Tag Archives: Bankruptcy Trustees


Blair Mantin on CTV Morning Live – Ask an Expert: “How to Choose a Debt Advisor”

Sands & Associates Vice-President and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin appeared on CTV Morning Live’s “Ask an Expert” segment last week.

This episode focuses on key questions that consumers should consider when seeking a debt advisor.

For more information about Consumer Proposals and other debt options, please contact us to book a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices.


CTV Morning Live – Ask an Expert: “How to Choose a Debt Advisor”

Vice-President of Sands & Associates and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin was featured on CTV Morning Live’s segment “Ask an Expert” this morning.  Today’s segment focused on some key questions that consumers should consider when seeking someone to help them with their debts.

Recent statistics and studies have shown that debt is a way of life for many Canadians, and, what’s more, a large number of Canadians are within as little as two hundred dollars of not being able to meet their monthly payment obligations.  As individuals seek out professional debt assistance, there are some pitfalls to be aware of to ensure a debt free future.

Key Questions to Ask when you’re Seeking Help with your Debts:

  1. Is the advisor licensed to help you?
    • When seeking help with your debts, there are a multitude of individuals who claim to be able to help you.  It’s important to note that the Federal Government licenses only a single professional to assist individuals who find themselves in debt – a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.  If you’re dealing with an unlicensed professional you may be at risk of paying unnecessary fees and not having the debt resolved.
  2. What fees will you need to pay?
    • It’s important to understand that you should never pay for debt advice.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees all provide free confidential consultations and all payments are set by government tariff.  If an individual is considering paying an up-front fee to a debt advisor, this is usually a warning sign that they are not dealing with an individual who can actually provide an effective option to deal with all of your creditors.  Many times, unlicensed professionals may charge up-front fees only to eventually introduce you to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can offer you several solutions to solve the issue, and whom you could have met initially for free.
  3. What debts can the advisor help with?
    • For most consumer debts, individuals can try to negotiate on their own behalf and sometimes are successful at getting payment plans that work for them.  For government debts, this is often a non-starter.  No advisor can reduce or freeze government debts other than a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.  That’s it, full stop.  Even an individual negotiating directly with Canada Revenue Agency for tax debts or student loans on their own behalf usually doesn’t succeed in reducing the debt.  A Consumer Proposal is generally the only effective method to reduce those government debts in full settlement, with no additional interest or penalties.
  4. Will you receive protection from creditors?
    • If you owe money, you may be getting collection calls, wage seizures, or court actions against you.  It’s important to understand who can make those proceedings stop – only a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can use federal law to immediately stop all actions dead in their tracks and give you the breathing room you need to recover.
  5. Where can you go if something goes wrong?
    • If you’re dealing with an unlicensed advisor, you generally have little to no recourse.  You can try to complain, or even take to social media, but there is no overseeing body that can compel an unlicensed debt advisor to make good on a bad situation.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees are overseen by Industry Canada and are heavily regulated.  If you’re dealing with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, the regulator makes sure that everything is done in compliance with governing laws.

With over 26 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.


Connect with Sands & Associates at the West Coast Women’s Show

According to a recent study, more than one-third of Canadian women wish they were more confident in financial matters, and around the same number of women fear making financial decisions due to a lack of knowledge.

Many women today face unique challenges when it comes to debt and finances.  Sands & Associates believes that women should be encouraged to make smart money choices, to plan ahead and to be empowered with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their finances.  With financial literacy and consumer education top of mind, Sands & Associates will be attending the 16th annual West Coast Women’s Show October 21, 22 and 23rd at the Tradex in Abbotsford.

Stop by and meet some of our friendly, knowledgeable staff in Abbotsford for the 16th annual West Coast Women’s Show.  With daily shows and hundreds of exhibitors, the West Coast Women’s Show is the biggest women’s event in British Columbia.

Please click here for more information about the West Coast Women’s Show.

Sands & Associates has been helping individuals and small businesses when they need a plan to deal with their debts for over 25 years. With 15 offices throughout British Columbia and a team of qualified credit counsellors, Licensed Insolvency Trustees and proposal administrators – we are here to help people achieve a debt-free future!

To find out more about Sands & Associates or arrange a free, confidential evaluation of your debt options in one of our local offices please contact us.


2016 Halloween Infographic – Get More Scare and Less Spend

Click the infographic to enlarge.

Click the infographic to enlarge.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.


