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What Does Bankruptcy Mean?

Bankruptcy is a legal option available to you to resolve your debts and achieve a financial fresh start. The option to file for personal bankruptcy is yours – no creditor or other party can prevent you from seeking the protection of Canadian personal bankruptcy legislation.

To file for personal bankruptcy in Canada, you will need to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a Trustee in Bankruptcy) – they are the professionals designated to administer the bankruptcy process. You do not need to engage a bankruptcy lawyer to file personal bankruptcy in British Columbia.

If you are facing financial difficulty, please realize that you are not alone! Over the past 27 years, Sands & Associates has helped tens of thousands of individuals in BC by providing debt relief and helping them achieve a financial fresh start.

Bankruptcy is often very misunderstood for Canadians, with many misconceptions – in reality, bankruptcy in BC is quite a private, straightforward process.

Below is a basic overview of how to declare bankruptcy in Canada.
Filing for Bankruptcy in BC: Step-by-Step

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  1. Meet with a Sands & Associates representative for a free consultation.

    We’ll meet with you confidentially one-on-one to understand and assess your financial situation, and discuss all possible options available to resolve your debts, in addition to the process of personal bankruptcy. Many people are surprised to learn, after meeting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, a Consumer Proposal can be a better option than filing for personal bankruptcy.

    If a bankruptcy filing is the best option for your debt management needs, we’ll review all key concepts of personal bankruptcy together before you commit to the process. Our goal is a “no surprises” experience, so we will spend the time to ensure you understand the ins and outs of personal bankruptcy.

  2. Complete a detailed application form and meet with us to sign the legal Personal Bankruptcy documents.

    You will be provided with a bankruptcy application form. Once completed, Sands & Associates will draft the official bankruptcy documents required for you to file for personal bankruptcy. If your situation is urgent, we can typically process these documents very quickly if you need immediate relief from your creditors.

    We will walk you through each of these legal documents during your in-person meeting to sign the bankruptcy paperwork. There are some duties that you will need to fulfill as part of your personal bankruptcy and we will help guide you through the process.

    Once your official bankruptcy documents are signed, your creditors will no longer be able to pursue you for payment and any collection attempts will cease. The bankruptcy filing will also serve to immediately cease wage garnishments and/or bank account seizures.

  3. Fulfill your Personal Bankruptcy duties.

    There are a few main duties required when filing for bankruptcy in Canada. These include:

    • Submitting a monthly statement of income and expenses (budget) and paying any surplus income calculated.
    • Your payments in personal bankruptcy are set by a government tariff and are primarily based on your household size, allowable expenses and national low-income guidelines. We will review these guidelines with you in detail, and explain how they impact the payment you will make in your personal bankruptcy. Most people will pay $200 per month for the nine month term of their bankruptcy.
    • Attend two financial counselling sessions. Counselling sessions are private, one-on-one and conducted in our office. The main focus of these meetings are credit improvement and debt management.
  4. Your Personal Bankruptcy is complete, achieving full and final settlement of your debts.

    Upon completion of your bankruptcy duties, you will receive a discharge (an exit) from the personal bankruptcy.


You are now debt-free and have achieved a financial fresh start!

Compare key debt help services!



What’s the difference between Consumer Proposal and traditional credit counselling?

Learn More



What are the Consumer Proposal pros and cons compared to bankruptcy?

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What are some advantages of bankruptcy over non-profit credit counselling?

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Looking for something specific? Check our FAQs sections for commonly asked questions about Consumer Proposals, Personal Bankruptcy, and Debt Help in BC.

Many people dismiss the possibility of filing for personal bankruptcy in Canada because they have incorrect information about how filing for personal bankruptcy in BC works. Watch a short animated video that addresses some common misunderstandings about bankruptcy in Canada.

Another common concern for people evaluating debt consolidation and other debt management options is that they will not be able to rebuild their credit in future – this is false. Learn about steps you can take to rebuild your credit following a personal bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal, in this brief video.

Dave’s Story – an Independent Film 

Sands & Associates partnered with local filmmakers to make an independent film about one person’s journey through bankruptcy. At the age of 39 Dave declared personal bankruptcy; watch Dave’s story progress, from successful lawyer to an individual going deeper and deeper into debt.

Signs of a Serious Debt Problem:

  • Making only minimum monthly payments
  • Relying on credit to make ends meet
  • Considering consolidating debts
  • Uncertainty about how much you owe and to who
  • Creditors are calling
  • Wages or assets are being seized or threatened

If you are struggling with how to get out of debt, please know that you are not alone – real debt solutions do exist and you deserve to live debt-free.

Contact Sands & Associates to meet with a representative in a local office, and find out how you can leave your debt behind.