balance every month.
  • Borrow a small amount by pledging saved money as security

Make sure you understand what has happened, as that will help you start over on the right foot. Even with the keenest of financial advisors and best intentions in the world, if the root cause of your money problems is still there, it won’t be long before your issues resurface. Get to the bottom of these causes and deal with them; you’ll ensure a better financial – and personal – future for yourself.

Thankfully, you are not alone. Your advisor can guide you, with total confidentiality, towards resources that will help you get out of your financial troubles for once and for all.

If you think you’re worried that your credit has become too much too handle, consider talking to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). They are Canada’s go-to professionals when you need help with debt problems. They’re licensed by the federal government and the first consultation with an LIT is always free.

You can find an LIT near you who is a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP) on CAIRP’s website: http://www.cairp.ca/find-a-cirp.

François Noel, MBA, CIRP, LIT , has over  35 years of professional experience at Raymond Chabot, counsellors in financial recovery.

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In a Bankruptcy, You Can’t Always Get What You Want (But You Generally Get What You are Entitled to)

Pamela Branton In bankruptcy matters, creditors sometimes believe that an aggressive stance is necessary to get the recovery they believe they are entitled to. However, that approach can carry its own risks.

In the recent Nova Scotia case of the bankruptcy of Randall Mullen, a judgment creditor asserted that the bankrupt had inappropriately benefited by taking advantage of the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and protecting his RRSP from creditors. The creditor pursued his claim against the RRSP, with the ultimate result that what might otherwise have been a net recovery of about $20,000 for that creditor turned into a net loss in excess of $5,000 (plus any legal fees incurred).

The creditor, Mr. Dykens, had obtained a judgment against Mr. Mullen. He sought to enforce it prior to bankruptcy, including a demand to release the debtor’s RRSP to satisfy the judgment. Before the administrator released any funds, however, Mr. Mullen made an assignment in bankruptcy. The Licensed Insolvency Trustee opined that upon the assignment being made, the RRSP became an exempt asset and not available to Mr. Mullen’s creditors, in accordance with the provisions of the BIA.

Mr. Dykens did not accept that opinion and pursued various lines of inquiry into Mr. Mullen’s affairs. The creditor corresponded extensively with the Trustee throughout the bankruptcy, required an examination by the OSB, and finally objected to Mr. Mullen’s discharge, arguing that the RRSP (or the value thereof) should be made available to creditors.

He unsuccessfully appealed the absolute discharge granted by the Registrar. He then applied, unsuccessfully, to lift the stay of proceedings to permit him to pursue the RRSP to satisfy the judgment. Throughout, the creditor failed to heed advice and comments from the Trustee, the OSB, the Registrar, and the Court, particularly as to the RRSP being an exempt asset and the lack of blameworthy conduct of the bankrupt.

The ultimate result was that the assets of the estate (approximately $42,000) were completely dissipated on Trustee’s fees and legal expenses incurred by the bankrupt estate in responding to the inquiries and court proceedings; the creditor’s actions did not result in any increase in estate assets. Mr. Dykens, holding nearly half of the unsecured debt, would have recovered approximately $20,000 from the estate, but instead received effectively nothing; in addition, he was ordered to pay costs to both the bankrupt estate and the bankrupt personally, at both levels of Court. Unfortunately, the other creditors also suffered, in that their portion of the potential recovery was also wiped out.

The lesson to be learned is to investigate (and seek the advice of experienced insolvency professionals) as to whether your claim has merit before exhausting the funds from which your recovery would be paid.

Pamela Branton is a Senior Solicitor with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Bankruptcy Subsection of the Canadian Bar Association, Nova Scotia, has served as a Director of the Canadian Insolvency Foundation, and as the Co-Chair for the Canadian Bar Association’s Pan-Canadian Insolvency and Restructuring Conference held in Halifax in 2012.

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Family budgeting: It’s never too early to start the conversation

Steve ErwinBy Steve Erwin

Like many parents, I struggle with teaching my kids how to be responsible with money – maybe because it took me so long to figure it out for myself (and maybe I’m not all the way there yet, either).

