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Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Debt Help in BC

Many people feel overwhelmed when they consider asking for debt help. They may not know what their legal rights are, what their creditors may or may not be entitled to do, or if “bad” credit will prevent them from getting any debt relief at all.

We understand these anxieties, and that each person’s situation and money challenges are unique. We believe that everyone should have the tools to make informed decisions about their finances, and their lives.

Read some commonly asked questions about debt help and where you can get free debt advice.

If you don’t find your question in the list below, please call our office toll-free at 1-800-661-3030, one of our qualified debt management specialists would be happy to help you.

Book your confidential free debt consultation to discuss your specific situation and assess your debt solutions today – we’re here to help you.

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How can I find out who I owe money to?

If you’re unsure who you may owe money to, a good place to start is by requesting copies of your credit history reports from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion. These can be obtained online, for a fee; or by mail, at no cost.

Read More: How can I find out who I owe money to?

How can I get my credit report?

There are two main credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion. It is usually a good idea to check both, as one may have different information than the other due to the fact that not all lenders report to both credit bureaus.

While you can quickly view your credit history reports and score through agency websites, there may be fees charged for this service.

To get free copies, you can request to receive your credit history reports by mail. Credit Bureau Request Forms for both Equifax and TransUnion are available here in our Client Resources section.

Can Canada Revenue Agency put a lien on my house?

If you are behind in your tax filings or payment obligations, CRA may resort to collection actions including placing a lien on your residence, or other real property.

Filing a personal bankruptcy, or a Consumer Proposal can halt escalating collection actions.

Read More: Can Canada Revenue Agency put a lien on my house?

Can Canada Revenue Agency seize my wages or freeze my bank account?

If you are behind in your tax filings or payment obligations, CRA may resort to freezing your bank accounts, or even garnishing your wages or self-employment income.

While most creditors require a successful court application to begin seizing your wages, or self-employment earnings, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is a powerful creditor who can access avenues of debt collection much more quickly than other types of creditors. You may not learn of a pending wage garnishment, or bank account seizure until it is already in place.

Filing a personal bankruptcy, or a Consumer Proposal can halt escalating collection actions. Wage seizures or bank account freezes imposed by CRA will be lifted upon filing a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal.

Book a free debt consultation with Sands & Associates today to find out more.

Is there a statute of limitation on debt in BC?

In British Columbia, the Limitation Act sets various limitation periods, including capping the length of time people have to sue for a debt owing. This does not prevent creditors from calling you, sending you correspondence, or negatively impacting your credit score.

With regards to basic consumer debt, BC has a two-year basic liability limitation period.

Read More: Is there a statute of limitation on debt in BC?

What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee ("LIT")?

In 2017, the professional title for Trustees in Bankruptcy (sometimes referred to as Bankruptcy Trustees or Insolvency Trustees) changed to Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs for short).

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only professionals in Canada that are legally empowered to help Canadians eliminate their debts using legal debt options like Consumer Proposals and bankruptcy.

This legal standing allows LITs to administer superior debt management solutions which have the legal authority to halt and extinguish virtually all debts, including government debts.

No referral is required to meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, and debt consultations are free of charge.

Read More: What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

What is the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy?

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is the government body which oversees all matters and filings that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act applies to, including bankruptcies and Consumer Proposals.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees obtain their licensing from the OSB, who also regulates insolvency professionals, and supervises the administration of insolvency estates (Consumer Proposals and bankruptcies).

The OSB’s position ensures transparency and dispute-resolution mechanisms throughout the entire insolvency process and provides consumer assurance that professional conduct is followed.

Find a local BC Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

Where can I get debt help if I have bad credit?

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can offer debt help in BC regardless of a positive or negative credit score. Some people we assist have “ideal” credit ratings, while others are struggling to find help with bad credit.

Many people looking for debt consolidation help find that traditional avenues, like debt consolidation loans through a bank are unavailable to them because their finances are already stretched thin, or because a poor credit history makes them ineligible to lenders.

It is possible for a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to help you with debt consolidation if you have “bad” credit (or “good” credit). This is often achieved through filing a Consumer Proposal, which legally consolidates and eliminates debt.

Get started with a free debt consultation in one of our local BC offices today!

What are my debt options if I’ve done a Consumer Proposal or bankruptcy before?

If you’ve previously made a Consumer Proposal, or completed personal bankruptcy in the past, you may again be able to choose from one or both of these legal options to manage your current debts.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can confidentially help you explore these and other options to deal with debt in a free, non-judgmental consultation.

Read More: What are my debt options if I’ve done a Consumer Proposal before? and Can I declare bankruptcy more than once?

Am I responsible for my spouse’s debts?

You are not responsible for repaying the debts of your spouse simply by virtue of marriage, cohabitation, or even their death. It is a common misconception that spouses become legally responsible for repaying each other’s debts once they are married, or in a common-law spousal status.

Rather than through marriage or cohabitation, responsibility for “spousal debt” may be triggered from:

  • Co-signing or co-borrowing on debts together, including loans, leases, credit cards, etc.
  • Debt deemed to be ‘family debt’ following the act of separation or divorce under BC’s Family Law Act
Although you are not responsible for repaying your spouse’s debts, it is important to understand that if your spouse is no longer able to meet their repayment obligations assets you own together may be at risk of creditor action. If you have jointly held assets (including bank accounts), or you own an asset that was transferred to you by your indebted spouse, these may not be fully protected from all creditor collection actions.

A BC Licensed Insolvency Trustee can offer multiple options to protect you and your assets and assist you or your spouse in paying off debts in a timely and affordable way - or alternatively having debts forgiven by creditors. To learn about debt management solutions available to BC residents simply connect with a Sands & Associates Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free confidential debt consultation.

Read more: Am I responsible for my spouse’s debts?