How (and Why) to Check Your Credit Report

Even though it’s generally recommended to check your credit report about once a year, this is a financial chore that often falls by the wayside, even for the most financially-savvy of us.  Because an un-kempt credit history can be hiding a lot of hassle for those unsuspecting, we’ve put together a brief primer on getting your credit report to help you stay on top of this important metric:

How to check your credit report:

There are two relatively straightforward ways you can request copies of your credit history reports from both (that’s right – BOTH) credit bureaus in Canada.  Because these are separate agencies they won’t necessarily have the same information, which is why it’s important to review both.

  1. Online: If you visit the websites for Equifax and TransUnion of Canada you’ll find links to receive a copy of your credit history report online.  While this is a quick way to get the job done, it will come with a fee determined by the agency.  If you opt for this route, be sure you’re only paying for what you want – different “packages” are available that will contain varying information and reporting.  For financial housekeeping purposes, you’re generally only interested in the credit history report itself, not your credit score!
  2. By mail: If you’re not in a rush, and/or you want to save yourself the fees you can use the “Credit History Request Form” to request hard copies of your reports, a copy of which can be found in the downloads section of our website.  You can obtain copies for free once a year!  You’ll need to fill out the form in entirety, attach copies of two pieces of identification and either mail or fax the request form to both credit bureaus.

Why you should check your credit reports:

Correct Errors:  Sources estimate that there are errors in anywhere from 10 to 33% of credit history files.  Unfortunately, some of those errors may be impactful enough to stop you from obtaining credit, or getting credit on the terms you want, others such as an incorrect date of birth may add unnecessary delays when you’re seeking credit.

Tip:  If corrections to your file are required, there will be a request form sent to you with your credit report which you will complete then return to the appropriate bureau.  Try to include as much documentation with the correction request as possible.

Detect Fraud:  Identity theft and fraud are a modern-day nuisance that thousands of Canadians deal with annually.  If you’ve had your wallet stolen, or had a home break-in, it’s of added important that you monitor your credit history for accounts that may not belong to you.

Tip:  If you’ve been a victim of fraud you should contact the police, the affected lenders, and the credit bureaus immediately to get further assistance.

Avoid Surprises:  It’s easy to have a few bills slip from memory over the years.  Avoid being reminded about that old cellphone account or unpaid parking ticket when you go to apply for credit.  Likewise for credit cards or lines of credit that you haven’t used in years – these items can be taking up needless room in your credit report.

For assistance in eliminating debts that may be weighing down your credit report, contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.  We can help you achieve a financial fresh start!

With over 25 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.


Can a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal Cover Government Debt?

There are many different types of debts AND debt solutions available to Canadians, and not all are created equal.  Notwithstanding the appearance of a large number of debt resolution options, there are only two legislated debt options that will give a person relief from their debts, including government-related debts.  Here are some common types of government debts that many people are surprised to learn that a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal can deal with:

Income tax debt – Outstanding debts with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can be included in a personal bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal.  This includes balances due for personal income tax, GST or corporate tax, as well as corresponding interest and penalties.  All accruing interest is halted, as are wage garnishments or bank account seizures that may be in place.

Did you know?  A Consumer Proposal is the only method that can be used to negotiate a reduced balance owing with CRA.

Student loans – If more than seven years have passed since your last study date, you can be released from your student loans using a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal.  Even if you have not been out of school for seven years you would still get relief from making payment on those student loans during the bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal period.

Did you know? If only 5 years have passed since you last attended school, it may be possible to apply for your student loan to be relieved under a hardship provision following your bankruptcy.

Medical Service Plan (MSP) – If you were required to pay MSP premiums and incurred an outstanding balance, this will be eliminated with a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal.  Ongoing premiums (if any) would then resume as normal after the date of filing.

Did you know?  MSP premiums are based on your previous years’ tax returns.  If you’re behind in tax filings this may result in not being eligible for premium assistance.

If you’re facing an unmanageable balance owing from the provincial or federal government of Canada it’s important to find out the facts about your situation as soon as possible.  Interest and penalties can compound very quickly and the CRA can be a powerful creditor.

Contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee if you have questions about how to manage these, and other types of debts.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees  are the only professionals legally able to provide debt solutions to work with these creditors on your behalf.  Consultations are always free, confidential – and at no obligation!

Ready to talk?  Contact us today to arrange for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC locations.