I recall being on my weekend Toronto Star paper route as a kid and having to “collect” payments for delivery at each door, hoping I’d cobble together enough coins to waste at the local corner store on baseball cards and “Big League Chew” (I’m not even sure that bubble gum still exists.)

My parents were pretty cautious with what money they would give us in “allowances” – not too much, and not without something in return, so that it would be earned. Flash-forward to the present day and here I am trying to instill the same responsible thinking into a 7-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.

This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Daughter just has to flash those beautiful lashes and Daddy melts like butter. It’s been effective in her getting that extra something at the store … and if she gets something, Son does too (fair is fair, as they say).

What’s been interesting is watching how both treat money. Both were given piggy banks a while ago. Both receive cash here and there from grandparents and other relatives and we also have a “finders keepers!” rule whereby if they come across loose coins on the floor, a counter or a laundry basket, it’s theirs (which is why I’m careful not to drop any $20 bills).

Steve wastes money on kids

Jack and Sammy know the way to daddy’s heart – and his wallet.

On one hand we have Jack … he’s the “saver.” In six months he calculated all the loot from his piggy bank and found out he has more than $150! (He’s saving, he says, for a new video game console … he seems unconvinced Santa Claus will follow through on a future wish list).

On the other hand we have Sammy … she’s the “spender.” She will dig into her bank if we go shopping, put it in a little purse and this lets her make purchases that adults would refer to as “impulse buys.” After six months, she had less than $30 in her piggy bank.

Naturally Sammy was disappointed she hadn’t saved as much as her brother. This led us to quite the conversation about whether some of the things she purchased were worth the money she spent – like a $10 stuffed animal she played with once and still sits staring out forlornly above her dresser.

Either way, what’s nice is that regardless of whether it’s this method or some other recommended version by a parenting expert, the comparison of my kids’ two spending-and-saving styles generated really good conversation about the value of money, and why it’s important to save and also spend within limits. The conversation even extended to a broader discussion on how to use any excess funds we have this summer – are we buying a pool, or saving up for Disneyworld?

Either way, we’ll keep trying to have these important conversations as they get older, when their needs and wants will grow in demand and in value. I just hope the butterfly kisses never stop … and also don’t break my own budget.

Steve Erwin is a CAIRP director and public affairs professional living in Windsor, ON.

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Rebuilding Credit After an Insolvency – Lessons Learned in Iceland

IMG_0386daniel-2By Daniel Budd, CIRP, LIT

Over the course of a recent vacation, I came to understand just how true it is that economic recovery is completely dependent on the people or companies looking to re-establish themselves.

Recently, my wife and I went to Iceland, a beautiful country that has had to re-invent and rebuild itself after what some economists and historians are calling the worst financial crisis ever to hit an individual country.IMG_0040

While other countries may run larger deficits, or have significantly higher debt, Iceland – a small island nation in the North Atlantic, fell into a very particular set of circumstances.

At this point, I feel it is important to point out that this post contains no empirical research whatsoever, and is based solely on my anecdotal experience from five days of driving around this picturesque and interesting country.

Iceland’s near-bankruptcy was apparently driven by the collapse of its three central banks. The exposure of these three banks into international credit markets by 2008 far exceeded the National GDP of the country itself. Put very simply, the total economic output of Iceland was around 10% of the value of the total foreign debt held by the three main banks.

IMG_0345I am not going to go into the nitty gritty of the Icelandic crisis, as that is not the focus of this article, but rather the result for Icelanders. Needless to say, there was a complex economic plan put into place that involved not only Iceland’s financial class but also the international community.

The result has been that the Iceland was able to regain confidence from international lenders, the creditors who had lost the most as a result of Iceland not being able to honour its obligations.

