Need help with your debt? Ask questions and shop around to avoid paying unnecessary fees.
TORONTO – November 9, 2022 – As part of Financial Literacy Month 2022, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) and the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) are working together to help Canadians find advice and solutions they can trust to help with their debt. The OSB and CAIRP websites provide important tools and information to help consumers deal with financial difficulties. But what about finding the right professional? When seeking help to deal with debt, here are some things to consider:
- Beware of unregulated, unlicensed debt advisors that claim to be authorized to assist you with insolvency options. Some charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for services they are not licensed to provide, or for unnecessary services offered before, during or after a consumer proposal or bankruptcy filing.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics or unrealistic promises to quickly solve your debt problems or to fix your credit score. Signs may include high fees, high interest rates, delayed payments and advisors encouraging you to make further advances on your credit card or take out a high-interest loan to pay their fees.
- Meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). LITs provide independent, unbiased advice about the options to deal with debt. They are required to assess your financial and personal situation, and to discuss all options available for solving financial difficulties, including insolvency and non-insolvency options.
- The OSB has a directory of LITs and LIT firms. LIT services are available across the country, even in remote locations.
- An LIT may recommend non-insolvency options such as talking to your creditors, consolidating your debts, establishing and following a budget or a Debt Management Plan (DMP). If needed, they would refer you to a reputable credit counselling agency, for example, to access DMP services.
- If your financial situation is more serious, an LIT may recommend an insolvency option such as a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. LITs are the only professionals authorized to administer these government-regulated insolvency options.
- Ask for a free consultation. First consultations with an LIT may be free, so those facing debt problems can get advice with no commitment and no upfront fees.
- Most importantly, be a well-informed consumer by consulting reliable sources for information, asking questions, and seeking a second opinion. This can help you avoid paying for unnecessary services or fees.
“Those faced with desperate financial situations are susceptible to false promises of a quick solution to their debt problems. Anyone considering a consumer proposal or bankruptcy should meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee first. LITs are the only federally regulated professionals who can provide debt relief options such as bankruptcy and consumer proposals. LITs are bound by a Code of Ethics and required to explore all debt relief options to help debtors find the best solution for their needs.”
– Elisabeth Lang, Superintendent of Bankruptcy
“Canadians can feel confident that when they seek advice from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, they are dealing with someone who has demonstrated they have the knowledge, experience and skills to help them make informed choices to deal with their debt. They are the only debt-relief professionals in Canada legally required to offer a complete financial assessment, explain all the options for debt-relief and offer unbiased advice.”
– Jean-Daniel Breton, Chair of CAIRP
The OSB’s Debt Solutions Portal provides accurate and reliable information, including a handy questionnaire, to help consumers deal with their financial difficulties.
CAIRP is the national professional association representing nearly 1,500 members and associates, mostly LITs who have earned the Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional designation.