In June 2011, Iceland was able to raise $1 billion in a bond offering, which would not have been possible had the country not taken steps to regain potential creditors’ trust. Very recently, the capital controls placed on Iceland’s economy have been lifted, essentially removing the last restriction placed on it as a result of the 2008 bankruptcy.

In short, the Icelandic economy recovered to functionality and even grew substantially in one important area – tourism. The days following the financial crisis saw an influx of tourists taking advantage of the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona.

More recently, the Icelandic tourist economy has been driven by Iceland’s unique and beautiful geography, topography, and the like, as well as the emergence of a new and internationally acclaimed foodie culture.IMG_0373

It is still very expensive for food travel and lodging within Iceland, however, with the emergence of new low-cost airlines it has become increasingly common as a tourist destination, which has only helped the country continue its economic rebound.

All that being said, when this traveler asked different locals how the crisis had affected them, most spoke positively, explaining that it had in fact exposed a serious problem and forced the nation to rectify it, leaving the country financially stronger than before.

The most common negative response was that imported goods were still extremely expensive to native Icelanders. One of our hosts explained that it was still cheaper to go to the United States every few years and buy clothes, athletic equipment, alcohol, and other commercial goods either not widely available or too expensive to buy at home.

As a Canadian, I can sympathize.

In the end, my (albeit limited and touristically biased) understanding was that an honest but unfortunate debtor country, under certain restrictions,  was able to effect a financial fresh start.

IMG_0050Daniel Budd, CIRP, LIT received his Trustee licence in 2014 and has been practicing with M. Diamond & Associates Inc. in Montreal ever since. Daniel is currently one of Canada’s youngest Licensed Insolvency Trustees and sits on the New Members’ Committee of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP).

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Insolvency Law in Nova Scotia – Limitations of Actions

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Pamela BrantonBy Pamela Branton

How long can a potential claimant wait before pursuing their claim in Court? Or, at what point has a claim “expired” due to failure to bring a Court action?

The Nova Scotia Limitation of Actions Act has recently been amended to provide for a single across-the-board limitation period to bring a Court action to recover a debt (or any other type of claim). The amendments also removed the various factors that a claimant could use if they did file their claim after the limitation period had expired.

The basic time period in which to start a legal action is two years from the date of discovery of the claim; there are some nuances during the transition period for introduction of the new rules.  Where the claim was not discovered within 15 years after it occurs, the right to start a court action for the claim ceases after the 15 years. This gives closure to claims where they are historical but undiscovered.

There are some exceptions. For example, if another piece of legislation sets out a limitation period, then that specific limitation period overrides the one in the Limitation of Actions Act. Also, for a claim that is based on a demand obligation, the limitation period does not start to run until the demand has been made.

It is important to note that if a debtor acknowledges the debt, the limitation period runs from the time of the acknowledgement. The acknowledgment basically “restarts the clock” and may, in practice, extend the limitation period in some instances. The acknowledgement may be given to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the bankruptcy of the claimant as well as to the claimant itself.

The previous Limitations of Actions Act provided that if the claimant brought the Court action after the expiry of the limitation period, the Court might still hear the claim, if the claimant met certain conditions. These were mainly to promote fairness to the claimant, but they also brought a great deal of uncertainty and in some cases unfairness to the defendant.

Those conditions have been removed from the new legislation (other than in claims for personal injury), so that the limitation period is now more “absolute”; if the claimant does not bring the claim to Court within the limitation period, then they will not be able to pursue the claim in Court.

Pamela Branton is a Senior Solicitor with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Bankruptcy Subsection of the Canadian Bar Association, Nova Scotia, has served as a Director of the Canadian Insolvency Foundation, and as the Co-Chair for the Canadian Bar Association’s Pan-Canadian Insolvency and Restructuring Conference held in Halifax in 2012.

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Oil and Gas Reorganizations: From Surviving to Thriving in Challenging Times

Bidboland_gas_refinerymichelle-grant_2014-4By Michelle Grant, CIRP, LIT

Since the price of oil began to slump in mid-2014 oil and gas companies have gone through an intense period of reorganization. In December 2016, EY, in association with the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business — Executive Education, conducted a survey of more than 70 organizations in Canada’s oil and gas industry to gain insight into how those organizations responded to continued low commodity prices. You can access the full report here: Canadian oil and gas reorganizations: From surviving to thriving in challenging times

Key highlights from the survey are summarized below:

  • Actions taken by the survey respondents were focused on providing immediate cost savings including headcount reductions with over 80% of organizations surveyed reducing headcount.
  • The majority of survey respondents that reduced headcount also took the opportunity to restructure internally — shifting work, role changes, streamlining processes or consolidating areas, functions or business units. The internal restructuring initiatives were largely short-term solution focused, more complex solutions such as outsourcing and work elimination were not really considered.
  • Survey respondents that identified the reorganization efforts as successful had these things in common:
    • Strong coordination across the organization, including from HR and Communications
    • Took the time to apply more upfront rigour and discipline
    • Engaged a broader stakeholder group (outside of executive leadership)

The last two years have been very challenging for the oil and gas industry, and these challenges will continue. It is important for organizations to take stock of the changes that have been implemented, measure these changes against the perceived outcome and determine what (if any) additional changes are necessary to move from survival mode to a thriving business again. From EY’s perspective, now is the time to think more strategically about what organizations can do next to address these challenges, focusing on people as drivers of success, and on longer-term sustainable and structural solutions.

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Who said you had to get it (your finances) right the first time?

mam-headshotBy Mary Ann Marriott

We are so hard on ourselves aren’t we? We think we are supposed to get it all right the first time. Relationships! Careers! Finances! Now, tell me, where in the owner’s manual of life does it say you had to get it all right the first time?

As far as I am concerned, whatever age you are when you ‘get it right’ is the right age. Sure, it would be great to figure it out in your twenties or thirties. But in your fifties is better than in your sixties, and so on. I have people of all ages coming to me for advice. Some learn early, some not so much. And it is nothing to be ashamed of.

It will be OK when….

We get into financial trouble for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it is a product of our upbringing – you can only really learn what you are exposed to, so if your parents (or other role models) were not-so-good with money, how could you expect to be?

Sometimes we just lean on the side of optimism (an admirable trait, but one that can lead to temporary blindness, a.k.a avoidance). You overspend or use too much credit assuming you will be OK when you get a job, get more work, get your tax refund, the kids move out, etc., etc.

And sometimes it is simply poor decision-making. The salesperson made it sound like you could afford it, the bank told you that you qualify for that level of mortgage…

The reason you are in financial trouble doesn’t matter so much, it is what you are going to do about it that is paramount. But doing something about it does depend on knowing what the issue was that led to the situation.banner-img

But what can I do?

The most important thing you can do is make the decision to turn your finances around. Often that starts by asking others for help. And by taking an inventory of your options.

If it isn’t completely obvious, you need to determine where your challenges lie. Do you impulsively spend, leaving you short for every day/month expenses.? Try Setting up a simple three-step spending plan. Do you rely on credit to make ends meet each month? If so, you need to put a plan in place to live within your means. Maybe you have absolutely no idea where your money goes, in which case tracking your expenses is a crucial first step.

The key is to take action. If you ignore the problem, I guarantee you, it will NOT fix itself. There is always a solution. Sometimes, you just need a helping hand to show you the way.

It is never a bad idea to talk to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). They are the go-to professionals when you need advice about debt and the first consultation with an LIT is always free. An LIT is the only professional who can show you all options when it comes to dealing with financial difficulty.

To find an LIT near you, visit http://www.cairp.ca/find-a-cirp

Mary Ann Marriott, CIRP, is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. and services their Halifax and Bridgewater locations in Nova Scotia. She is passionate about helping others succeed financially and regularly provides workshops, presentations and social media posts on this topic. You can find her on Twitter as @Dr_Debt_NS.

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The Women of Insolvency – Standing Out Across Canada

michelle-grant_2014-4By Michelle Grant, CIRP, LIT

The fall/winter 2016 issue of Rebuilding Success – CAIRP’s biannual magazine – features four women in the insolvency profession who are “Standing Out”. I thought I would take an opportunity to highlight some additional female CAIRP members who are standing out, giving Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CIRP) a great reputation in the business community and beyond.

I asked CAIRP to send an e-mail to the membership requesting input. I received a few submissions and I added in a few that I am aware of. This is by no means an exhaustive list; I know there are more of us out there doing great things, so I am hoping we can start a conversation.ci62c_cover

Women are often less inclined to “toot their own horn” so I really encourage others to let me know if there is someone out there doing a great thing. I would like to write about it.

Here’s a brief snapshot of the stories our membership shared:

  • Michelle Pickett, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Toronto, was a recipient of the Fetner Award for exceptional contributions by an international member of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC). Michelle is the past-chair of the Ontario Chapter of IWIRC and she is currently IWIRC’s Canadian Networks Director.
  • Debbie Conroy, a senior manager at Ernst & Young Inc. in Montreal, was a key member of the organizing committee for the CAIRP Annual Conference that took place in Montreal earlier this year. She did an excellent job in her role as organizer and was a poised presenter at the conference.
  • Jennifer Pede, a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Edmonton, who is just back from maternity leave, is already right back in the thick of things as IWIRC Western Canada’s Vice-Chair. She is tirelessly promoting the network and has grown the chapter in Edmonton significantly over the past few years.
  • Rhonda Fox-Miles and Rebecca Frederick, two Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LIT) who went out on their own in Edmonton are making a real difference in communities that really need the advice of an LIT these days.
  • Roxanne Anderson with March Advisory Transformation and Turnaround services was named as one of the top five turnaround specialists in Canada by Canadian Business magazine. Roxanne is an avid promoter of Mental Wellness and its importance to society. She is currently the Chair of the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Mental Health and a member of the Royal Ottawa’s Campaign Cabinet as well a member of the Royal’s Women for Mental Health.
  • Robyn White is a senior manager at Liquid Capital Corp. She’s one of a few women out in industry that maintains her CIRP designation as well as her LIT.

Let’s keep the conversation going!

Michelle Grant (michelle.grant@ca.ey.com)

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Protecting Yourself is Key When Helping Friends and Family with Debt

daniel-2

By Daniel Budd, CIRP, LIT, CAIRP Financial Literacy Champion

As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), one informal role I often find myself taking on is that of family counselor. While this is not specifically something we train for as Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CIRP), it comes with the territory – unfortunately when finances get strained, so too do many relationships.

When a friend or family member is under financial stress, our natural instinct is to want to help. Obviously, when one family member’s cash flow becomes strained an additional burden can be placed on the rest of the family. That can lead to a deterioration of relationships, and it’s important to know how to avoid getting into an uncomfortable situation.

Protecting yourself (and as a result your family)

We frequently see unmanageable debt being placed on a family by a relative, often when a family member co-signs or guarantees an obligation for a relative without looking at their own risk.

We all want the best for our families, but, if by helping out a relative we are hurting ourselves, sometimes it is important to make the “selfish” choice. That being said, you can still help out your family while ensuring you are not also hurting yourself. That means taking a critical look over your own budget and finances before you agree to lend your signature to help someone else out of difficulty. Make sure that if they can’t pay, you can, because if you cannot, now you are putting yourself and your immediate family in hot water.

Lending your name

Whenever you lend your name to a guarantee or obligation related to someone else’s debt, it is vital that you understand the implications of that signature. If they don’t pay, you will have to, which is the nature of the help you’re committing to give.

Where people often do not understand their exposure is when they allow friends or family to use their name to set up businesses or accounts because their own credit is not good enough, or because they already have debt trouble.

The usual result here is that the “nice guy” or person who is helping their friend / family ends up being responsible for a litany of obligations including but not limited to, excise taxes, (GST, HST, QST), payroll taxes, employee wages, and environmental issues, to name but a few.

Generosity also means shared responsibility

These helpers tend not to be involved with the business they are helping, but in the eyes of the government and creditors, they share equal, if not full responsibility.

Even worse, we see people who use their friends or family to move assets around to try and hide them from creditors or the government. The end result here can be a hefty legal bill to protect the “transactions” and / or a tax implication for having received a benefit without having paid for it.

No matter what, when looking to help out your friends and family, think long and hard and make sure you aren’t hurting yourself. Saying “no” might seem cruel or heartless, but if you really don’t have the means to help, or helping means stretching yourself too thin, you have to consider your own situation first.

After all, in the long run you are going to be in a better position to help a family member or friend in many other ways if you yourself are financially stable. It’s not selfish – it’s smart.

Daniel Budd, CIRP, LIT received his Trustee licence in 2014 and has been practicing with M. Diamond & Associates Inc. in Montreal ever since. Daniel is currently one of Canada’s youngest Licensed Insolvency Trustees and sits on the New Members’ Committee of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP).

 

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“Debtors’ Prison” and Other Misconceptions About Bankruptcy

 

mam-headshotBy Mary Ann Marriott, CIRP, LIT

There are two BIG misconceptions that I hear about debt and bankruptcy on a regular basis.

One is the belief that if you do not pay your bills, you could be shipped off to jail. This belief stems from the historical existence of “debtor’s prison,” which was a reality in the 19th century.

Conviction usually occurred after a court-ordered monetary judgement was issued but remained unpaid. Debtors had two options – they could pay the judgement with the help of family or friends or be sent to a “workhouse,” where their labour would help pay back the amount owed.

The emergence of bankruptcy law over the past century has eliminated the debtors’ prison throughout most of the world, in favour of a system that seeks to financially rehabilitate and grant a fresh start to debtors while considering the rights of creditors as well.

Can you still go to jail for just being in debt?

It is true that jail time is possible for certain debts not paid, but these are typically court-imposed fines and not debts incurred under normal circumstances. Such debts are generally not released under a bankruptcy filing (see Section 178 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act) and are required to be paid regardless of your solvency situation.

In my research on the topic, I was surprised to find a recent article on Huffington Post that described a class-action suit was taken against Benton County (Washington) in June of this year over its unconstitutional system for collecting court-imposed debts.

The attorney stated, at the conclusion of the trial, that “(They were) very pleased that Benton County has stopped operating a modern-day debtors’ prison. No one should have to go to jail or perform manual labor simply because they are too poor to pay their fines,” The full article is available here.

For a more local feel, if the history of debtor’s prisons in Canada intrigues you, you can find some interesting facts on Wikipedia here.

Bankruptcy – the easy way out?

The second misconception is that bankruptcy is the easy way out from paying your debts. In some cases, the process is, yes, arguably easy… for those who have nothing. For others, it is not quite as simple as walking away with all debts expunged.

In bankruptcy, you have to pay back at least a portion of your debt with payments based on your income and creditors are still entitled to some of your assets. If you don’t abide by the rules of the system, you can either be in bankruptcy a very long time or can find yourself essentially kicked out of the process (left undischarged), opening up the door for your creditors to continue collecting from you.

In summary, sometimes life happens. Paying your debts may become impossible. There are systems in place to help individuals who find themselves in that situation. Fair and democratic systems in which we, as Licensed Insolvency Trustees, are there to balance the needs and rights of creditors and debtors. No other professional has that mandate. It is why we are the go-to-professionals in the industry.

If you need to see a trustee, visit CAIRP’s website to find a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP), the recognizable symbol of integrity, education and professionalism of the insolvency and restructuring profession.

You can also visit the Find a Trustee section of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy’s website.

Mary Ann Marriott, CIRP, is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. and services their Halifax and Bridgewater locations in Nova Scotia. She is passionate about helping others succeed financially and regularly provides workshops, presentations and social media posts on this topic. You can find her on Twitter as @Dr_Debt_NS.

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